For the last two years, we have not served in a church or participated in a church. My “breakup” with the church was far more personal and painful than I ever expected. I never expected “my God” to allow such harm to come to us. You see, God was the one who loved me unconditionally. I was from a rough home, a rough family life that told me I wasn’t good enough, so God was my comforter, my shield. Our breakup from the church was so much more painful than anything I had experienced in my past, because I never believed that God would allow me to enter into that kind of pain in His name.
In these past two years, our views on others and love have changed, and for the better. I believe that. More than that, I have entertained seeds of doubt about God: Does God really exist? Does God really care? Is God the active, intimate Being that we proclaim? Is religion even necessary? Does it do any good?
I’ve felt the pressure to walk away from God. So many of the intelligent, wonderful people I look up to have done the same. Would I proclaim myself to be foolish and simple for continuing to follow God? Also, would it align me with the people who say and do terrible and awful things in the name of the Lord? I don’t want to be known as judgmental and angry. Can I love the earth and want to take care of it and still be a believer? Can I care about the “least of these” and be aligned with the American Church?
The truth is: so many terrible, awful things have been done and said in the name of the Lord, and they have been lumped under the term “conservative Evangelicals.” But the actions of the few (majority) cannot change what I feel in my heart. I cannot walk away from the teachings of Jesus. I feel compelled to follow Him. I am also entering into this time with my spiritual jargon in disarray. I cannot use the old phrases anymore without needing to know exactly what I am saying. I cannot teach my child blindly.
It’s a disbelieving, agnostic world we live in. That will not change.
Every day I encounter a thought, a bold word of unbelief, and I have to ask myself, “Will I believe this? Or will I follow what I am not sure of, even if this makes me look like a simpleton?” Perhaps this is real faith — following when you know the other side.