Yesterday, I encountered a fundamentalist that accused a group of people that I was with of being guilty of theological laziness. As if we’re selling out and trying to take the easy road compared to the right road. So it got me thinking about my journey, my path, all the things I studied, all the things I believe, and why I believe them.
So after a couple minutes of deep thought, I confess that sometimes, I wish I was still a Fundamentalist.
Why? Because it was easy, I had the answer to everything. I had mentally segregated people in my mind. No emotion was necessary when dealing with people who didn’t believe what I believed. It was ordered, neat, cleanly cut, cut and dry, cookie cutter, the world I lived in was clearly black and white. I had no questions gnawing at me, and If I needed to know, I could ask my pastor who could give me just enough spoon fed twaddle to keep my mind at ease. Really, it was the life.
Let me tell you in a special way.
I felt like I had a really nice sailboat and I was anchored in the middle of a lake with a nice sunset off in the distance. So tranquil, so relaxing, and golly, look at this sharp looking boat! So I kick my feet up and relax. Eventually, I came to see off in the distance that this lake that I’m in was actually a reservoir with a big dam at one end. In my life, as my beliefs begin to shift, I hear a gigantic crack echo throughout the lake. The dam is beginning to show deep cracks, growing more and more when suddenly bubbles shoot up from deep in the water and I hear like thunder, a gigantic crack and sudden drop in the edge of the dam. This dam was crumbling and I’m sitting in this measly little sailboat, I’m about to have a bad day.
Me in my little sailboat get rocked back and forth violently, it’s as if we’re flowing down Colorado rapids. Rocks are flying into the boat somehow, some hit me in the head, some tear my sail as I continue to ride these waves down the river, faster and faster, further and further away. After what seems like ages, right before I give up, suddenly my little boat get shot out to sea, the current pulls it further and further away from shore. I decide to empty my boat full of these stones, and then I begin to attempt a repair on my sail, even though I have no experience doing so. After I finally get it patched up, I look around and notice that the sun had finally set. I turn to begin to guide my way back to shore when I notice.
I can’t see a shore anywhere.
North, south, east, west, or what I thought what was what, there was nothing. I even realized that as my boat was spewed out to sea, it spun in all sorts of directions. I am suddenly adrift at sea without any bearings.
With almost no control over where I go, only the wind to guide me. I notice a storm off in the distance, many of the basic truths I used to think are gone. How am I going to avoid this storm?
There must be something I can prepare, do, or even attempt.
Eventually, I come to the conclusion that there is nothing that I can do, nothing that’s in this sailboat, no works of mine that can properly make this boat capable of weathering the storm. It requires a lot of trust, trusting the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
“Are you sure?”
“Right into the storm?”
So like a rubber ball inside of a washing machine, my boat is tossed to and frow in this storm holding on to nothing but faith. Eventually when i exit the storm I learn that this is just one of many storms that my little boat will have to go through. Between them, I will occasionally meet up with other people in small sailboats, I find it a wonderful experience. In the past, I used to spot them at sea when I was still up in the reservoir. I used to think less of them and shake my head whenever I spotted them, but after I’ve interacted with many, I find that they are so much like myself, just following the wind too.
I was raised on many things that were stapled with the label of truth on them. When I questioned one, like the dam, the whole thing began to crack and crumble. Sitting in my boat with my legs kicked up, I didn’t need as much faith as I do now. I could extrapolate on that, but this post isn’t for that. I’m out and it’s as simple as that. There’s a misconception that drifting out here, is the easy way out, a way of giving in, but that cannot be further from the truth. There are times when this liberty is refreshing, but more often then not, beads of sweat swell up on the back of my neck or I pull my hair out. I have spent years getting my bearings back in check. Answer one question, that leads to 3 more questions. Answer one of those, then 5 more appear. Living inside of a bubble sounds wonderful from where I’m at sometimes, my questions are getting answered nonetheless. Not how I want or thought they would be answered, but this study has driven me hard into the realm of discipleship. I’ve certainly learned that I’m much smaller and the world is much bigger than I ever imagined.
In the end however, I’m in deeper waters, I’ve found myself to have a better relationship with the one who’s been guiding me the whole time. Indeed, there’s a profound liberty and peace where I’m at, but at the same time it’s intimidating, borderline terrifying. Every single time, through this terror, I find myself running to the cross more and more.
Grace and Peace,