Some of you have heard my story about a friend that I had while in college, one that was a deist. Though she did start out as a atheist, today I think she still boarders on deist/Christian. Yet, though many of you have heard her story, you may not know why it is that her story is so important to me. When I first met my friend she wasn’t very verbal about her feelings towards that church, or even towards Christianity, rather she seemed on the fence about it. I did, however, get the feeling that she wasn’t that fond of it. It took me some time, but I did end up finding out why. Growing up she was taught that one does not question faith, that things were just what they are. She was never allowed to just question her faith or even get into some meaningful conversations about it. So in her mind if faith is not allowed to be questioned, and she always questioned it, then she was not a person of faith. That was enough to turn her away.
So what is the point of all of this? What did this have to do with me? After finding out some of the things that she questioned, I realized I did know the answers, and had never questioned it like that before. It opened up something inside of me, something that made me no longer want to take everything that was given to me as easily as a once did. She taught me to question the social norms of Christianity and dig into my faith. To ask that difficult questions that many Christians are to afraid to ask, and then enter into conversation with her. That more than often ended with me saying “I don’t know, let me figure out” or “I have no clue and I don’t think that is something that we can find the answer in a book, we are going to have to look for it ourselves.” Answers I have found, many Christians today, are not willing to give.
When we enter into the moment of a difficult conversation, are we really willing to dive into it? That is what I had to do for my friend. I had to listen to every question she said, which caused me to start questioning some things myself, in order to find the answer that she was looking for. Yet, sometimes I still never found it, but throughout that time I spent listening, talking, and questioning with her. She started to see a different side to this faith that she had been running from for the longest time. Difficult conversations are just that, a conversation, there has to be two sides. Your pastor can preach all they want, but if we that congregation never enter into these difficult conversation after the sermon as been said, how to we expect to grow?
Difficult conversations are never fun to have, yet they are necessary. We only have to be willing to dive into them. Let ourselves start questioning everything that we may have thought we knew about our faith. Everything that we may have learned or seen. We have to be will to let ourselves doubt and question. Not to the point of losing faith, but rather to the point in which our faith grows stronger. How else are we to reach the world around us? When we ourselves have never once let ourselves question the very things that the world around us questions about Christianity, how else are we to grow and change, if we never let ourselves go through growing pains? Because each one of us, from the youngest to the oldest, still have room to grow?
~ Pastor Jillian