When it comes to faith, one thing I know for sure, I would want to be a mother that taught my children critical thinking and reason. If they were to grow up and leave the faith, I would want them to have a good reason; not because of rebellion or boredom. If someone were to leave the faith, I would hope it was for a good, solid and thorough educative thought. And you may say, I shouldn’t accept someone’s choice to leave the faith; however, God gave us free will and I respect that (which is another lost art in The Church world, but that’s a different topic for another time).
Instead of critical thinking and reasoning in The Church, I often observe what I call, Spoon-Fed Pop Culture Theology. This type of theology is taken at face value without any self-education of Scripture. It’s the sort of belief people have when they think there were 3 wisemen because that’s what every nativity they have ever seen depicts. It’s the type of theology that allows certain questions to be praised and others to be criticized. For example, we commend a person who asks “Why did God rest on the 7th day when He created the Heavens and the Earth?” but when someone asks, “Is it possible for evolution to be real?” we chide them for their lack of faith. This type of theology feeds off of whatever has always been taught, even if solid hermenutics would prove otherwise.
The Bible is black and white on all topics, and we should just accept it because that’s what child-like faith is, right?
Even children ask hard questions such as: where do babies come from? Why did God let grandma die and why are you so sad about it if she’s in Heaven? Why do people hate one another? Why is so-n-so naughty? And how many times does a toddler ask “why?” in any given conversation and to the point we have run out of answers? Hard and deep questions are not a sign of weak faith; it is the road to deeper faith. Just like when children ask an adult their questions, it doesn’t lead them to ignorance but to knowledge and understanding of the world around them
There should be no questions left unentertained. Perhaps there are questions to be left unanswerable, or questions left in the perplexing category or perhaps even in the box labeled, “confusing”. But questions should never be left unentertained.
The problem is that we feel this need to know all the answers and have all of them right, as if we are school children again, trying to ace some sort of test. But I’m sure we all know the difference between getting a perfect on a chemistry test and being able to actually follow through and complete the experiment perfectly are two completely different tasks. And honestly, if I know everything about faith, then why do I need God? Why am I reading my Bible? Or what is my need for fellow Christians? We weren’t meant to have all the answers, instead, we were meant to search, question and discover together.
I once heard a theologian say he believed God was honored when we discuss various views of Scripture, because it means we are taking Him pretty seriously! I agree. I often picture myself sitting down across the table from Jesus, sipping on a cup of joe, asking Him questions and listening to Him, especially when His answers don’t match up with mine. I just wonder why we all fail (myself included) at doing this for each other?
Because frankly, I’m sick and tired of Spoon-Fed Pop Culture Theology. I’m sick and tired of people coming up with magic answers that will solve world hunger in one verse quoted from the Psalms. I’m sick and tired of people not being able to agree to disagree. I’m sick and tired of stupid clichés like, “God helps those who help themselves” when it’s not even in The Bible and it goes directly against what Jesus taught in the Gospels. I’m sick and tired of emotionalism, sensationalism and basing everything on tears of joy or pain. I’m sick and tired of words like, ‘joy’, ‘faith’, ‘peace’ and ‘beauty’ being repeated over and over again as if the only thing I have to give to The Church is beauty and a great gossip session over a relaxing pedicure. I’m sick and tired of faith being treated like it’s easy to learn and easy to practice when in reality it is hard for every one of us, and we are created to struggle with our faith together, as a family.
So here’s to the study of God–theology! Here’s to all the conundrums and the wrestling with Scripture! Here’s to the struggle of reorganizing, reevaluating, and rediscovering our faith! Here’s to finding and learning new revelations and mysteries of God!
Will you join me on this exploration? I hope so. I need you and you need me. Let’s do this together!
Who knows what we might discover?