Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let's Not Go There...



Just a few simple questions today, but I hope they will stimulate discussion or, at the very least, some thought...
  • What thought or thoughts are you simply not willing to entertain?
  • Are there questions that your worldview will not allow you to ask?
  • Are you honest/brave enough to follow the questions to whatever answer you find, or is that too scary?
And if that's the case...
  • What are you afraid of?
Feel free to comment anonymously if it helps you to feel safer...

7 comments:

@anab4 said...

I started out as a research geek (now a pastor). I get in trouble a lot in this new venue because I'm used to intellectual curiosity - you go where the question take you - and then evaluate the result. This is not common practice in church settings. There's a whole lot of 'thou shalt not think' that I find frightening and frustrating.

Matt Nightingale said...

Thanks for your comment, Anna. I agree with you, but I think there's a lot of fear on the other side. That's what I'm trying to get at. What are we afraid of when we suppress our true feelings, questions and doubts?

I know God is big enough to handle our questions. He is not diminished. He is not changed. I think people are afraid of being changed themselves.

Matt Nightingale said...

I'm thinking of three people who followed their questions and didn't censor themselves...and found themselves falling moving in ways they didn't expect...

Dave Bazan went from being a worship leader at Mars Hill church in Seattle. Now he's an agnostic. His latest album, "Curse Your Branches" basically is a break-up with Jesus, at least the Jesus he thought he knew.

Julia Sweeney was a Roman Catholic who began to explore her questions and doubts. She explored all kinds of religions and experiences. Now she's an atheist. I've been watching her "Letting Go of God" stage show on my DV-R.

Frank Schaeffer basically helped create the Religious Right in the 80s. Now he's a member of an Orthodox church.

I think THIS is what people are afraid of.

Matt Nightingale said...

One more thought... I think those fears are valid. I fear those things sometimes too.

Anonymous said...

my fear is not that God is not who He has said He is and who He has proved Himself to be over and over, rather my fear is that I would be convinced by the enemy through whatever unimaginable events to leave Him - like these people you mentioned. i can't imagine, and won't allow myself to imagine my life without Jesus. i cling to the reality that God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

Kabul Kid said...

I think the distinction is between intellectual curiosity and a crisis of faith. Satan's question to Eve comes to mind...Did God REALLY mean you'd die? He's not asking her to simply question what God meant, he's asking her to question God's genuine love for us, that He asks us to not do something which would cause us harm. It boils down to this: am I questioning my religion, or questioning my faith? Example: 6 days of Creation. Intellectual curiosity: was it really 6 days? Faith: Did God make the world? One is a religious construct, the other is a statement of faith. In the instances where one fell away from God, I would argue that it was not God and a relationship with Him that they've lost, it's their religion. If we rely on fallible man, through religion, to define our faith, we do so at our peril.

victoria said...

I wonder at times if there are 3 types of Christians: Those that question, seek, struggle and search; those that are content to not think as deeply and don't bother with pursuing thoughts and questions, and those that have struggled, asked the tough questions, cried out to God and emerged with a fully rounded, seasoned faith.

I fall in the category of the seeking, struggling questioning type that hopes to emerge mature but sadly, I'm still struggling.

I think it's lonely being this way. I wonder at times if most churches give the impression that questions are bad and indicate a lack of faith. I was watching Miracle on 34th street at Christmas and in it there's a line that "Faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to." and I wonder if many people in churches are kinda like that..... but they don't want to think about it. They just accept it. But..... sooner or later, will they ask the tough questions? And what happens when that happens?

God says he'll prosper us, yet there are so many poor believers in other countries. He forgives all yet we will be judged for all we say and do here on earth. He pours out his wrath over wicked people and nations, yet is compassionate, all loving and slow to anger. (btw, I don't think Haiti was God's judgment and it hurt me to see a FB friend post a verse of wrath in reference to Haiti) God says if we obey our father and mother, if we love and obey God that we'll live a long life yet I know so many godly people that die young. Does this mean they did not love God enough? If we believe enough, we'll be healed. Yet not all are healed. Did they not believe enough? There are a lot of verses that doesn't seem to make sense with the reality we see today. How to reconcile it?

I know that a huge component in faith is that we won't see the big picture and have to trust that God is fulfilling his promises and even when seemingly bad things happen, God has a plan and a purpose. (but sometimes I wonder if we just say that to make us feel better)

I really at times struggle with my faith, and I like to be open and transparent but I fear that in most churches, with most friends, something like that is received with horror and I'll be added to the church's prayer list.

really, I wonder why there's not more people like me? I still love God, and I know I believe. I just struggle.

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