Sunday, July 28, 2013

The punching bag of Faith

Donald Miller has always been someone that I pay attention too.  His books are thinkers, leading the reader to struggle with questions rather than being presented with 12 easy steps to the answers.  If we're honest, life is a struggle.  Walking through each day, trying to be good, trying to walk humbly each moment, is a complete struggle.

In this way, I have appreciated his honesty.  Some sort of disgruntled fan once asked him how he would feel if his biggest struggles and temptations were made known to the world.  I can't quite remember the context, but the person seemed to be embarrassed by something Miller has said.  The fan tried to turn the tables on Miller.  How would that make him feel?  Well, Miller responded by mentioning that they are all in his books, and for good measure, he named his biggest temptations all right there on Twitter for all to see.  I liked the way he defused the situation with honesty.

This past week I came across this blog post

It's a good read.  It touches on an issue I've been thinking about for quite some time.  Truth is a complex thing, and it is the trump card for a lot of arguments and disagreements.  The final say seems to be just saying "Truth", and noting that it's with a capital "T" seems to help a lot as well.

Of course, what comes into question at the same time is doubt.  A lot of people hate the word.  It is often referred to as a stumbling block for seekers, and a heretical backslide for Christian believers.

Someone once said that the opposite of Faith isn't doubt, it's certainty.  Doubt goes along with Faith.  If I don't doubt anything, then I am certain of it and, by definition, I don't have to have Faith in it at all.

Then there is this Ricky Gervais tweet response.

I like the guy.  He's hilarious, and I like that he's not afraid to punch it out with Christians that try so hard to defend their own Faith.  They feel threatened by him, and I think that's what he's going for.  The critic tries to corner him and Gervais' response is genius, not to mention in line with what he's been arguing all along:  I can't prove God's real, so I don't believe in him.

Christians have been trying for a long, long time to prove that God exists.  There are a lot of scientific/detective books that have come out that like to try to have the final say.  But, is that what God is all about?  Is he just waiting for us to spell it all out for everyone?  Is the mystery solved?  Game over?

Is the whole truth of God in the Bible?  If we just look hard enough?  As Miller suggests, it would be pretty sad if we knew all there is to know about it already.  It is mysterious, and the dark glass is still pretty darn dark.  Is that okay?  I think so.

We can call God a father, but he's not a man.  He's God.  Jesus is a man and God, which is another mysterious truth in itself.  Is Heaven paved with gold or is gold the closest word we have to describe the beauty of eternity?  I tend to believe that God has stooped down into our human terms so that we could somehow grasp at some sort of meaning of describing him.  He probably thinks it's cute.

Both Miller and Gervais come at the issue of Truth with the same thing; honesty.  It's a trait that screams truth.  If you struggle with something, be honest about it.  Hiding behind "because the bible says so" isn't strengthening your Faith.  Doubt strengthens Faith because it gives it something to wrestle with.  In a way, it's like a punching bag in Faith's gym.  It's good for you.

Too cheesy?  Sorry about that.

I know that most Christians have doubts, but they are too scared to talk about them.  At the very least, they know that they don't have it all figured out yet, but it's too convenient to answer with "Truth".  In many cases, honesty will speak love because it makes you vulnerable.  Vulnerability is great because it is genuine, real, and true.  It opens you up to others, and in turn opens them up to you.  For most people, this is where the conversation will start.  Yet, getting to the start is often the hardest thing to do.

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