Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Integrate: Topic Losing faith

I tend to be really glad to wake up. This morning, not so much. I was so sad that I had to get out of bed and come to work. Well, to be perfectly honest, I was fine waking up, just not so fine getting out of bed.

Last night was that small group I go to, called integrate. It's a group of people, mostly christian and we take turns bringing a topic to talk about and just discuss it. I love how casual, communal, accepting it is. It's a non-small group, small group. And it always involved good food, wine, and this time these cookies I would trade a date with any L-word star for. They were so fantastic and I ate four.

This time I brought the topic: Losing faith. And I talked about how I keep meeting people, specifically gays and lesbians, who have chucked their faith out. (due to suffering and God not showing up to help (in their view), having the bible thrown at them in judgment, or from not being able to explain to their friends why the Pope or the catholic church was saying such horrible things about gays and lesbians.).

This led to a discussion of suffering, how crucial it is to read scripture in diverse community, stories of how, or if, we have experienced God for ourselves in supernatural ways, and talk of what is faith. What I loved most is we sat in a semi-circle and it almost seemed like as you looked to each person down the circle we went from strong faith to nearly no faith. This sounds entirely crazy but that was my favorite part. That we all had kept or left faith to varying degrees but we all were in dialog about it. And that's the type of group it's good to have a conversation about keeping and loosing faith with! One thing we did have in common was that we all find old-school apologetics and arguing doesn't work for us.

Why do I keep faith, at least this week? Because I can't argue with a couple of the miraculous supernatural moments where God has "shown up". And because of the book "For the Time of Being" by Annie Dillard which helps me cope with the question "why is there suffering in the world". It doesn't explain suffering and why, it holds it and somehow holds God in it too. I have never ever read a book or encountered an argument or reason that does a better job than that book at holding God along with this damn complex, painful, suffering filled, joy filled, weird world.

This is church!

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