Knowing More and Knowing Less

These days I regularly have unsettling experiences as I read the Bible, where I find myself wondering ‘what is all that about?!’

I just had one this morning as I was using sacred space where a passage that I once would have ‘understood clearly’ no longer made as much sense.

It is a bit disorienting to have this happen regularly, yet its also a sign that the grids thru which I am reading scripture have changed. For the last 5 or 6 years I have often found myself in a state of dissonance where I ‘know’ what I was taught as a young person, but now as an older person I am either discontent with or questioning the answers/interpretation that was offered.

I don’t think its a bad thing – in fact I think its a natural and healthy thing – but my tradition is not especially good at questioning (we are better at knowing) so it is almost a discipline to sit with a passage and accept that I don’t know what its saying and today I don’t have time to dig further into it.

Makes me realise why Barth was keen to sum things up in ‘Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so’. I have referred to Alan Jamieson‘s book ‘A Churchless Faith’ before and appreciated his insights into how EPC churches tend to deal in certainty and do not like questioning – this has certainly been my experience – and yet if people are to mature in faith they must be allowed to enter and experience mystery and uncertainty.

I sense we are generally afraid of questioning in case during the quest people lose faith altogether, but maybe we need to trust that God is bigger and stronger than we have allowed him to be and can walk with people thru the haze and grow them deeper because of the experience.

I find it a little annoying regularly discovering that so many of my pre-learned biblical interpretations no longer feel satisfying, but then I’m enjoying the journey too.

4 thoughts on “Knowing More and Knowing Less

  1. I love how Jamieson’s church was able to offer a safe space for those transitioning between faith stages. It was almost like another congregation meeting on another night, questioning, searching, etc.

    Our churches have to learn either how to a) create safe transitional spaces – this does not mean a special 5min segment in the sunday program, or b) celebrate and assist those moving on and out from our congregations, into the ‘Unknown’

    This is key for those 20-40yo “backsliders” who can no longer exist in our EPC black and white existence, and have to get out just so their faith has a chance of surviving.

  2. Hamo,

    I have really enjoyed your past two posts – I say to my wife – look this is where I am!!!

    Do you and your wife share the same spiritual journey?

    – like does she say, YES!! – I know what you mean, where you are comming from!!! And you look at the pile of books on her side of the bed and say can I read that after you’re done it kind of resonates with me?

  3. enjoyed your post.

    i’m reading “Reaching for the Invisible God” by Philip Yancey.

    “Doubt always coexists with faith, for in the presence of certainty who would need faith at all”?

    “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear.”

  4. I don’t normally comment, and I don’t blog, but what you are writing about is one of the strongest trends for young adults in the perth area I’ve come across. By far the most common 20y.o. people we get at Christian Surfers Scarb. are those asking questions. Because we are not seen by them as the church, they feel comfortable to ask the Q’s that they cannot resolve within their church without a “there there”. But they just can’t let it go (their faith that is), and so they come into the C.S. family almost as a cooling off period. The most dis-arming comment I can make to a jaded young Christian is “keep asking that question, put it on the line”, as trusting that God is bigger than this season has been key for these people (and us at C.S.). But the most important thing we do is keep pointing toward Christ, this lets them spread their wings without turning into wickers, he he he. Thanks for your blog

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