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Some Open Thoughts on the Nature of Faith April 1, 2011

Posted by vorpalkeith in Uncategorized.
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I know there are some people who read my blog who aren’t religious.  Trust me when I say that this isn’t an attempt to preach.  I am merely thinking out loud, and perhaps giving the curious a chance to know me better, how I think, and the journey I find myself on each day.

Credit first where credit is due. Part of the reason I am doing this is because of the wonderful post I have read recently on Joe Boyd’s blog REBEL PILGRIM. It talks about why some people in the Christian community are hesitant to call themselves Christians.  This post isn’t fully related, but I think you should definitely check that out.

That said, I often find that I am hesitant to call myself a Christian, not out of fear for what people will think of me (despite the hurt so many people have felt from the church as a whole), but for fear of being called out as a hypocrite.  And for the shame I will no doubt feel when I know in my heart that I am a hypocrite.

In the mind, the picture I have of a Christian is a wholesome, a holy person.  Who understands the Bible in full, is never confused, is never frightened, never makes the mistakes I am so liable to make, never sins and falters as deeply as I sin and falter.

That picture is not me.  I don’t understand the Bible in full.  There are large swaths I have questions about and I struggle every day to learn more just so I can answer the innumerable questions that come from a curious mind and an intellectual training.  I am often confused.  Almost always frightened.  I make mistakes in my life both large and small.  I sin deeper than I would care to.  I falter.  I have hurt people in my life without intending to.  I have been careless with people’s feelings, and with my own.  I am as prone to the temptations of the material as anyone my age, more so sometimes it seems.  I often feel I don’t respect women enough (I am a young hormonal man with the imagination that goes with that).  I often feel I don’t act enough to bridge the gaps in race and culture in this world (I have been silent at times when I should have spoken out to intolerance).  I have made myself unavailable at times when people needed me.  I am never as charitable as I should be.  I hold grudges.  I have been selfish.

I am weak.

I feel I am weaker than most.  And that shame is hard to face sometimes.  Is that the result of personal failings, or of the nature of enforced guilt that comes in traditional religion?  The answer to that is probably both to be honest.

But as hard as it is for me to say sometimes, I do believe in God, and in Christ . . . and the reason I can say that is not despite all my failings and weaknesses, but BECAUSE of them.  I have them not because I am strong, but because I am weak, and the knowledge that I am loved despite all my failings is the only strength I will ever really need.

I am coming to understand that I don’t have to have all the answers all of the time.  It’s okay to say that I’m still learning.  There is always so much more to learn, and the joy is in discovery.

I am coming to understand that confusion is natural.  That confusion is nothing to be ashamed of, but a challenge to overcome.

I am coming to understand that fear need not be faced alone.  I have been blessed with a support network of family and dear friends.

I am coming to understand that I will stumble.  It’s going to happen.  But I am also coming to understand that it’s okay.  I pick myself up, dust off, and try every day to be a better person.  A better son.

So what am I going to do?

I am going to live.  I am going to face the world with curiosity, excitement, honesty, and courage.  I will face the adventure that is life with passion, and I hope a degree of humility.  I will attempt to forgive myself when I fail, and I will forgive others.  I will do as Christ said and love others unflinchingly.

As a favor I would ask those who know me, that when I say something hurtful without realizing it, or fall short of your expectations, call me out on it.  I can only grow through knowledge, and you guys are what make this journey worth it.

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