I recently spoke at a Unitarian Church about how my Unitarian upbringing informs my Christianity. To understand the reach of this feat you must first understand that most Unitarian churches allow any belief or none at all. An atheist, a former Catholic and a Wiccan could all gather together on a Sunday morning for service. It was a tricky talk because I chose to be very forward and honest about the many grey areas I find in my faith life as a Christ follower. I wasn't trying to scare or shame nonbelievers to Christ but instead to share how I ended up believing in Jesus as my Saviour despite the grey areas. Despite my cynicism and doubt. I did this because I want people to discover God for themselves, fall in love with Jesus like I have and to take their own path to get there. My life is so great, knowing God intimately is so fulfilling I want everyone to experience a relationship with Him.
After sharing my story and getting lots of positive feedback I had some struggles afresh in my faith. What if we cannot find a church home that is OK with my conflicts? What if the only bible believing churches we can find that we like expect a fully grown follower of Christ? What if they are horrified at my struggle (still) to believe all the tenets of my faith? I will not fake my faith. I believe that I can love God and pursue Him without feeling absolutely certain about all the details.
I had a few spare moments last night and decided to get my bible to read a bit. I actually picked up a fun book I am reading on happiness instead when I felt the nudge from Ol Padnah, "Weren't you going to read your bible tonight?" I sighed and exchanged the fun book for the bigger, heavier, meatier and more confusing one. I chose to read the book of John because I like the warmth and the love in the writings. I wanted to read about the sightings of Jesus after the resurrection since Easter just passed. I was reading John 20:25-28 where (Doubting) Thomas claims he won't believe Jesus really came back from the dead until he puts his fingers into the holes...and Jesus shows himself to Thomas and encourages him to do just that. As I read the study notes below the passage my heart began to beat faster:
"Jesus wasn't hard on Thomas for his doubts. Despite his skepticism, Thomas was still loyal to the believers and to Jesus himself. Some people need to doubt before they believe. If doubt leads to questions, and questions lead to answers, and the answers are accepted, then doubt has done good work. It is when doubt becomes stubbornness, and stubbornness becomes a prideful lifestyle that doubt harms faith. When you doubt don't stop there. Let your doubt deepen your faith as your continue to search for the answer."
These words breathed life to my heart and my struggles. I felt so grateful for the scriptures and that I found just the reference I needed to continue processing my questions and the adventure of my faith. I trust this helps you in some small way this week. Please don't fake your faith.