Struggle

I preached a sermon in my Biblical Preaching Lab class last week entitled “Change Requires Struggle.” It was based out of Genesis 32:22-32, where Jacob wrestles with the angel/man/God. Though I didn’t feel all that great about it, something within what I was saying preaching felt real to me. This has been quite true ever since I started reading books by Peter Rollins (he has written How (Not) to Speak of God, The Fidelity of Betrayal, and Insurrection; all of which I highly recommend, if you like to question yourself and/or your faith).

My problem for the longest time was that Christianity to me felt fake and dead. I felt no real conviction regarding a desire for God or for believing the “right” things. I mean, I guess I did believe all the right things, but for so long, God felt distant enough to be non-existent, and I knew I was drifting in and out of days, and of life itself.

Then, I began to read some philosophically and theologically challenging books, all within postmodern and/or emergent church literature. These included the aforementioned books (which, by the way, I am writing my senior thesis on), along with others like Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy, Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence, and yes, even Love Wins. All of these affected – and are affecting – me greatly. I feel as though I have been opened up to the wide variety of Christian expression through these authors, simply because they are so willing to embrace the idea of plurality within our faith. Not only that, but Rollins in particular is willing to embrace doubt (something I find I struggle with quite a bit) as not only a tolerable, but a necessary part of Christianity. He says, “Only a genuine faith can embrace doubt, for such a faith does not act because of a self-interested reason (such as fear of hell or desire for heaven) but acts simply because it must.”[1] Here faith is seen as only possiblewithin the realm of doubt, and cannot exist apart from it. If it did not exist without doubt, it would not truly be faith

It is here that I have found a renewed desire for both God and Christianity. Though it seems that God is blurred and enshrouded in fog, I am still able to encounter Him in the midst of my struggle.


 

[1] Rollins, How (Not) to Speak of God, 34.

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