Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Living Without Answers

As always at this time of the year I always feel like it is the beginning of the year again and time to refocus. It has been good to have time off in August, have time to study and slow down.

I think that the next twelve months will be demanding, exciting, challenging and a time of real learning. I'm petrified as to what the next year holds and my response to it.  I'm feeling more inadequate and overwhelmed than ever. But then I'm a follower of Jesus and being comfortable and sure of myself would be a complete rejection of what it means to follow Jesus.

Over the past few weeks I've had a chance to read more than usual and reflect on what on earth I'm doing, believing and living.

I'm coming to see that I'm not really sure what I believe.  And I'm starting to think that 'belief' doesn't really mean anything anyway.  Faith and belief are two different things.

I think belief is another name for having all the answers.  And having all the answers is another name for triumphalism.  And triumphalism rots the soul.

The church is not called to have all the answers.  It is not called to a place of triumphalism whereby we think we've got it all sorted.  Because when the church acts like this it leaves no room for doubt, for pain, for suffering.  And when someone dies, or suffers or experiences evil the only thing they can say is that God has failed them. Triumphalism makes God a failure.

That is why I am very wary of churches and movements that claim to have it all sorted. I'm very concerned when churches always expect you to be on a high. I've seen people in those churches suffer silently because they feel they are not able to express their fears, doubts and failures. I'm very wary of churches that claim to have the "answers".

'Such "answers" cannot but help turn Christianity into an explanation.'  Hauerwas, Hannah's Child


Christianity is not an explanation.

Faith is living with questions and not having the answers.  It is recognising there is pain and suffering and that the call of the Church is to follow Jesus in His own journey of pain and suffering.

When we try and answer the unanswerable we are saying that this is in fact the way the world has to be.

I'm not sure what church is going to look like here in Newton over the next year.  I'm not sure what the adventure will turn out like. So much of me wants to know. So much of me wants to be in control, to be a success and to have it all mapped out.  Yet God is calling me to another way.  He is calling me to walk in faith. He is calling me to not seek success, but to walk the way of the Cross.

Programmes and events are a way of me having control and measuring my own success.  God is calling me to another way. If there is a need, address it.  Don't plan an event to address it, simply go and be a means of grace.

I need to live another way.  I need to explore church another way.

The next twelve months may be interesting, and I pray to God that I will be faithful to what He is calling me to.  

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