Guys, I’m so thankful for my sister.
First of all, if you haven’t met Debbie, you totally should. Second of all, when you meet her, she may be a little shy, but she will become one of your favorite people once you get to know her!
Since moving to Wenham I have gotten a chance to know my sister better than I ever have before. A huge contributor to that has been my growing interest in expanding and understanding my own personal theology. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to have hour-long discussions about certain topics over the phone–especially when one of the parties is known for not being a fan of communicating in that way. I am currently taking two Bible classes and I love them. Not only do they challenge me in regards to the text we study in class, but they make me reexamine how and what I’ve read in the Bible throughout my entire life. Another contributor has been reading blogs that focus on hard theological questions in a modern context. Deb and I read most of the same blogs (and many do not agree with each other, which prompts some very interesting dialogue.)
Last night I was able to talk to my sister about some of the toughest theological questions since the beginning of time–what happens when we die? The whole study of eschatology is something I am extremely new to, but even dipping my toe into the pool of possibilities has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on not only death but God himself.
Our conversation transitioned into the topic of blasphemy, heresy, and doubt. We both articulated the vast differences between blasphemy and doubt, but it isn’t taught that way in the church. We both got the impression that doubting and questioning walked a very fine line of committing terrible sin. Yes, Jesus said to not doubt many times throughout his mission, but I don’t think my doubt is that of the disciples’. Their hearts were hardened to Jesus’ Messiahship. I fully believe that Jesus is the Christ and Son of God. My doubt is in the theology that is taught in the evangelical church.
So often we forget that intellectual sloth is a sin, just like gluttony, lust and greed, but you rarely see a fellow brother or sister in Christ be chastised for such a thing–especially because so many churches now structure themselves around such an idea. Pastors are spoon-feeding their congregations with their own personal interpretation without providing the original context, commentators’ opposing views, or any hermeneutical background to help people come to their own theological conclusions. And the congregations doesn’t think twice about it because they aren’t going to church on Sunday morning to be theologically and spiritually challenged but to get their spiritual “fix.”
This is not okay.
If people are willing to focus their lives on a belief system set out by a book and this one guy (who has happens to be three), shouldn’t they invest their time and efforts into actually understanding what the book and this guy really mean?! When we did hand over our souls to the guy at the pulpit instead of at the cross? We shouldn’t just take a pastor at his word because God’s word is what ultimately matters. I’m not saying that all pastors are wrong, but it is not okay for congregations to not think for themselves. These things–preaching and thinking–should not be at odds! In fact, I think many of the issues in the modern church would go away if people actually tried to understand through personal investigation what they were reading in the Bible.
Needless to say, Debbie and I talked for many hours about all these things. We came out of the conversation not necessarily agreeing on everything, but it was so refreshing to be able to talk about it without feeling like I have to constantly be looking over my should in fear of someone yelling, “BLASPHEMY!!!” at me. News flash: blasphemy is an ultimate rejection of God. I question and doubt in order to pursue understanding of my creator and abba.
Yes, I believe in God by faith, but I do not believe in God by blind faith.
So thanks Deb for talking with me about this stuff! It’s really cool that a) we are besties for life and that b) we can talk theology to all hours of the night. That’s pretty cool. Yeah, we fight and argue all the time, but you are the only person on this earth that I can talk about everything to. I’m so happy that you are my sister.