Monday, August 31, 2015

I just had this great talk with a young man who is trying to figure out his faith.

Almost twenty, he is wrestling through what he believes and wondering if it is time to walk away from it all.  I love that he is dealing with it rather than sweeping it under the rug.  In some ways he is annoyed with other Christians who don't seem to be struggling with some of the issues he is struggling with.

It just seems easier to give up and follow the intellect and abandon faith.  This is a pressure we all feel from time to time.  It's what the psychologists call 'cognitive dissonance' - when what we do and what we believe don't line up we have stress.  This stress makes us want to resolve it by adhering to one or the other - actions or beliefs.  Ditch your faith or ditch your intellect.

Sadly, too many pick the easy way out . . . on both sides of the fence:

The ones who give up faith:
Faith is something that is hard-fought.  It is a process that we struggle with through many life-phases.  The faith you came to at five years old will not carry you into adulthood.  You have to wrestle through it.  For those who walked away from their faith because it seemed so childish:  You didn't walk out on faith, just your five-year-old version of it.

The ones who ditch their intellect:
 It is particularly aggravating when we see others who don't struggle with their faith development.  They are content with their five-year-old faith that sees everything simplistically.  Church becomes a place to level the playing field - to chastise political enemies, reduce everything to 'us vs. them' and make the churchgoer feel 'fed' so that they can go back to their lives 'encouraged.'

Encouraged to never grow in their faith.

See, we have this weird thing that we like to quote from Jesus, "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child" and we forget that the key word is 'like.'  It is a simile.  A comparison meant to convey a larger truth - beyond the literal meaning.

It means clinging to faith with the questions we have - knowing that God is not afraid of them and pursuing them in the midst of no answers . . . yet.  That is faith.

So I encouraged him to not see this as a time of decision - but as the midpoint of a struggle that one day he can look back on and say, "this was the time in my life that I was surrounded by my questions, but I discovered that God was bigger than any of them."

1 comment:

  1. I believe in the end, his faith will be MUCH stronger......I know mine is.