Elemental Season 1 - Day 4

"Should I Go First?"

Thus far, we haven’t encountered much scripture. I hope that is okay. Through the Elemental series, we have to set the background for what we are attempting to take on. The growth that is needed is not simply coming from Scripture, but it is also coming from the community of Christ, it is coming from those who have wrestled with many of these ideas before you, and it is coming from our shared experiences. 

So in that vein, I guess I’ll go first. 

I’m getting old. I’ll admit it. When I was growing up I never thought I would see 50 years old because Jesus was going to come. Now that I am 51, I have learned a few things about the seasons of life and our seasons of faith. I am no expert, but living a bit longer means that you experience some things. 

I was converted to faith when I was young. Some of you know my upbringing, and you know that I was lucky enough to have grown up around brilliant people who were deeply interested in spiritual things. The conversations around our house were always about faith, the church, and how we think about God. Oh, and Archeology, a lot of that! 

But I think I finally understood on a deeper level when I went to seminary. There were some teachers that made things plain in a way that, for some reason, I just hadn’t gotten my head around at that point. This put me on a trajectory that was very comfortable, even if the way that I did things often challenged the people around me. 

Having children changed my perspective a bit. Of course, it does. Life is no longer just about me, and I have to learn what love is all over again. This time, we don’t choose to love, but we are compelled to love those little kids in a different way than we have loved anything before. Our understanding of love expands and we are drawn into what they will experience through church and through our theology. The love that my kid’s experience becomes more and more important.

Then, and this is condensed, when I was about 40 years old I was confronted with a pretty particular crisis of faith, and it took me down a road of deconstruction that was both painful and beautiful. I ended up in a place where Jesus became the center and circumference of my faith and life. This changed everything for me, and my life reordered in a way that has been beneficial to me and my family. 

But now, at 50+, I am beginning to sense a need to take a look at those structures that have been built in my life and really study them to see if they not only hold water but point me in the right direction. This is especially true as I lead congregations through their deconstruction journey. Of course, no one is forced to ask these questions, but If you do, we want to be right there with you. 

  1. Have you done an audit of your spiritual journey? 
  2. How can you know when you are in need of a refresh or a reframe? 
  3. Is finding a new way to look at your faith even appropriate? 
  4. What do you feel like you might have to lose? 

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Doyle - May 10th, 2023 at 5:59pm

Finding a new way to look at your faith is not only appropriate but necessary. Stagnation, even in a comfortable place, impedes growth. Jesus loves us unconditionally right where we are but what blessings we miss as we grow in Him. Yes, there will be times to just rest but too much and our faith can become lethargic. Jesus came that we might experience it all in abundance.

Phat - May 10th, 2023 at 11:27pm

My spiritual journey is similar to my athletic journey—-work, rest and nutrition are necessary for healthy growth. Periodic testing provides opportunities for adjustment. Never practice struggle. Faith in the process helps achievement—achievement typically leads to desire for new unexplored growth.