I received a comment recently from someone wanting to hear how my faith has been impacted by my journey. That is a fantastic question, but I’m not sure that I have much of a definitive answer. I guess the reason for that is because I am still in process. My faith is still figuring out where to land and is still dealing with the negative side-affects of all I’ve gone through. So all I can do is tell you where I’m at today.
Here’s what I know:
1. My old faith is dead. What do I mean by that? Well, it means that my new faith doesn’t look like what my old faith looked like. I literally cannot move in conservative Evangelical circles anymore. I just can’t do it. I can’t go to those churches. I can’t listen to those messages. I can’t agree with that narrow theology. It just doesn’t fit me anymore. Now don’t get me wrong…I haven’t thrown all of those beliefs out. I’ve just only held on to the core beliefs of Christianity and really don’t even want to get into a discussion about all of those “extra add-ons” that so many churches adhere to. And most of all, I can’t subscribe to a moralistic philosophy of ministry anymore that is all about trying to make you a better person by doing all the right things and not doing all the wrong things. I can’t do it. I don’t believe in that.
2. My new faith is not “solid as a rock”. It’s in flux…and I’m perfectly happy with it being “in flux”. I know more of what I don’t believe now than what I do believe. I’m OK with things being up in the air…with things not being resolved…with not having all the answers…and with my pursuit of God being more relational and less theological. I don’t need to be right and I am SO okay with that!
3. My new faith has a lot more room for people. There was a time when I pigeon-holed people and put them in categories based on what they believed and how they lived their lives. Not so anymore! I now believe in a much-wider Kingdom of God! I’m not running around deciding who’s “in” and who’s “out”. Instead, I have become open to seeing how God works in people in so many different ways. I am ashamed for how much I used to put God in a box.
4. My current faith isn’t concerned about “getting close to God”. I used to believe that I was closer to God the more I prayed and read the Bible. If that is the true definition of being close to God, then I’m failing! But I no longer believe that is true. I now see God as being a part of everything, rather than being relegated to a “quiet time”. I know I am close to God all the time because He’s always with me! I’m still not really sure how I feel about prayer anymore. And I’m still not really sure how I feel about reading the Bible anymore. But you know what? I’m ok with that. I know that this is a season…and God is 100% in the midst of this season with me. So I feel very content hearing a reading of Scripture and reciting written prayers at church services. Those readings and prayers give voice where I currently have no voice. I hope that makes sense.
5. My new faith is just fine…and I can minister from exactly where I stand today. A conservative Evangelical person reading what I’ve written here might consider me a “back-slidden” Christian, unfit for pastoral ministry. I beg to differ. I think I actually have more to offer now than I did 3 years ago. In fact, I’m able to speak to the millions of people who have been wounded by conservative Christianity and yet who still want to seek God. So many of us have walked away from the faith. But I refuse to do that. God is way bigger than all of that church crap we all put up with. I have faith, and in many ways, it is bigger than before.
So no, I haven’t lost my faith. It’s just different. And I’m very happy with my new faith. If you want to “correct” me and help me to regain my old faith…don’t waste your time…I’m never going back. Jesus talked about “new wineskins” and I am definitely into the new wine!