O Me of Little Faith {Thoughts on God}

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A month or so ago, I had a weekend crisis of faith. I don't mean that to sound like I typically have crises of faith on the weekends, nor do I mean to say that it happened suddenly, on a weekend, and went away. Rather, I've been going through a spiritual valley of sorts -- a hazy path filled with more questions than answers -- and a lot of things came to a head that particular weekend. I sat in the hallway at church that night instead of attending the service, googling "Christian doubt" and emailing my senior pastor from home to beg for guidance. {Let me pause to give a BIG shout out to my amazing senior pastor from Morgantown, Rev. David Goodin. He has been such a gentle, wise, kind, genuine, fatherly influence in my life. I love him!} During my internet search that evening, I stumbled upon Jason Boyett's blog, which is how I found out about Rachel Held Evans and her book Evolving in Monkeytown. When I ordered EIM, I also ordered a book of Jason's called O Me of Little Faith. That's what I'm currently reading.

It's really a fabulous book. You should read it. And I guess I really don't have much to say beyond that. I'll leave you with a quote that made me dog-ear a page or two last night:

Despite the spiritual baggage that the word agnostic carries among Christians, I believe it's healthy and humble to acknowledge that, despite our best efforts and despite our strong faith, some things truly are unknowable. There are few things that turn me off more than people who speak with absolute certitude about complex issues (like eschatology or the Bible) and deep mysteries (like God or the saving work of Christ).

Let me just pause to give a resounding AMEN. {Or a resounding HOLLER. Whatevs.}

Ok, sorry. To continue:

For me, this looks like not being afraid of doubt and not struggling so hard against my lack of understanding. I'm acknowledging that my viewpoint -- of what the Bible means in certain places, or of the rightness or wrongness of my faith tradition ... may be wrong. Or at least incomplete. That's because I'm human.

In The Myth of Certainty, a brilliant and encouraging book about spiritual doubt, Daniel Taylor writes, "We should therefore reject self-congratulating narrowness, always seeking a deepening and broadening of our understanding rather than a hardening of it." A doubter keeps his or her understanding deep but soft. Humility is a great softener.

Humility, indeed. I want so desperately to keep that in the forefront of my mind. God gives grace to the humble; this I know.

So when I'm done with this book, I think The Myth of Certainty might be next. And on that note -- who knew spiritual doubt could lead you to read so many books?


Katie said...

Now here I go commenting for a 2nd time on your blog! Love this latest entry. Let me suggest a book... Footprints in the Sea, By Ed Chinn. I'll warn you, its harsh but holds many truths. If you have thick enough skin (and i think you do) you can handle it. I loved it but wouldn't suggest it to just anyone.


Anonymous said...

Once I went through a serious time of doubt and I took a three day vacation...just me and my Bible and maybe a book or two. I hid all the clocks, ignored the tv, etc. It might sound kind of weird but it was really helpful. Sometimes, I think, in a time of need like this, someone else's ideas (like from a book) can affect you in unhealthy ways. Not that I think that is happening here, but I do know you could use a little vacation, no? I mean, who doesn't need a little break from time to time? ;-)

-Amanda E.

KRISTIN said...

Beth, I love that you are willing to say what others are afraid to say!

Say something...