Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Questions and Answers


He's a touchy subject. 

You can love him. You can hate him. But there's one thing you can't feel towards him: neutral. 

That's something I've been wrestling with the past couple of years. It's funny, I've been to a lot of post-secondary institutions since I graduated high school and the entire time all I wanted was to experience a Christian education. Yet, since I began this adventure two years ago, I've done nothing but run away from its people and community. I was hit with a harsh dose of the Christian bubble and what I deemed to be a sheltered people leading sheltered lives, with the all-too optimistic perspective on life. It was suffocating, agitating and about a million other depressing words. 

But what was really at the heart of this frustration with other Christians was my own view of God. 

This view began to change when I started going to a Christian university. It began to twist and turn and blur and the lines that were so clearly drawn for all to see, left me questioning why. What's the reason for this viewpoint, that belief, that rule? Is this really what God thinks? Could he actually believe something like that?

And then I began to question myself. I began to question him. How could you allow this? How could you enforce that? Why won't you let people do this when they only want to love each other?

These were questions that didn't get me anywhere because I felt as though the Christian bubble only allowed certain questions to be asked. That they only allowed for certain types of testing of a book I was beginning to get more and more frustrated at and a God didn't make sense to me anymore. Taking away my personal experiences from the past two years, although they were primarily a big reason for my changing response to God, there was something bigger than my personal problems happening here. Something inside me was changing; I was beginning a new trek. A trek that lead into unchartered territory: what do I believe anymore?

It's been an interesting journey. It's not over yet, it most likely won't ever be, and it's one that's lead me down some dark holes. It's found me stumbling through life looking into the eyes of people that are so certain and never question; that are so full of blind faith that I begin to wonder if they even truly believe what they're regurgitating. It sickened me, this blind faith, these sheltered lives. How many of them were pastor's kids? Raised in Christian homes, all believing family members, protected from the harsh truths of broken homes, flying curse words and the struggle to merely stay alive for one more day because the reality of life was too much? Hell, how many of them had even uttered a curse word? It pained me to see these people with their faith and worship, whether true or fake because it all seemed fake to me. It all seemed so untested.

So, I began to question God. It came about from a horrible class at this school actually, with an equally horrible teacher, who told us to write down the questions we had in response to the corresponding Bible passages we were supposed to read. As I delved deeper into the beginnings of the Old Testament, I found myself unbelievably pissed off at God and so even more questions came spilling out of me. They came from the deepest depths of my spirit that longed to ask questions that didn't make sense, that made me doubt in so many things about God.

As the time went on, my husband and I began to talk more and more about these questions. Could we trust a Bible that was written by humans? Yes, Spirit-filled humans, but how can we know that for sure? How can we not assume that as a fallen creation, some messed up part of the author got into the Bible that God didn't approve of? What if we as readers have interpreted something out of these passages that wasn't intended? Like women not being able to lead or speak in churches from a verse in Corinthians that some scholars question if Paul even wrote. If that's questionable, why isn't the rest? And why trust Paul? How can we trust a council that chose what stories made it into the Bible and what didn't? Were they spirit-lead too? How can Christianity have so many different opinions on the same Bible so that we have a multitude of denominations? If we all think the other's interpretation is wrong, might ours be wrong also? What does God really think of church. Does he hate its stiff collars and additional rules and procedures or is he pleased by them? Does he hate the way we portray him to others? If he does, how can he stand for our version of him? Does anyone actually know the true version of God? Or do we only know what a religious group has organized for us? 

Welcome to a small part of my mind for the past two years. 

But despite all of this I realized something. There comes a point when you realize the questions you have may never truly be answered and you have to decide whether or not those unanswered questions mean more to you than God himself. Do those unanswered questions make you stop believing in God?

I'm surprised to say that, for me, they don't. I don't understand God, his ways and especially his followers. But I know in my heart of hearts that God is who he says he is. That he created me with loving thought and intention and sent his Son to die a death for all of us that was undeserved.

I may not have all the answers to my questions, but I have answers to a lot of questions I haven't been asking. I see God's fingerprints all over this place. In trees and rushing water, a bird's song and its vibrant colours. Even in my own body and its inner workings. 

I don't have all the answers. I don't even have a few. But I have enough to know that God is there; mindfully present when he seems silent, grieving my hurts when they seem unbearable and so desperate for a chance to show me his true self. 

1 comment:

  1. This was wonderfully written Soph, love the reference to your OT class ;)

    - Sandra Y