Sunday, February 25, 2007

Go Ahead and Ask!

It may have sounded like I’ve gone off my nut in that last post; people have been burned at the stake for less. Some may peg me as a heretic, others as a doubting Thomas. My faith is not so fragile as all that. In fact, it is my faith that allows me to ask those questions. I am not afraid to ask those questions; I must continue to go further and further beyond my self into the vast ocean that is God - rowing my tiny dinghy. I am compelled to do so. What lies out there in the deep? Mythological creatures? Giant octopi? Beautiful tropical islands with white sandy beaches? Sunken Treasure?

Sometimes Christians freak out when you start asking those questions. Picture this: you’re in a “small group” with ten Christians. You ask why God created man in the first place and you reject the one-dimensional answers out of hand. If you watch the faces you may see on one, fear; on another, withdrawal; on a third, defensiveness. Looking at the others you might see annoyance, a combative stance, pity, furtive interest, pride, and maybe even contempt. Does anyone display love and openness? Hopefully! Ideally! You know what? I’ve been in many of those people’s shoes, unfortunately. I used to think I had all the answers. The older I get the more I realize that I don’t know many of the answers at all. In the book of James, he admonishes believers to hurry up and listen [to quit rushing to get our own point across] and to be quick to shut our pie holes - and to stall on playing the anger card. (My paraphrase of James 1:19) If only! Dunno about you but I could use some duct tape at times. Dunno but what some others could use some duct tape too.

In any case, I don’t suggest that we should ask these questions lightly, and with no purpose.

But I wonder if some Christians think that they will become less Christian if they are around a person who asks such questions. If our faith is as precarious as all that now would be a good time to find out! If a few questions can overturn our relationship with God... well, it must have been teetering on the edge to begin with.

I ask these questions because I must know more of God and less of religiosity. My faith is woven of sturdy stuff - not of flimsy thread and loose weave that will begin unraveling as soon as an edge is cut or a perforation is made. “I’ve based my life on order and reason in the universe… and a power of love behind that order and reason. I’ve had many a narrow shave in my day, but I don’t believe in the power of chaos.” (Mr. Theo in The Young Unicorns, by Madeleine L’Engle) I ask these questions because God said to ask. “…Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9) If we want to know we have to ask.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please, do not stop writing. I won't have it.

Jennyth said...

Collette,

I have found a soul sister in you, my friend. You speak the very words I spoke today after I was pondering my Philosohpy and Humanness Class...I am 34, and finally feel like I am able to take my doubts to the next level. Think Descartes. Fear kept me from working through my doubts for many years. Questions like... What if I don't really believe in God? led me to crazy attempts to pound my doubts out of my mind. Fasting, praying, and any religious experiene possible, truly, I tried to beet the doubt out of myself. Instead of trusting that the doubts are only a way of confirming God, I ran far from them, only to hit my 30's and voila-a serious midlife crisis. I agree with anonymous, keep writing your thoughts. It's like an ointment for my soul. It brings me hope that I'm not alone in all my thinking, I'm not the only church kid gone astray in my 30's. Write On. You Simply Rock!! Jenny Green

CGA said...

I've never read Descartes (other than a quote here and there). Sounds interesting!
I really think that my severe depression has had a little to do with all of the thoughts of doubt that I was "not supposed to have".
The great thing is that God has been using the depression to help me become a more authentic person. It was either that or the rope. I reached the end of the darn thing and had just enough to tie a noose for my neck or to lasso it to some small part of God's vastness.

Yeah, I grew up in the church. I was a pastor's kid and a missionary kid so I really bought into the notion that I should have all the right answers and behave in the right way. ai yi yi

I just don't see how we can help others if we don't start getting real about this stuff cause most people don't want the "pat answers" any more than we do.
Thanks for your thoughts!!! It sounds like were on a similar wavelength!