On bright summer mornings when I wake up before the kids, I make my coffee, grab my bible and go out on the deck to read. I'm working my way through the book of Luke. I'm reading as a skeptic, as someone who strongly questions the notion of inerrancy. I'm picking it apart. Did Jesus really say that? Why was this story considered important enough to include here?
This morning I read the passage where Jesus says anyone who hears his words and puts them into practice is like a man who builds his house on a firm foundation, so that when the storms come it doesn't wash away (Luke 6:47-49). It struck me that Christians can fall into the mistake of judging someone's "foundation" by how they respond to crisis. If someone falls apart, if their life is a mess, they must not have the foundation Jesus talks about. How unfair to the Christian with mental health issues. Sometimes bible stories like these give Christians performance anxiety. Other Christians are watching, so they feel they have to appear as though their foundation is solid when inside they're hurting and they're internal house has completely washed away.
I finished a first draft of my novel. It's a shitty first draft as Anne Lamott would say, a Port-a-Potty worthy shitty first draft. I've gotten some good feedback, and I think I know what I need to do to make the story better, but I get tripped up. The story I'm telling isn't nice and happy and Christian-y. Because those aren't the stories I like to tell. Sometimes I feel guilty about that.
People talk about Catholic guilt, but I was raised Catholic, spent 12 years in Catholic schools, got married in the Catholic church, and I've never felt guilt like I have since joining the ranks of evangelical Christians. I've been second guessing my every move for almost 30 years, worried that my salvation would be ripped away, that I wouldn't properly discern the will of God, that everyone around me would know I hadn't properly discerned the will of God.
I know plenty of people who have walked away from the religion of their youth, both Catholics and evangelical Christians. I'm not ready to do that. I still go to church every week. I still pray. I'm still hanging on, hoping God can hear me. But I need to tear down everything I once thought was true. And I need to do it guilt-free, not worrying about what other Christians think about me or my performance, whether or not my foundation is firm. Or whether or not the book I'm writing is Christian-y.
I didn't intend for this blog to be an examination of my faith. I didn't intend for it to be about grief either. But here I am.