Growing Pains

Found an excellent blog post on questioning, deconstructing, and reconstructing one’s faith. An excerpt is below, but the entire post can (and should!) be read at Experimental Theology. This is one part in a series of posts, so it may be helpful to read previous entries.

Faith must and will go through the fires. In the words of Paul, when our faith was a child it talked like a child, thought like a child and reasoned like a child. Faith has to grow up and put childish things behind it. But that can be painful. There are attractive things about a childish faith. It’s simpler. It’s consoling. It’s certain. To grow up in faith is to step into complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty and anxiety. And there are times when we wish we could turn back the clock of faith, to go back to simpler times.

But you can’t go back. I often tell my students that there is a threshold of doubt, that once you start asking certain sorts of questions there is no going back. When it comes to faith there is a class of questions that, once you get to them, just don’t have any answers. When you reach these questions you’ll live with them for the rest of your life.

Richard Beck, Experimental Theology

 

Trust

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

The Temple

This past Sunday morning, I experienced one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard. I know that sounds trite and hyperbolic, but seriously – this one moved me. While listening to our minister’s powerful exegesis of the second chapter of Galatians, my brain made a connection to a book I’m currently reading: Simply Christian by N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop and New Testament scholar.

It’s not possible for me to do complete justice to the sermon, but I have permission to use some of my minister’s main points in writing this entry and will do my best to convey the Spirit with which they were made.

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For Guidance

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© Kimberly Jasper – All Rights Reserved 2016

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer

Easter Evening

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

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Easter

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Photo Credits: J.E. Reed 2016 © 

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.

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Heaven

Day 21 of the series Lenten Letters, forty days of contemplation in the form of correspondence to my best friend.

Dear Friend,

IMG_0147My mother would have been so pleased that you made her broccoli casserole this week, especially because you made it on an ordinary day. In our family that dish was reserved for special occasions… holidays, birthdays… if one of my brothers was coming home. Broccoli casserole just didn’t happen every day. I suppose because it required ingredients that weren’t always found in our pantry (Velveeta cheese and Ritz crackers) and it did take a few more steps than she generally had time for. But on an ordinary day you made a very special dish – and I want to believe my mother knew that and smiled.

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Influences

Day 17 of the series Lenten Letters, forty days of contemplation in the form of correspondence to my best friend.

Dear Friend,

I absolutely adore that we can discuss things we don’t exactly agree on, and yet still love each other so completely. We’ve hit upon one of those topics in the last few days, haven’t we? Even more amazing, I can completely understand your viewpoint. Without question. It makes total sense. But so does mine, and that’s why I don’t think we’ll ever have a set of proofs at the end of all our discussions. Rather, I think we’ll have a whole lot of well thought out theories. I guess I can live with that.

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Fodder

Day 11 of the series Lenten Letters, forty days of contemplation in the form of correspondence to my best friend.

Dear Friend,

Not even the threat of catching the flu can keep UPS delivery away from my house. Thank goodness. Today’s haul will be turned into future letters.

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Simple Message

Yes…this video is actually more about listening than viewing (more of an audio recording set to a static picture than it is video); but, this is probably one of the top five sermons I’ve ever heard. Dr. S.M. Lockridge preaches a simple message: Jesus is our King. If only we could hear messages such as this, delivered like this, in our churches today. It’s an hour long, but it’s an hour you won’t ever regret. It moved me enough to get me out of my blogging drought – trust me, that was no small feat.

Seminary

When I was 11 years old, I started the yearly tradition of spending two weeks every summer with my maternal grandmother in in the “city.” Having grown up on a farm without running water or phone service, staying with my grandmother was an adventure in more ways than one. At Grandmother’s house, you could use the restroom without going outside; taking a bath didn’t involve heating water on the stove; and, rather than sounds of cows and tractors coming from the window, there was a train whistle and the screen doors of other houses slapping closed – which leads me to the biggest difference of all: the presence of other people. Lots of people. Lots of different people.

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