At Least Cynics Know What They Believe..
Maggi has a thoughtful and provoking post on doubt, honesty and numb belief.. She quotes Coleridge..

“Dubious questioning is a much better evidence than that senseless deadness which most take for believing. People that know nothing…have no doubts. Never be afraid to doubt, if only you have the disposition to believe, and doubt in order that you may end in believing the truth.”

Last week at my leaders meeting for the Pulse, we had a heated, albeit cut short debate on the merits of faith by questioning. Some felt wholeheartedly that the Bible is sacred and therefore.. unquestionable. Others felt that truly sincere deep faith can only come from questioning and wrestling with Scripture. I tend to side with the latter, not because I believe too deeply in apologetics for apologetics’ sake; but because too many ‘beliefs’ are actually doctrines.

Young people are like sponges in that they will soak up every belief placed in front of them when they are hungry for truth or relevance. So give them a Frank Peretti novel and they aer pushed into a imbalanced irrational view of spiritual warfare, and the interaction between supernatural and natural worlds. Give them hardline Scriptural truths about behaviour, and they become judge and jury of the world around them. Tell them, or demonstrate that proximity to God is found in loud worship services with endless altarcalls and dim lights, and they will stand arms outstretched until they fall down from exhaustion.

And don’t I wish that I had some grasp of that still youthful passion and exuberance that defies balance and reasonability, and longs for a life of chaotic joy and pursuance of God in all His forms. However.. the older I become, the more the questions I’ve wrestled with, become foundations to this little house of faith I’ve built as a shelter against my own cynicism.

The difference between my faith shelter, and some others.. is simply that mine is made of solid wellbeaten, pressed, moulded, fired bricks, with plenty of windows into the world and an open door. Some of these other shelters seem to be made of hay, and are more of a blanket to hide under, than a vantage point into the world at large.

“Thomas has often been called “doubting Thomas” – a title that is hardly a compliment. But there are lots of reasons, I think, for applauding Thomas – he was honest, he didn’t pretend to have faith he didn’t have, he didn’t just go along with the crowd. He did that very hard thing, which is to own up to being the odd one out among a group of friends. And, bravely, even when he was the odd one out, he didn’t go away and isolate himself, he jsut carried on meeting with the other disciples until, a week later, he saw Jesus for himself and found a faith that he COULD own.”

Youth Leaders and Young People
I would rather have a collection of Thomases, than a collection of emphatic bandwagon jumpers. In fact, I think I would really enjoy having a community of Thomas out there in the world. I have a number of them in my group already, who spend time with the community, without necessarily holding to all our beliefs. But as they encounter they do find themselves being transformed, and coming into a faith that has grown into their very bones and marrow.. and that is a wellformed faith, that won’t grow out easy, huh Maggi?

These were my thoughts and reflections anyway..