Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Evolving faith

The concept of evolving faith has been on my mind and in my heart a lot as of late. I always seem to go through what I call "spiritual crisis" every few years or so. I will wrestle with topics, values, ideals, and almost always with God himself. At the end of it all I come out firmer in my faith, sure of where I stand. These past two years of graduate school have tested my faith like no other years in my life. For the first time, in a long time, I was surrounded by many people who not only did not share my spiritual faith but they were questioning of it. I have felt several times that people I have met at WMU have judged me by my label as being a Christian. Now, I can not blame all of this on "the people" as it were. I spoke up and made sure my view points and ideals  known on several occasions. I was and am an unapologetic Christian. I believe in Jesus. I believe He is the Son of God. Still.
But here's the thing. What that means for me has evolved. For the last 15 years I would say I most certainly related to a evangelical approach to faith. I believed that the whole point to being a Christian was to spread the word, get people to subscribe and believe in the Word and change their lives accordingly. If you did things that were against God's will or His word, then you'd have to change those things. I was sorry if it offended but, well, too bad. Over the past year especially I simply don't subscribe to that. I have wrestled with it, prayed about it, cried over it and done some very real soul searching. At the end of the day I feel that God is more interested in so much more than rules. It can be so very easy to sit in your cushy life where truly everything, in the grand scheme of things, is very easy and demand that people follow your way to God. Instead I am choosing to continue to love my God in the ways I have always known and those that have been revealed to me in the last six months or so. There is so much pain and sadness in this world. Real. true. heartache. Each Friday when I leave my internship I am in awe of the hell that many children  in my community endure. Utter Hell. I want to be Jesus to those children. I want to be the minute in the hours of their pain and struggle that isn't so horrible. When I am at the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday night working with kids who've witnessed profound violence, I want the time they spend with me to be one of peace and calm and a gentle smile.
I want to continue to read and study God's word. I believe in it. I know first hand that it is relevant and it has the power to transform lives. Perhaps my immersion back into social work was the catalyst to this change within my faith, I may never know and really, I don't care. I feel stronger to my God than I have in a long time. I am thankful that God's grace is always available to me and eager to transform me. 

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Susan, I really hear what you are saying about what it means to you to be a Christian.
I certainly went through a similar transformation a few years ago. The evangelical concept of focusing only on saving yourself and others just seems so outdated to me.
To me, the life of Christ and the deeds he did are incredibly more important than the sacrifice he made on the cross.
Christ spoke of breaking rules in order to do the right thing (i.e. rescuing someone from a well on the Sabbath).

If you wish, I would love to talk with you more about this and what it looks like to be a modern (gasp!) *progressive* Christian.

Happy Lent! :)