Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Wave of the Sea

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8 ESV  
Hi there.

I live in community and isolation. My thoughts are cluttered, and rarely agreed with by those in my immediate circle of friends. Sometimes I get ideas, and this might be the place they go.

I used to be an Evangelical Christian.

I think I've given up trying to demonstrate the truth of my claim. If you believe that a Christian who falls away from the faith was never a Christian, and are unwilling to examine or admit to any evidence to the contrary, there is nothing I can do about that.

Those who know me have no problem believing me, because they knew me back then as well. Some people think they know me and try to put me into an ideological box; perhaps so that they can keep their dogma. Some people don't even pretend to know me personally, but because of what they think a deity has told them (or someone else) about my type, they can still put me into a box. God said so.

I've included the verse above, because I feel it to be a big part of why I lost my faith.

I asked for wisdom, expecting to receive it. I prayed the prayer of the father in Mark 9: "I believe! Help my unbelief!" I expected God to strengthen my faith, strengthen my resolve; to give me real wisdom. I admitted that I could not do it on my own. And then came the evidence that I was indeed doing it on my own; my faith slipped through my fingers while I wept.

I became, in the eyes of the author of James, a Wave of the Sea. Driven and tossed by the wind. Unstable and double-minded.

I suppose this is true. As I slipped into doubt, my world indeed became unstable. I indeed became double-minded. I worked at a Christian institution. I was driven and tossed between my own doubt and the ideology of my employ. I was unstable in my emotions. I was double-minded and a hypocrite. The face I presented to the world was not the same face I presented anonymously on the internet forums. I know I'm not alone in this. This blog is by no means novel.

I am no longer unstable. I still don't believe I'll get wisdom from God, but I no longer ask for it.

I finally arrived at the thought that, given a choice, I would choose truth over faith. And once I had decided this, truth became more important to me than faith, and I began to examine my faith again. I had examined it many times before and was able to tell others what I believed and why I believed it. But this time, before the examination, I discarded my presupposition that my faith was true. Every time before that, I was studying the Christian faith already believing it to be the absolute truth. This time, I allowed myself to say, "Wait and see. It might be true. It might not be. Suspend judgment until judgment can be made."

I am no longer double-minded.

For a while, I waffled between a desire for truth and a desire to keep my social network intact. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if I should have taken the BLUE pill... But no. In the words of a blogger I respect:
I am, in every way…..a normal example of a person who devotedly followed after Jesus who woke up one day and finally realized that most of what he spent his life doing was predicated upon a fantasy.
I have no desire to believe in fantasy, even if it means continued comfort.

Even though I no longer feel unstable or double-minded, I'm content to think of myself as a Wave of the Sea. I have no control over the wind. I can only do my best and enjoy the clean air as I surge along with all the other waves.

Well. I've exhausted my attention span for today. As every blogger says, I hope to update this often, because I think I often get thoughts I'd like to share with no one in particular. But we'll see.

Cheers.

Mark
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