Stuff in My Head (2)

Ok… so what I am hearing is that no one can agree. And it’s more than a disagreement on something inconsequential… I mean the discussion in the comments section of my previous post are pretty damn heavy.

I write that my faith has been declared dead on another blog, and everyone proceeds to comment and muddy the faith waters even further.

You would think that the Bible would be pretty clear about how one is to be certain of something as important as eternal life. Does it just boil down to a matter of opinion based on one’s interpretation of scripture (as defined by the multitude of denominations that abound)?

Seriously…the Baptists don’t agree with the Methodists who don’t agree with the Lutherans who don’t agree with the Catholics who don’t agree with the Church of Christ who don’t agree with the Seventh Day Adventist who might even be considered a cult…depending on who you choose to agree with.

To be honest, the stuff in my head tells me that it’s all bullshit. We don’t really know definitively about the subject. Seriously, I give up. It’d be easier just to go back to church (any church will do really) and believe everything they tell me. At least faith was simpler when I didn’t give a damn.

17 thoughts on “Stuff in My Head (2)”

  1. well let me give you a suggestion.. dont worry about whether you are baptist or methodist, or what ever.the only thing that matters is your relationship with God. if you dont have a relationship with God they by golly you arent getting anywhere. even if you do go to a baptist church, or a catholic church.and just to let you know, i have friends of different denominations. so some of us can get along, its the stubborn headed people that cant.

  2. <>“At least faith was simpler when I didn’t give a damn.”<>You don’t know how right you are. I started going back to my old church about six months ago. The leadership changed and my absence was really distressing my daughters, so I went. Immediately, my inbox started filling up with “what do you think about this or that?” My answer remains, “I don’t think it matters.” I enjoy seeing the people I care about, and there’s a class there where we get into discussions that SCP’ers would love. But the morning “worship service” is the most irrelevant part of my spiritual experience. As you would expect, with new leadership, the grapevine is abuzz with talk of change and relevance, and blah, blah, blah. And I laugh, remembering how I used to be right in the middle of all that. Except for relationship, I really don’t give a damn. And faith is simpler, indeed.

  3. This might be a bad example with you wrestling with the split between you and your wife along with your faith walk hitting some bumpy roads…but faith is a lot like marriage. People expect all this wonderful stuff and it turns out to be a lot of work. It can still be wonderful (and should be), but there is no end to the faith walk as long as we’re drawing breath. We are all going to be guided and sometimes derailed by our own desires, preconceptions, prejudices and hangups. None of us can come to God and His Word without baggage, and that’s why there is so much difference and division.But we are all potentially God’s children, and like any family, we will all have our own personalities and differing relationships with any given parent.That may sound simplistic and maybe sound like I’m trying to be flip or disregard your faith struggle or anyone else’s. But I’m not. If you are so set and convinces in your faith walk that you never have any reconsideration, turns, changes or anything else, I would wonder about you. Those who are completely inflexible and take faith handed out on a spoon from someone else is not seeking God but simply settling on convenient answers.Godspeed.

  4. How does it go? “faith like a child”? Actually I think it was faith like a mustard seed, but the former seems so much more…poetic. Which may be why “Jars of Clay” comes to mind ::snicker::Maybe they’re both right, I dunno, I’m the least qualified to reference scripture. But really, what does that say about intellect, and the human capacity for introspection? …just throwing it out there.

  5. Someone named “Bible Reader” had this comment on another blog: “A lot of Christianity is about achieving a look and adopting an attitude. It’s like joining a group, wearing the uniform, listening to the right music. But when you look for substance, there isn’t much to be found.” I think that’s more what many of us have experienced, or are experiencing, and desire something with some depth. But let’s face it, American culture has never been known for it’s depth.

  6. Steve said: <>At least faith was simpler when I didn’t give a damn.<>LOL! So true! Now that I do also give a damn about what I believe and why, I was told last week “You were never saved then,” and in no uncertain terms “You are going to hell if you don’t truly accept Jesus.”Ah, some things never change…

  7. Gave up SCP for lent so it’s good to be back and catch up with what I missed! ;o)I’m a children’s worker and I just love being around the simplicity of their faith. Really grounds me when I end up getting in worthless debates!And if it’s not possible to mix in the orbit of real children the next best thing I’ve found is to hang out in the company of new-born christians (though they seem to be increasingly hard to find). They cut right through the crap and remind you that the bottom line is, “I was lost and now I’m found, was blind but now I see”.I’ve loved the blog for the 2years I’ve been with you, but took the decision last year to try and ensure sure I was reading as much positive stuff as I was the blog. A diet of pure SCP was really contributing to the crushing of my spirit … to use the well worn preaching clichĂ©, “what you feed grows, what you starve dies”. Found I was starving myself of stories of people coming to faith, of God’s love, of all the amazing things God is doing around the world, of the precious people who are literally giving up their lives for Him. SCP was simply feeding my cynicism, doubt, intellectual pride. Got a bit more of a balanced diet now (I find a generous portion of Jimmybob helps tremendously as part of that!)

  8. Thomas Paine said something more or less the same:The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion.

  9. I read <>So You Don’t Want To Go to Church Anymore<> last year, online (www.jakecolsen.com). It practically rocked my world. So I second Andy’s recommendation of it.It’s easy to believe what you’re told and not “give a damn”. I did it for seventeen years. It’s harder to question everything you’ve been told and, IMO, even more difficult to take the time to determine what you believe for yourself. It is a journey, to be sure. But I think, in the end, the journey will be worth it.

  10. I don’t hate fundamentalists. I just think they’re wrong (and a little crazy). And I don’t consider you to be one by a long shot.

  11. Steve,I’ve been a quiet observer of SCP for quite some time. Have never posted, just listed to your thoughts and the comments. I really appreciate your journey and your willingness to share them in the public arena. I share a similar perspective, disconnectedness, frustration, disillusion, passion and commitment to my faith. All those descriptions are wrapped up in my journey…plus a lot more and I sense that is the case for you as well. It’s been a brutally beautiful journey! Thought I’d share a few things that have really helped me over the last 5-6 years. 1: The study of Eastern Orthodoxy. While I’m not Eastern Orthodox, I’ve found protestants have much to learn from our Eastern brothers/sisters. Take a look at a few of these resources: Books: “Thirsting for God in Land of Shallow Wells”, “Becoming Orthodox”, “Mountain of Silence”Web: http://www.ourlifeinchrist.com/ and http://ancientfaith.com/2: Wayne Jacobsen @ http://www.lifestream.orgWayne is sorta an anti-church institution guy that has some profound things to say. His book, “So you Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore” is one you might enjoy. I think you and Wayne share a similar experience and you may find him interesting.Kind Regards,Andy

  12. Good post, about the various denominations not agreeing with each other and on Christians judging each others’ faith. I could have written this about five years ago. I think the day I finally gave up (well, almost gave up) and faced who I am as a sinner who cannot possible redeem herself…THAT was day I was given faith.

  13. Why has it taken you so guys so long to come to the conclusion that your faith is your own?Even though I’ve had preachers, teachers, parents, and many others influence me in my life, I’ve always been comfortable hearing them out, respecting their beliefs, but ultimately forging my own path with God.I do care about what I believe and I’m in the thick of it. I don’t just let my brain go to mush and think being in church is the easy road for faith.You just sound like you struggle with doubts and it bothers you more than some.Dorse, you made a statement in the last post about fundamentalism and the Bible. I’m going to chew on that a bit to understand it better, but it made me cringe. Basically, because my whole Christian life was based on “all or nothing.” I am probably one of those fundamentalists you hate, yet we’re friends. I don’t think I’ll ever not believe in any part of the Bible, but I’ll give it a shot in understanding those that can believe some and not all, because I care about “us.”

  14. <>To be honest, the stuff in my head tells me that it’s all bullshit. We don’t really know definitively about the subject.<>Well, at least you and Pilate agree with one another.

  15. Steve,I really feel you on this one. But I also feel <>for<> you, because you are faced with an impossible challenge.This whole faith vs. reason thing is a bit of a trap. Since much of spirituality is illogical or at least non-logical, the pursuit of a logical conclusion only leads to more questions… much like a 2-dimensional being attempting to prove the existence of a 3-dimensional being only ends up frustrated. It is beyond comprehension.Of course, the flip-side is that fundamentalist, evangelical christian who decries all logic, and neatly boxes it all up in the phrase, “You just gotta have more faith, bruther…” That doesn’t work either, because God gave us a mind.Even the more balanced christian might quote Jesus speaking to Timothy saying, “Blessed are those who do not see, and still believe”. But that can be argued away as a premeditated, spiritual catch-all, to keep questioning christians safe.I wish I had a solid, concrete, irrefutable answer, but I don’t think one exists.The only solace I’ve found have been in the words and actions of Christ. Romans 4:17 tells us that this is where faith comes from. So, I’ve settled there, trusting that He’s trustworthy, even when church and other christians are not.…imho

  16. “We don’t really know definitively about the subject. Seriously, I give up. It’d be easier just to go back to church (any church will do really) and believe everything they tell me. At least faith was simpler when I didn’t give a damn.” (Steve)You know – that’s true – I think it’s easier to not think about any of this than it is to think about it all – because the waters are so muddy one cannot see the water for the mud. I do the debating thing basically because I know I don’t have this all figured out and I want to dialogue with a variety of people from a variety of angles. If I stick to theologies I like then what use is that? I need people that are orthodox in my life as much as I need people from the opposite side of the spectrum theolgically. Does any of it really matter? Yes. I have noticed that people act certain ways in church due to their theology and belief about God – and what interpretation they respect. The problem with most churches actually does deeper than just structural problems – but theological ones. I have noticed that people in church will committ actions contrary to their very beliefs based on what they deem important to God (or the faith). And I am likely no different – and that’s the root of the problem I want to lay the ‘axe’ to. But honestly, what truly matters is how we ‘treat one another’ and beyond that – the rest is commentary…and I learned that from a Rabbi (Hillel).

  17. It is much easier to believe what you are told. For me its what I know to be true. I know most Churches would call the emotional faith. I dont necessarily believe because the Bible says it. I believe it because to me its real like gravity is real. Not real like a history book says its real.Dont give up. You will figure out what you believe.

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