Sunday, January 16, 2011


The pastor said today, "Following Jesus is intensely personal, but it is never private."

My work is teaching and one lesson I've learned is that even when you're not doing it right, you've got to let other educators see you do it. You've got to share your struggles. You've got to watch them. You can't go this work alone.

Readers, the Christian walk makes teaching look easy. I say this knowing that many of you have read about my worst moments. All the sleepless nights and the emotional roller coaster I seem to live all the time in this profession, they don't mean much in the grand scheme of things. This year I want to write more about things that matter, indeed, I want to live more for things that matter.

I've spoken before about how my mind is so logical that sometimes I literally can't process my own emotions until I write through a situation. Ever since I was very young, I had a habit of sitting and staring. I wasn't daydreaming, I was thinking. When I got older, I used to write lengthy philosophical papers in brief periods of time, but I always spent time just thinking first. Now, I miss a lot of time to think due to my schedule, but I think before I blog.

Because I am such an intensely intellectual person, I always expected that my experience with faith would be largely thinking. Maybe God laughs in the face of that because my faith has always been personal. Now, I find that my doubts are intensely personal.

It's funny because I would be exactly the sort of person to doubt intellectually. I love reading philosophy. I love science. Intellectually I don't have a problem with doubting because I see the limitations. In any line of thought there's a beginning. I have always believed and continue to believe God is the starting point. He's the anchor.

I love God. I always have and I always will. Now, in my early twenties (I guess we're coming up on the late twenties now), I have a doubt problem. I have a doubt problem doubting what God wants me to do. God led me here. I know that.

I just have a hard time knowing how to live a godly life here. My best friends these days don't know God like I do. They don't live for him like I do. It hurts to believe around them.

My christian friends fall into two categories. Some of them are moderate. They believe in God, but they don't worry too much about living a godly life. The second group works to live a godly life, but their immediate circles are filled with others like them. The people who believe differently are more of an idea to them. They don't have the conflict I do because they don't spend every day with good people who believe differently.

Abstractly, sin and atonement and justification, it all makes sense. Personally, it is breaking my heart. I get mad at God because I wonder if good people will go to hell.

I've been having this struggle for a while, but church seemed the last place to talk about it. Today, though, the pastor basically gave us all permission to be accountable together and talk about the things we're doing wrong. Goodness knows, admitting my short comings in teaching has always helped me. It is time for me to think about the bigger issues.


luckeyfrog said...

I also struggle with some specifics of religion, because many of my good friends are not religious but they are GREAT people. For many people, God is vengeful- as I see him, he is gracious. How, then, can I simultaneously believe that God is gracious and merciful but also willing to let good people go to Hell just because they never came to know Him?

It's hard for me to rationalize, especially because as I grow older I see that the people most distant from religion are those that weren't taught it as a child. It's hard for me to blame them for not coming to God when a lot of their resistance comes from their lack of exposure to religion when they were little, because now it feels strange to them.

It may be different for you, but I have a hard time believing that the God I believe in wouldn't let a good person into Heaven because their parents didn't take them to church and therefore now they find it hard to believe. That doesn't seem fair and it's hard for me to balance with my faith.

ms.understood said...

Lucky Frog, that's exactly what my problem is. It's also a lifestyle issue for people I know. I know so many people just living their lives with something that would qualify as "sin". I know they are good people being true to who they are and how they were raised. I do okay living my life in parameters set out in religion, but if circumstances had been different or something within me had been different I can't say that I would still do that.