I thought I had it all figured out. It really is a comforting feeling to “know” you are right, isn’t it? It provides an easy out for those times when someone presents a different perspective that challenges assumptions – if it disagrees with what I “know” is right, then it must be wrong. Right?
I spent much of my childhood in church or at church camp, and am extremely grateful for those experiences and the ways in which they helped to shape who I am today. I grew up in a mildly conservative church in a small town in central Illinois. I had no awareness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), or in truth, of hardly any Christian movement other than that which I was a part of, because, let’s face it: they were wrong.
Before I go any further, let me clarify for a moment, I am not here to church-bash or say anything negative whatsoever about other churches or traditions. Quite the contrary: I understand God to work in people’s lives in numerous ways, and I really don’t think God is troubled or limited by our particular denominations or individual church practices.
I went to college at Oklahoma Christian University, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, another group I knew nothing about. If you are not familiar with the Church of Christ, suffice it to say they are also conservative, but in different ways from which I was familiar. It was there I truly started questioning the answers I thought I “knew.” Prior to college, I was taught the answers to important questions like salvation and baptism were clearly spelled out in Scripture, so there was no need for further questioning. When I went to college, I found myself faced with alternate answers to the same questions, which were also founded in Scripture. These answers were held with the same amount of confidence and conviction with which I held my own conclusions. That realization made me start questioning everything. All the assumptions I had made, the “truths” I assumed, the answers I “knew,” it all suddenly came into question.
As I started to question these answers I thought I “knew,” I encountered two very distinct reactions – either people were open and willing to have a discussion about why they held their particular stance, or they were only interested in persuading me that they were right. The very idea of challenging a deeply held belief was enough to threaten some friendships. Perhaps the hardest part of this whole experience was coming to the realization that I, too, had to be open to the possibility that maybe those things that I hold dear might be challenged.
"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." - 1 Corinthians 13:12 NRSV
Reflection Question: Can you let go of being right for living in the tension of God's mystery?
Prayer: Mysterious God, we see, though dimly, the works of your hand. Help us to sit in the mystery of your presence. Amen.
Posted on Wed, March 16, 2016
by Micah James