Elemental Season 1 - Day 2

"Are You Okay?"

If you have ever had a moment when you question your faith, or feel some doubt, then you know that the people around you get pretty nervous and anxious about what you are going through. 

People don't like it when we begin to vocalize questions, wonder about the answers that have always been given, and seek to find new expressions or a new language in which to engage God. Your willingness to question has a tendency to bring some questions up in their minds as well, and no one likes that. In fact, often there are people who look at you as a spiritual rock for them, and if you are somehow questioning, their faith also falls into question. It is not necessarily reasonable for them to feel this way, but they do, and you have to end up with the responsibility that they have placed on you to believe for them. 

I once heard Peter Rollins speak. Peter is a Christian philosopher, kind of on the edge of where some people are comfortable. But he said something I will never forget. He said that we “let our beliefs do our believing for us.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. As  Seventh-day Adventists, we have a lot of words around our fundamental belief statements that make sense, are written in a way as to give us room to grapple with their meaning, and yet are still relatively prescriptive in the way that we should believe them. But I wondered if I had been one of those who let my beliefs do my believing for me. 

Sometimes, we let others do our believing for us, and this happens a lot if you are someone that your circle leans upon to be the spiritual mentor and guide. You may have never asked for this position or role, but it has been given to you nonetheless. What do you do when they see you struggle to redefine your faith? Is it your responsibility to guide them? How can you guide them when you are struggling? 

By the way, every pastor I have ever known has some of these same questions. We are human, and our faith is sometimes called into question by ourselves as well. The question of how do we honestly and with integrity preach through doubt, lead through reframing, and continue to do the work we believe that we were called to do are real questions that we wrestle with. 

This means a couple of things: 1, you are not alone. We all go through seasons of doubt and reframing. If we don’t, then our faith has somehow stagnated, or we have allowed other things to do the believing for us. And 2, we have a long tradition of reframers, questioners, doubters, and teachers from which to turn and see how they dealt with these seasons of uncertainty. 
Also, your friends need to trust in your motivation for the questions as well as learn to believe that God is not afraid of your questions. God has walked many people through this process, so we should not think that God is worried about us. Rather, I would hope that God will welcome the questions, be with you while you wrestle with answers, and always be a presence in every season of your life and journey. 

  1. Do you have friends/family that are always afraid of your questions? 
  2. Do you have any friends/family that might lean on your faith too much? 
  3. How can you give them peace, while still being honest with your journey? 
  4. Are you okay? (I just thought I would ask so you can answer honestly). 

No Comments