Sunday, August 28, 2005

Show and Tell

One of my favorite "Faith Columnists" is the Kansas City Star's Bill Tammeus. This week's column (Registration may be required, but it's free.) has a "back to school" theme, and encourages us grownups who challenge our faith to show and tell.

Like eager students, members of faith communities should collect their hardest questions and throw them on the table. Keeping them secret won’t resolve them. Rather it will almost guarantee they won’t get resolved. That’s because if we don’t share our doubts and questions, they won’t get exposed to people who may have found a way through them.

Tammeus reminds us that a personal crisis in faith (Been there. Done that. Will most likely do it again.) is a great gift, and nothing to be ashamed of. As a big believer in the virtue of questioning, I especially loved a comment that welcomed such exploration, saying "that spending a life just defending one's beliefs means not growing intellectually or spiritually."

Many serious theological writers encourage people to share their doubts openly. Perhaps my favorite of these people in Christianity is Frederick Buechner, who says that any faith that doesn’t have room for doubts doesn’t have room for him.
I'm far from a serious theological writer, but I join these wise minds in encouraging you to share. This is a big cafeteria, with lots of room. What's your most curious question or deepest doubt about your faith?


At 3:37 AM, August 29, 2005, Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Doubts? Who, me?

I tend to brush them off. Don't know if that's good or bad, but that's what I do.

I doubt the church's view on clergy - male & celibate. I doubt the church's stance on birth control. And I'm bothered by some Catholics' devotion to Mary, when it seems to cross the line from devotion to worship. I doubt that the church's hierarchical, clergy-only governance model is really a divine inspiration.

But, I also recognize the church has had issues since its inception. It's not perfect and can make no claim to be. I have my issues too. So, my tactic is to keep on questioning - myself and the church - and keep on praying about it. In the grand scheme of things, that 1% doubt isn't going to cause me to lose the other 99%.


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