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Friday, January 05, 2007
"Good" Christians are...?
Yesterday I finished reading Tim King and Frank Martin's new book Furious Pursuit: Why God Will Never Let You Go.

At the beginning of each chapter in the book quotes from various sources are listed. I really liked this one by James Emery White:

Struggle with God is the essence of relationship with God.


I've never been the kind of Christian who prays elaborate, poetic prayers, or reads her bible nightly, or lives with unshaken belief. I don't particularly enjoy listening to sermons, and singing as a group activity is something I'll never understand. I don't even enjoy arguing about beliefs. If I could rewrite the definition of apologetics I'd replace arguments with questions that don't give rise to easy answers, battling bibles with our favourite drinks (alcoholic or otherwise ;) ), and the counter-arguments for *insert hot topic here* with the comfortable ease of old friendships.

Sometimes I believe. Sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I don't even have enough of a belief to reach any sort of opinion at all on the topic at hand. It was refreshing to read a quote from someone who doesn't think that living in the gray area makes me a "lukewarm" or "immature" Christian.

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posted by Lydia at 3:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


12 Comments:


  • At 1/05/2007 04:47:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    I agree, I think someone who is lukewarm doesn't care. I can care deeply and out of that caring can come doubt, lack of discipline, and honest wrestling. It's important to be authentic. I think that God dislikes it much more when we're deceptive about our hearts than when we're being our authentic self

     
  • At 1/05/2007 04:57:00 PM, Blogger a journey

    "singing as a group activity is something I'll never understand."
    I am with you, Lydia ... never understood it either. Along those lines, standing in the freezing cold, singing at the doors of strangers at Christmas is also something I don't get.

    I like this quote from a website I frequent.

    We think having faith means being convinced God exists in the same way we are convinced a chair exists. People who cannot be completely convinced of God's existence think faith is impossible for them. Not so. People who doubt have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith. - Reallivepreacher.com

     
  • At 1/05/2007 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    It really confuses me when people say that you can't be a true christian if you have doubts. As if certainty equals salvation. I don't understand how anyone could ever grow or develop in their faith if they dont have doubts.

     
  • At 1/05/2007 05:56:00 PM, Blogger Tiffanie

    I definitely agree with what you guys are saying. Elaborate and poetic prayers are not my thing, my husband absolutely can not stand sitting through sermons and refers to our Adult Bible Fellowship class as his church instead, it is a struggle for me to read my Bible every day. And oh, I have yet to attend every session of any weekly Bible study I have been in. In addition, it's always doubt that ends up strengthening my faith. I really don’t see how I could have faith without doubt. I wasn’t born a believer; I learned a lot of different things growing up. Accepting Christ did not erase the previous 24 years of my life, nor did it instill me with some great and all-knowing wisdom. Not to mention that I have a working brain. :)

    Now, the singing thing... sorry gals but I'm one of those who worships in that way. I enjoy it and it is a large source of spiritual renewal and connection for me. The point though is that we are all different. I am glad that there are books like this out there. I'm glad that whatever talents and interests and struggles and doubts I have… are ok. :)

     
  • At 1/06/2007 12:28:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    My faith and "connection" is stronger than ever, the more I have questioned, thought, and been unsure. I actually have grown more from my time outside of the "church" and "Bible studies". I look forward to our (church)staff get togethers. I hung with many of the "guys" from church today, and learned some about beer brewing. Here on this blog I have learned a lot. So while our church is becoming a place I love to be, the informalness, openness, and authenticity of the others actually fuels my faith more. I was more "lukewarm" practicing the ways I had been expected to.

     
  • At 1/06/2007 06:56:00 PM, Blogger medium guy

    Funny, I've been on both "sides," as it were, and everywhere in between on this one. As a "new Christian" I was all about religiosity, modernism, and I was a choir boy and a liturgist. Then I experienced a melange of skepticism, and unfortunately, some cynicism and I was pretty "out there" with theology, praxy, etc. - for example, I was once railing to my wife against the conventionality of bowing heads and closing eyes during prayer - my argument was, "Hey, not everyone can be lead to do this exact same thing while praying every time!" Now I am very thankful that God has brought me to a place where I desire spiritual growth even if I hesitate and I've really been humbly challenged to open my mind far beyond what I had ever dreamed.

     
  • At 1/07/2007 05:40:00 PM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    This is a great topic - thanks for starting it.

    I was reading the post from "medium guy," and I thought, Wow, I know a lot of people - including myself - who have gone through similar stages of development as a Christian. Maybe this is a normal development process.

    We have to reach a certain level of maturity of character - not necessarily Bible knowledge, but that might help - to be able to entertain doubts without our general faith being shaken in some way, in my opinion. Only in mature circles, really, can intelligent people disagree amicably. And having doubts about the exact way things are going to work out in God's overall picture is normal. But I think that initial "all about religiosity" stage is sometimes a grace God gives us to get a basic handle on following Jesus. And, it is normal to understand things in a concrete way before being able to handle abstraction.

    Little kids understand rocks before they understand the passage of time. Rocks are concrete. The passage of time is an abstraction. "A long time ago" for a five year old is like yesterday, you know?

    Anyway, this is great conversation.

     
  • At 1/07/2007 07:14:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Thanks Sue, great comment. I really embrace what everyone has been saying on this thread.

     
  • At 1/07/2007 07:58:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    Sue, I like what you said about maturity being an integral part in the process of accepting doubt.

    I would add, that there are also personalities who continue to question, though immature in their faith.

    Two months ago my sister-in-law was baptized. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. One week after she came to a point of belief, my brother was in a horrible accident which caused significant back injury and years of struggle and heartache for the two of them. They walked through some very difficult times, and still do today, and she experienced doubt and questioning of God's character and the reality of God's love for her.

    When asked why she had chosen this moment, 6 years after the initial point of belief, she referred to John the Baptist in prison sending his disciples to ask Jesus if he was really the Messiah. She decided if John the Baptist could have doubts, then she must be in good company. She made this step of faith not because she no longer had doubts, but because she saw that she was allowed to have doubts.

    In many ways she was immature in her faith. In the midst of this, she was also more mature in her quest than people I've known who claim to be Christians for a life-time.

     
  • At 1/07/2007 10:18:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Amy,
    I love that connection to John the Baptist. I never thought of it that way. I think so many times "maturity" has been connected to "no Doubts". It's unfortunate. I have learned my growth booms in uncertainty.

     
  • At 1/09/2007 07:51:00 PM, Blogger John Lynch

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 1/09/2007 07:54:00 PM, Blogger John Lynch

    Thanks for this post! I love Matthew 28:17, "When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful." The thing I love about it is that it's written of the Apostles... the faith superstars who Revelation says will sit on gates of glory of the New Jerusalem! It strikes me that while doubt isn't our destination, it is part of our path. I'll never be satisfied with the doubt I encounter; but I'll never be surprised by it either. Anyway, thanks again. Peace.

     

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