With one breath we plead with the Creator. Yet in another we declare him unchangeable. In one moment we worship God for being all-loving, all-forgiving, and holy. Yet in another we secretly cower before a Creator that does not appear to consistently embody these traits. Is this a God that lives in the loopholes and makes exceptions for Himself, or are we missing something?
When an interpretation of scripture seems to contradict God’s character we are conditioned to rely on the phrase “His ways are not our ways” as the remedy for our concern. Instead of wrestling with scripture till we get fresh perspective and insight we are taught to relent and accept a version of the Creator that is inadequate. Though God’s voice bids us deep into the journey of finding Him, there have been human voices around us laying groundwork at an early age for things that should not be questioned, assumptions that should not be reached, and conclusions that are unacceptable. But by all means, we are free to develop our belief system within those parameters.
“It can easily happen that a person loses his Christian faith as a result of forcing himself to try and accept a view of the Church, or of God, or of life in Christ, which is so distorted that it is practically false. Yet he may be under the impression that this view of the Church is the right one, since it appears to be the view actually held by most of the Christians with whom he associates. In such cases, the effort to cling to a deficient and imperfect concept of Christianity not only does no good, but actually contributes more quickly and effectively to the loss of faith. What is necessary in such a situation is not force, not self-castigation and confused efforts to conform to second-rate Christians, so much as a clarification of the real issue and a restoration of true perspectives.
Our ideals must surely be tested in the most radical way. We cannot avoid this testing. Not only must we revise and renew our idea of holiness and of Christian maturity (not fearing to cast aside the illusions of our Christian childhood), but we may also have to confront in our lives inadequate ideas of God and the Church.”
So we must seek. And in seeking, we must be willing to be taken – taken by the Spirit of Mystery to places some will consider detrimental to our faith and offensive to their understanding of God. And the concern, more often than not, is for the preservation of preconceived belief systems that have never been dipped into the fire. But you can trust the journey because when the scriptures say we will find Him if we seek Him, it is not mere conjecture. It is a promise. It is very easy, especially in the Bible Belt of America, to allow the fear of what the church may think, to keep us from unabashedly diving to the depths of discovery with the Creator. But the scriptures, whatever translation we prefer, calls us all to truly seek God. We are free to let go of things. We must let go of things.
Listen to the wise, to the pastors, to the theologians and scholars that spend their lives studying and protecting scripture. You will find amongst them disagreements. You will find amongst them mistakes. But you will also find belief because when you awaken to the fact that there are still questions among the most disciplined, Godly, and educated Christian and religious thinkers, you are forced to discover what you truly believe for yourself. Otherwise you are checking off boxes on someone else’s list that either secures your place in the tribe or throws you to the wolves.
There is a place inside that you have been told is untrustworthy, but that is the very place you will find God speaking most powerfully. It is a dangerous place that must be navigated with humility, submission, and abandon. And it is a good place where you will have the rawest conversations with your Creator who loves and forgives more than you can ever be capable of. In those conversations you will be forced to throw away many assumptions you were taught as truth and embrace the mystery that the Christ spoke of. But you won’t find an inadequate God that lives in the loopholes of scripture that you must make excuses for. “His ways are not our ways” is not a line of defense or an excuse. It is a call to never give up seeking the face of God.