I fell in love with education the day a college lecturer I respected told the class:
Anything or everything I say may be wrong. Your textbook may be wrong. Don’t listen to me without questioning. Don’t accept what your textbook says without questioning. Don’t take things at face value. Question everything.
Since then, my experience in the academic world has been an extremely fascinating, extremely engaging, captivating one. Even outside the classroom, I doubt I’ll ever stop using the skills of thinking, learning, and engaging that I was taught in the classroom.
Likewise, what captivates me about Christianity is its alive-ness – how it has changed and evolved throughout the centuries, how it has appealed to people of all ages, cultures, and walks of life. Christianity to me is something I can engage with – sink my teeth into, wrestle with, debate, explore, question, test. It is not a dead-end religion.
I cringe, shrink away, and literally run in the opposite direction when anyone claims to have all the answers to Christianity. When any denomination claims to have all the answers to this mysterious, unfathomable God. When people try to define what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ Christian.
I rebel when people tell me how I should live my faith out. And when people tell me that they don’t really know what being a Christian means, I tell them it’s good that they don’t know – because not knowing means having to find the answers. Finding the answers means wrestling with them. And wrestling with them long enough leads to sure, steady, unshakable conviction.
I fell in love with Christianity the day I realised God made himself human to talk to us. To have a conversation with us. To engage with us. Not to deliver a one-way broadcast of rules and ‘to-do’s.
As Jon Swanson says in his blog, Jesus is the ultimate social medium:
The Word has conversations, asks and answers questions, listens to what people are saying and responds.
That isn’t the image we often have of God. There is the rule-giver of Exodus and Leviticus, the declarer of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Those are images of a one-way broadcasting kind of media, cranking out 50,000 watts. That kind of a God may get our attention, but certainly not our affection. And that kind of God offers no affection.
But what if God becomes interactive?
In Jesus, in the incarnation, God allows comments. Throughout the Gospels there are conversations, interactions between Jesus and disciples and Pharisees and everyone between.
I believe and am convinced precisely because I am given room to doubt. To question. To wonder. I don’t want to blindly swallow ideas and ‘truth’ whole without taking the time and space to reflect on it, consider it, engage with it.
And this is why I write. To explore, to question, and to come to a place of belief. A belief that comes from doubting, wrestling, and finally accepting truth.
I don’t want something stagnant;
I want something alive.
I don’t want something manageable;
I want something that will catch me by surprise.
I don’t want to be talked at;
I want to be talked to.
My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt. -Fyodor Dostoyevski.