One of my biggest pet peeves is poked when Christians use jargon, or "Christianese", without explaining it or really understanding what it means. It's a pet peeve of mine not because I'm so much better but because I used to do it constantly, and I didn't even understand what I was saying. I used the words that made me sound like I knew what I was talking about without really knowing what they meant. And I don't just mean their dictionary definition. I mean how these words show up in real life.
One of those words is "Faith," and knowing what it really means has changed my life.
When we talk about "people of faith" or "having faith" we often mean it intellectually. Faith = believing in some statements about God. Now, that actually is an act of faith for many people. But for some people it actually takes less faith to say the "right" words. It's familiar. It's comfortable. It's easy. And believe me when I say...Faith is anything but easy.
I found that out during a "crisis of faith" of my own. I wasn't sure what I believed. I wasn't confident God existed, much less that any of my specifically Christian beliefs were true. During a long period of covering over my doubt with platitudes, distractions, and overly simplistic answers, it grew too big to ignore.
Finally, I realized that I had a choice. I could keep squashing my doubt in the name of "having faith," which I felt would lead to a slow, unintentional, anti-intellectual exit from my spiritual past. Or...I could step into the dark, unknown territory of my doubt. I could really ask my questions with courage to accept the answers or the mystery that came. I could face the possibility that I'd been wrong all this time. That my life was based on a well-intentioned fairy tale.
And you know what happened? In the very same moment, I found myself intellectually doubting God and existentially trusting God. I found out that my intellectual doubt actually gave me the chance to experience a real, relational faith. In other words, I found God. Or rather, I found out that he'd been there all along waiting for me to trust him with the thing I held most dear...my faith.
This Sunday, we're engaging a story of faith. A story of a person willing to leave his home, family, identity and security behind in a crazy quest to bless the world. If you're figuring out faith--or doubt--you're more than welcome to join us.