This was originally published December 31, 2012 on Facebook as a Note. But I publish it here, to help tell about my faith journey.
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ok. This is way bigger than a status, so I made a note, the first one in months.
It has been just over two years since I was in a church of Christ pulpit. Two weird years. I thought I was ready to look for ministerial work, but no. I have been researching, looking for work. I read. I ponder. I get this indescribable feeling in my stomach, close to nausea, but more like nerves when I have ridden roller coasters. So, I close tabs. Walk away. Return. Continue the cycle.
How do I express myself? I am ever so thankful to God for giving me the knowledge I have. I will never regret it. Yet, I feel certain that I cannot preach in the cofc because I know my heritage. I have been associating with a Messianic Synagogue (Jews who believe in Jesus) for seventeen months. I thought I could labor in that type of environment. I do, but only in a minor fashion. I don’t do more because I cannot, for the same reasons as looking for work in the cofc.
I feel that few will understand fully what I am trying to express, receiving typical condemnations and condolences. I don’t walk your path of faith, and you don’t walk mine. It is not possible for either of us *to know* how the other feels. What we can do to help each other is really minimal.
I don’t like where I am. I have faith, but I don’t have religion. I lost my religion, and with it my home, my heritage. Now, all I see is religion. Do this! Do that! Dogma! Even the churches that promote *progressive* faith espouse dogma. Faith is more than religion. Religion is not faith. Faith is certainly not dogma. I have no place I can call home. Home was lost, and along with it certain convictions that I held from my youth.
Jehovah is the one true living God.
Jesus is Jehovah’s anointed and the promised Messiah.
The Holy Spirit is powerful and active.
The Bible is God’s word but limited because of humanity. Jehovah’s original words to Moses without error. Jehovah’s original words to the prophets without error. Jehovah’s words to the Messiah without error. Jehovah’s words to the Apostles without error. But long gone are my understandings of the Bible being without error, every translation is full of humanity, and each person’s or translation team’s theology. The original Bible was Hebrew (the OT for Christians), and the NT Greek has too many variants in the manuscripts to ever find the original. Yet, I still believe.
God works on and in people as HE sees fit. As such, long gone are my original understandings of church, conversion, discipleship, salvation, and worship. I see houses of worship, none really are any better than the other, because each does according to its understanding, then does according to its *perception* of the truth. I don’t and can’t fault them. I do the same. God will judge.
I want my life to be more and I want to do more for Jehovah, but the sad reality is I don’t have enough faith to do more. I really have not committed myself to Jehovah because, quite frankly, I don’t want to look any different that the people around me. I want to fit in. I don’t want to be weird. When real honest, Noah, Abram, Moses, Hosea, Joseph and Mary, and a whole host of others were weird. Getting beyond simple Bible class and sermon knowledge, these folks really stood out.
I really don’t have the ability, probably better stated – desire, to be anything like Noah, preaching to a world condemned. I really don’t want to look like Abram, walking away from father and mother and their religious ideas. I don’t want to be Moses, articulating God while speaking with a thick accent. I don’t really want to be anything like Hosea, having a prostitute wife and the hell that marriage must have been. I don’t want to be Joseph and Mary, living outside cultural norms regarding their son Jesus, living outside Torah receiving ridicule – set aside Divine intervention for a moment, culturally Joseph was considered a step-father to a bastard child and Mary was seen as the mother of a bastard child (doubt me, see John 8.41).
All those people did things for God, lived righteously before Him, got notice by Him, and then at God’s beckoning did His will, not theirs, and in doing God’s will they became weird. (I really doubt Joseph and Mary were warmly welcomed in their friendly neighborhood synagogue.) To understand it any other way seems a gross misunderstanding. I can’t seem to bring myself to this type of faith. I simply don’t want to look weird.
I cannot find myself able to submit to any religious system. I cannot find myself able to submit to the Messianic Synagogue. I cannot find myself able to submit to the church of Christ. However, I do seem somewhat willing to submit to the awareness of the religious world and walk in the brokenness thereof. Sadly, I cannot seem to find myself able to submit to God, beyond my current faith.