I’ve been a Christian for so long I can hardly remember my life before Christ.
But suddenly I’m beginning to question everything I was once sure of. And to top it off, I’m afraid to talk about it. The little bit I have attempted to share with friends has not been received well. There’s been awkward silence and confused looks mixed with subtle (and not so subtle) attempts to shut me up.
Luckily I did find one friend who didn’t seem shaken by anything I had to say. She even reassured me my questions were valid so I let them flow.
Isn’t it kind of arrogant to think that we as Christians are the only ones on this planet who are truly “saved”?
What about the Hindu or Buddhist who is serving God to the best of their ability, providing for their family, serving and loving others?
How come research shows that people who pray regardless of their religion tend to live longer, happier lives? Shouldn’t it be only the Christians if we indeed are the true saved ones?
Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of working with disadvantaged youth. I have witnessed the inner workings of teen addiction, mental illness, and family dysfunction. Being continually surrounded by people desperate for their next fix, with seemingly no resources at their disposal, led me to ask most of my questions.
I wonder, “Where is God in all of this?"
There was one person who stood out to me while working with the teens. She wasn’t a troubled youth; she worked alongside me and had a very masculine look. She was a lesbian. A Christian lesbian! Is that even possible?
The Christian bubble I had been living in didn’t include troubled youth, let alone homosexuals. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, working alongside this new friend, I discovered that not only was this woman what I believe to be a true Christian, she actually lived out her faith in ways that put the rest of us to shame. She faithfully read devotions at break time and never spoke an ill word of another, she took a genuine interest in each troubled soul she encountered, and most of all, she modeled beautiful transparency.
She spoke openly of her struggle with depression, and to a select few, of her same-sex lifestyle. She expressed her desire to be obedient to God in all things, often contemplating leaving her companion of 20+ years. She prayed the Holy Spirit would guide her and give her strength, wherever that might lead.
One day she asked my opinion of her relationship, in a spiritual context. I felt like such a coward because I didn’t have the guts to give her my answer; I couldn’t tell her that deep down I felt God designed man for woman, and woman for man. Then I reasoned with myself, “Who am I to tell her what to do?” Besides, she seemed more in touch with the Holy Spirit than I was. I encouraged her to listen to what the Holy Spirit would say to her, muttering a typical Christian response like, “His timing is perfect.”
My friendship with her changed me. It may have been the very thing that prompted my faith struggle in the first place. I mean if a lesbian can be a Christian, what other controversial issues might I be easily swayed by?
I have some Christian friends who speak their mind about homosexuality and some of their comments have been really harsh. They imply "those people" couldn’t possibly be saved. My list of questions only grows in these conversations.
What about divorce? How come it’s socially acceptable to get a divorce, yet to be a homosexual is a grave sin, one that God couldn’t possibly redeem?
It’s ironic how Christians are ok with some sins and not others.
I recently saw a quote on Facebook, “Don’t judge me just because you choose to sin differently than I do.” It struck a chord. I personally struggle a lot with gossip. I hate to admit it because I am aware of the damage it can do. I’m working on it.
I recently read a few chapters of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle at the request of my agnostic brother, something I wouldn't have done in my earlier Christian days. I had such a weak and immature faith early on that I couldn’t dare challenge it. But now, although I’m still struggling with questions about my faith, I feel the freedom to consider others' opinions. I want to be the kind of Christian who honors whatever belief or lifestyle choice someone else may have, whether it differs from mine or not.
Some say I’m losing my faith, or that my mind has become so open my brains are falling out. But I’d like to think my faith is evolving, that it is fluid and not stagnant. And I know God can handle it even if my Christian friends can’t.
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