All in Faith

I feel that I am just beginning this transition into the “second half” of life earlier than I expected. Yet, in finding that I have shed much of my identity that I developed in the “first half”, I’ve gone from the crisis phase to an embracing phase which is much more comforting.

I grew up believing that my former faith was rock solid. That faith can be certain. That faith was black and white. That faith knew all the answers to all of the questions. That faith was consistent. Yet, the more I read. The more I studied. The more I sought wisdom. The more I lived and the more I reasoned... I realized that faith isn’t any of those things. True religion isn’t any of those things.

Most are comfortable in the religion of their youth or their spiritual beginning and never consider or examine their own beliefs and look outside of that to see if what they actually believe is true. It doesn’t matter if you are intelligent or “unintelligent”, most people are satisfied with never growing or maturing in their faith. Most are never curious about their beliefs. Most are never open to other ways of viewing religion.

I realized that for 10 years of my life... and possibly longer in my younger years... I believed, internalized, and preached a dangerous, destructive message. A message that has oppressed people. A message that has caused people to take their lives. A message that as subjected people to violence. A message that has tried to change people when they can’t and shouldn’t be changed.

Unfortunately, this is a horrible time for the church. Let me make it clear, it is the church alone to blame for its maladies, not those who have been victimized by the church. Megachurches and their “celebrity pastors” are falling left and right. Denominations are splitting over how to love their LGBTQ neighbors. Other denominations and churches are caught up in sex abuse scandals. At this rate, why do we as Christians blame those who are not Christian with their resentments and their skepticism about the church? Furthermore, why as Christians do we blame other Christians for why they leave the church?

Whenever something happens that disrupts these things we desire, we are faced with how to react to the change... the disruption in our lives.

Most of us go through a short time of panic and anger because things were comfortable and nice and neat, but now things are not so and we must figure out how to get things back to the way they were... or more accurately, the way things should be.

You didn’t ask for these things to happen and, hell, you probably fought the windmill called “free will” to determine that your life would not face these obstacles.

And you fight, and fight, and fight some more: hellbound and blastedly determined that you will control your destiny/fate/future... and yet the struggle still happens. The death still occurs. The loss is still palatable.

Yes, another year has rolled into the annuals of history and a new one has arrived after much anticipation. 

We always look forward to a new year because we see it as a new opportunity to make wrong, right. To make suffering, victory. To make resentment and bitterness, freedom and blissfulness. 

Basically, a new year means change can happen. It’s the hope that things don’t have to stay the way they are but that things can get better. A new year means new opportunities, new movements, new moments.