Tag Archives: doubt

Encouraging Children to Doubt

I thought this was a fantastic article by Ryan Stollar, echoing many of my own thoughts on doubt vs. faith. In it, he says, “Children need to know that doubt is not antithetical to faith. Rather, doubt is not only permissible, but also healthy. Doubt enriches faith. Doubt is faith’s dance partner.”

Read on here….

Source: Encouraging Children to Doubt

The Rebel God: Evangelicalism’s Two-Faced God

I have been interested in neuroplasticity for a few years now, especially as it relates to addiction, and in how our brains process emotion, reason, and the dichotomy between the two.  This is a fascinating article by Derek Flood that addresses a possible psychological basis for how white, Evangelical Christians can sing songs of the love of Jesus one minute, and “amen” to a sermon on the evils of ______________ (insert your minority, religion, lifestyle, etc. of choice).

“…it makes sense to think “There is just no way a person could experience love like that and be so angry and hurtful. They must experience God as angry and hurtful.” So when Mike said essentially this, my first reaction was to agree. Then the more “science-y” part of me began to kick in. The fact is, people are very capable of compartmentalizing and showing great inconsistency in different parts of their lives.”

Here’s the link. It’s a lengthy post, but one I feel is well worth the read: The Rebel God: Evangelicalism’s Two-Faced God

My Last Post as Spiritual Drift

This will be my last post as Spiritual Drift.

I can no longer find the words.

Since my last post, and given the current climate of our nation, both politically and spiritually, I simply can’t think of anything I can say that would make one tinker’s damn bit of difference. To anyone. To anywhere.

We’ve grown too busy shouting, too comfortably entrenched in our own dystopian universes to worry about the lost art of communication. We run around shouting that the sky is falling, never seeing that it isn’t our God who created that sky, it was us. We are being crushed by gods of our own making. We’ve grown fearful of every shadow because the light of the world has grown too dim if it hasn’t been totally extinguished, never recalling that we were supposed to be that light.

I weep for my country.

I weep that a statue stands at our shore and says, “”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I weep that our founding document includes the words, “all men are created equal”.

And I weep that no one cares.

I weep for my religion.

I weep that my scripture says, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the stranger by giving him food and clothing. Therefore, show your love for the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
And says, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
And says, “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

And I weep that no one cares.

I weep for the “less than”, for the oppressed, the alone, the wounded and weak, the disabled. I weep for people of color, and people of poverty.

I weep for the poor in spirit, and for those who mourn. I weep for the meek, and those who are hungry and thirst for righteousness. I weep for the merciful, the pure in heart, and for the peacemakers.

And I weep that no one cares.

No, I take that back.

A lot of people care. We just care more about being heard than about hearing. We seem to be caring more for our rights, for our liberties, for our needs, and for our selves.

We care more about the external than the eternal.

We care more for those things that moth and rust destroy, that thieves can break in and steal.

We equate acceptance with approval.

We equate immigrant with enemy.

We equate poverty with work ethic.

We equate disability with worthlessness.

We equate need with weakness.

We equate conservativism with oppression, and liberalism with anarchy.

We have lost the fine art of nuance, and we’ve forgotten that we live in a world of gray and not one of black and white.

And mostly I weep that there is no one to talk to. No one who will withhold judgment. No one who will simply listen. No one who will do the hard work of caring, and who will face the hard truth that we, yes WE dear Americans and dear Christians, are as much to blame for the state of our world as are our supposed enemies, and probably more.

I have no words.

I am at a loss.

And thus, this will be my last post as Spiritual Drift.

God help us all.

“With an Open Hand”

cropped-change.jpgAll of our possessions, all of our abilities, all of our opportunities as well as the circumstances and people who cross our life path, are there for a reason. Each of them are ingredients in this rolling, boiling cauldron of stew we call life. We are given ample opportunities to use these ingredients, adding and subtracting in any combination we like. With them we can glorify God. We can bless others. We can use them for personal gain. Or, we could even miss them completely. The more we are “in tune” to these circumstances, abilities, and opportunities, the more we come to see and recognize them. I would place our understanding of faith and belief in that boiling cauldron as well, even though this comes with great responsibility, and great risk.

It reminds me of hearing a pastor one time speaking about a posture of holding all that he had been given throughout life with an open hand. That God is the one who provides, and we should feel a response to this provision as being open to the prompting to use, or even lose, what He has graciously given us. I know, it seems like a grandiose version of “the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away” but I think the analogy stands.

Does that mean I am saying we should hold our faith and beliefs in such a grasp? With an open hand? Willing to risk rejection of them? To risk having them shaped and morphed and changed by age, wisdom, and experience? To risk losing them completely? Yes, I believe we should. And I have to smile a bit as I say that, because even this stance has evoked gasps of righteous indignation from certain circles of faithful believers. “How can you say that you only hold on loosely to your faith in God?” they ask. And the answer is simple: because this stance is something I feel led by the Spirit to embrace. I know that one day I will stand at the foot of the cross and give an account for each direction I chose to take along my path, as well as for what my heart held dear and what it was willing to hold loosely. This includes my faith.

Yes, I believe part of holding our faith with open hands means the possibility of losing it altogether. In fact, this needs to be an option for faith to truly be alive and vital within any of us.

Is it scary? Yes.

Is it unsafe? Definitely.

Faith is not an easy walk. Faith is scary. Faith isn’t safe.

The world isn’t safe. It will certainly try to challenge our beliefs and understandings. And the Lord may often allow these challenges in order to stretch, grow, and strengthen us—and our faith—as we journey further along life’s path in the world. This allowance is not out of some sense of meanness, anger, or indifference. Quite the contrary, and I think this is key. God’s use of these troubling circumstances shows an incredible amount of love and faith on His part. You see, we are called to have faith in Him for the simple reason that He has faith in us! I believe He is actually rooting for us. Encouraging us. Cheering us on surrounded by a vast chorus of angels, singing, shouting, and doing the wave! For us!

Why?

Because He knows we can do it. We can overcome. We can weather through. That this is what we were designed for. Not to be constantly battered by the storms of life, but to show God’s glory within the storm. To rely on Him, and on those He surrounds us with. Within each circumstance, we are the ones who get to choose whether it be a test to strengthen our faith, or a challenge to abandon our faith and walk away.
~ excerpt from These Threads of Faith, pg. 22