I am in a constant state of confusion. Perhaps that’s not the right word.
I am in a constant state of being entirely sure I know what I believe while also being aware of the fact that I know very little- very possibly nothing at all.
I mean, I do have personal beliefs…
- That God is everywhere.
- That just because I don’t take the Bible entirely literally doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously.
- That the Bible is not a book about human sexuality.
- That the Bible is a book about God. Not about us.
- That people can know God without being a “Christian.”
- That people can be a “Christian” without knowing God.
- That as a Christian, I should respect and appreciate religions other than my own.
- That God doesn’t have a gender.
- That God will be what God will be.
- That it is the corrupted intent behind things that makes them bad, not the things themselves (ie. sex, words, service, etc.)
I know that’s not that much, and I know that there are people who disagree with me. And that’s alright.
To be entirely honest, a lot of the beliefs I hold now, I was taught to condemn when I was growing up. This confused me when I was younger because when I began to question some of the more conservative theology I was being taught, I was semi-immediately told that I was wrong, and that my doubts were absolutely reasonless. The problem was that my “doubts” would not go away. The longer I stayed in the conservative church, the stronger my doubts grew, until I eventually began to resent that church for constantly making me feel lost, and myself for constantly being lost. It wasn’t until I graduated from high school that I left that church and many of the people who had made me feel misunderstood. I began to read and interpret the Bible on its own terms, not though the biased eyes of a conservative Christian. I began to find that maybe I wasn’t so alone in my more liberal beliefs. That, believe it or not, there were other Christians and churches that felt the same way I did. I found a new church that…
“is an open and affirming, hospitality-based community of faith. We welcome in worship and service all of God’s children of any race, origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or ability. We celebrate and trust the transforming power of God, which was manifested through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We work to provide an environment of peace, social justice, personal empowerment, and spiritual growth. Our ethical guides are to honor Christian openness to share our beliefs, doubts, struggles, and growth within the context of mutual respect. Therefore, our purpose is to reach out, taking the risk of opening ourselves to the possibility of making the stranger a friend.”
I felt so much closer to God knowing that my beliefs were not meaningless just because they did not align with those of the church that I grew up in. I wish I could say that I’ve entirely forgiven that church, but in truth, I’m still working on it. I respect that we have different beliefs, and that they are entitled to their own opinions, but alas, I am human, and it is difficult to forget the aspects of a place/person/situation that made me feel lost and misunderstood for so long. Anyways, enough of that.
Diversity and unique beliefs can actually be good things that deepen our understanding of each other as humans and our understanding of God. And once I realized that, I didn’t feel quite so alone anymore.
This has been a post. I will leave you with some Mother Teresa wisdom:
“I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that God would guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.”
Have a lovely Wednesday, readers!