The first choice for Pastor's Book Club this summer is Peter Enns' book, The Sin of Certainty. In preparation for our discussion this Sunday (July 17), I am going to provide some thoughts and questions that seem important to me. Next week, Jordan is going offer some thoughts and questions of his own (we are going to lead the discussion together).
Thought #1: "An Unsettled Faith"
Enns (like myself and many others) grew up equating "True Faith" with "Correct Thinking." Even in seminary, I wanted to know and understand the "right way" to think about God, the Bible, and my faith. There is nothing wrong with trying to understand these things. In fact, I think it was essential for my early stages of faith development. The fact that there are exams in seminary and then, Ordination Exams that tested to make sure my faith was "correct", also gave a little "extra" motivation! I found that helpful, not burdensome.
Then "Life" happened.
When I got to my first church, all that well reasoned, logical and "correct" theology ran into the Real World. The answers I had learned so well, seemed too easy and not very helpful. There were questions I couldn't square with the faith I thought I knew. At first, I thought the answer was to find more (and better) "answers." After awhile, I discovered that the problem wasn't in my answers, it was my approach to the questions.
I was looking for "Certainty." God was offering "Trust." I wanted to find "Answers", God was offering "Presence."
I discovered I wasn't alone. My journey was like so many others. When I ran out of "answers" and gave up on "certainty", I discovered God. It wasn't until my faith became "unsettled" that a new kind of peace with God was found.
How about you? How has your thinking about God changed over the years? Are there things that seemed clear that now seem "unsettled"? Where do the experiences of your life challenge what you thought you believed? Could it be that this isn't a failure of faith as much as an invitation to a new season with God?
See you Sunday at noon in the Castle Rock Room. Bring a sack lunch. We'll be done at 1:30.