These conversations of questioning and challenging assumptions were hard – I had to learn to get out of my own way, put aside my own defenses, and be open to discussion and new understandings. Proverbs 27:17 is the famous verse about iron sharpening iron. I often use that verse to talk about the importance of having positive friendships. But I believe it also speaks to being willing to be open. I couldn’t expect to be able to challenge and question others if I was not willing to open myself up to the same challenges and questions. When I did and found others who were willing to be challenged as well, progress could be made.
Eventually, I arrived at a very different place from where I was when I started. I wish it were a sparkly, flashy story that had a dramatic “aha” moment in which everything slid nicely into place, but unfortunately that’s not my story. For me, it has been much less dramatic; a gradual journey of continued questioning and uncertainty. But I did arrive at a very different place in my theology.
I had become so concerned with having the answers, with being able to say with certainty who is right and who is wrong, and by extension, who is in and who is out, I missed something huge that was right in front of me: the boundless love of God that Romans 8:38-39 talks about. The love that knows no limits; the love that we cannot escape even when we try; the love that transcends these questions, and our limited human understandings of who is in or out. I was so concerned with the right answers that I missed the point.
I said that I am at a very different theological place. This is true. But I’m not sure I know the right answers anymore. I’m not sure I have much figured out. But this new place in which I find myself allows for that. I’m getting more comfortable not having it all figured out. Maybe that’s because I’m becoming more comfortable with this idea of God’s boundless love that doesn’t fit in a traditional box.
My faith journey, the transition from exclusion to broader understandings has truly been an experience of healing for me. It certainly could be said that it was painful at times when I was coming to the realization that not everyone (including myself much of the time) was open to questioning and doubting. But ultimately, I have come to the realization that it’s ok to question; it’s healthy to doubt and challenge assumptions. I try to encourage that sense of questioning with our youth as well. It’s often frustrating to many when I won’t give them “the answers.” But I believe those moments are when growth happens. Those questioning moments are when healing takes place because they move us toward a greater understanding of inexplicable love.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another." - Proverbs 27:17 NRSV
Reflection Question: Are you open to questions of faith?
Prayer: Giver of Love, Call us to seek and we know when we do, we will find you. Amen.
Posted on Thu, March 17, 2016
by Micah James