The past few years have been an undoing of things in my life and it just keeps going. It’s been painful at times, a feeling of terrible insecurity as I’ve questioned and doubted everything I’ve ever believed. I’m speaking mainly about my beliefs in God and Jesus, and what the Bible teaches.
It’s scary to think that I may have wasted my life to this point, pouring it into things I don’t believe any more. Think hundreds and hundreds of hours spent in church diligently scribbling down notebook after notebook full of preaching, serving, joining programs, activities, supporting ministries, and thousands of dollars. But worse even than that: major decisions, life changing decisions that may have been a completely wrong headed thing to do. All the while being convinced that it was good. Like living away from family…leaving my parents and my in-laws completely distant from us and their grandchildren. And even worse, having my children grow up not knowing what it is like to have grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. And for what? I still battle despair and depression if I look back at the years past. The sheer waste of it. I was such an optimistic person, had such hopes, and made every decision carefully….it’s just that my whole basis for making decisions was built on a faulty understanding of God, the world and my place in it.
And while it has been quite a yucky experience, I have to say that a raw, angry and honest questioning of belief has been very healthy for me.
I have sworn (and still do) and raged about the crap that has been preached to me for years and that I believed without question. I’m still sometimes feel angry at the arrogance of preachers who teach and preach with such confidence but can’t answer with any intellectual integrity questions put to them. It’s a sad state of affairs really…that the modern church has people preaching from a position of authority (more on that another day) to people who unquestioningly listen…when in fact their theology only is a mish mash of books they have read, often by other misinformed high profile preachers. There has been no systematic study of theology. After all, intellectuality is played down in the circles I’ve been in. The preferred method for determining truth seems to be following feelings of ease or unease in the spirit at worse, to proof texting already established dogmas at best. Neither is sound.
And here I am learning from conservative old men sitting in dusty ancient universities, and discovering that the intellectual world that the Pentecostal movement has spurned is holding veritable treasures about God and humanity and in fact the whole cosmos, while the modern church is preaching confused and often times harmful theology, and working itself in to a frenzy of activity in order to ‘save’ the world. Oh dear.
But while I am still angry about it at times, there is no point me sitting around getting eaten up by this stuff. What’s more, I am completely and thoroughly excited about rebuilding my theology from the ground up. Or should I say from the Trinity outwards. I have never been so touched by how good God actually is.
I’m hoping to be able to actually share what I’m learning here, and would welcome any comments or discussion around it. I’m no theologian, and I’m not saying I understand it all…just that I’m on a discovery of God in a completely new way…