Growing up attending a Christian Church in any denomination is very confusing. At first, you’re the future of the church and the center of attention, you get Vacation Bible School, you get Children’s Church and Children’s Moments which may include: being given candy and other snacks as well as small toys and doing crafts. As you get older, you’re expected to put on VBS, CC, and CM as well as assist in the nursery (more-so for girls than guys though). Once you graduate high school and college, you’re really not that important anymore because you’re an adult. You’re supposed to get married and have kids to send to VBS.
There’s a certain amount of growing up that’s expected. That’s why Christian stories get modified. Children’s ears are too delicate to understand the complete story of Noah or Lot, but if you change parts of it here and there to an all-purpose “bad” “evil” or “wicked” then even without all the details, one can get the main point of the story – death and destruction is the just reward for being bad, evil, and wicked. As you get older, the story changes accordingly. At some point you’re grown up enough to know it all.
But that’s when you have a problem. How can you have a child-like faith if you’re supposed to grow out of it and not supposed to grow out of it at the same time? The children’s version of Christianity certainly isn’t Biblical, but it’s a believer’s first education on spiritual matters.
I’ve been in a conversation with a group of people who believe a lot of things about Christianity: faith alone, scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, and God alone, total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance of the saints, the content of various creeds, confessions, and covenants, the Great commission, and in having a Christian worldview. I barely understand one of those things, I don’t see how it’s possible to accept them all without question. I might never grow up into that kind of faith.
So I’m struggling here because I apparently believe the wrong things the wrong way, or I believe some of the right things but in mostly the wrong way; I’m not really sure. I grew up being told one thing, but now I have to believe something different. Apparently the real travesty is that I’ve given up the faith that was taught to me: I grew up too much. I asked the wrong questions. I sought out the wrong answers.
I’m hesitant to define one set of beliefs as entirely correct, as by definition all other beliefs would be completely incorrect. Who am I to tell others if their beliefs are correct or incorrect? Am I doing them a favor by saving them from what I perceive to be their destruction? What if it is I who am in the wrong, and I’m actually instructing others to join me in error?
In all of the thinking out of theology and mapping out matters of faith, it strikes me that we’ve made it a good deal more complicated with all of the -ism and -tion words to describe every part of the process. It’s on a level of logic and knowledge, but it’s difficult to translate that to emotion and feeling. Both elements, however, are required if there is to be any success. I just don’t want to brothers and sisters lost in frustration because the Holy Spirit speaks to their hearts and their logic tells them not to trust what they feel because they know better.
Again and again I look at this system of beliefs and they lose me in the logic and the knowledge. Again and again, the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart that it’s okay that I’m not one for logic and I’m comforted by that thought. For all the thinking out of Christianity, no one can schedule the Holy Spirit’s appearances and interactions; some mystery remains.