Sunday, April 13, 2008


You don’t have to read between the lines too much to know that I have been wrestling with some things the last couple months. It is a result of many things - some I've shared here and some I have not. Thankfully, my wrestling does not require me to wear that ugly, tight, one-piece outfit or get those hideous cauliflower ears. (And yes, now I have offended the readers with cauliflower ears - sigh.)

Troy and I have an agreement when we talk. OR, I should say, we have this agreement when *I* talk. If I don’t want him to try to fix me or correct my stupid or angry way of thinking about something – if I just want to vent without his interjections, I say “I am not looking for feedback here.” This has helped us tremendously. I can just spew and not get angry when he tries to give me a quick fix or an answer. It is a system that works well for us.

I share that because my topic tonight is one of deep personal wrestling and not really so much about needing feedback. My fear would be that the feedback would miss the mark and maybe get preachy – and I’m not so much looking for preachy. One of my biggest pet peeves is when you are in a place of really hashing out your faith, bringing things to the surface that have not been examined, going to the mat and arguing things out … When you’re really searching and struggling and someone whose faith is superior to yours (or so they tell you) tosses a Bible verse at you like a weapon. Or they tell you a bunch of crap about why your struggle is not normal, is not sensible and is not “Christian.” I find all that to be unhelpful and untrue.

A blog is technically an on-line journal … Take it or leave it, assume I am totally lost, messed up, and simple - or nod your head in agreement because you get it.

Here is the thing.

In the last two years, and especially this year, I have been in a constant debate with myself about what I believe. My never-ending desire for justice has been totally screwed with by living in this country. Injustice is gargantuan here. Of course it is evident everywhere in the world, but it most certainly feels magnified here. Because nothing is just and nothing is fair and there is no way to make it so … And it is in my face day after day after day, I end up in this place of wrestling.

Of course on some level I know that nothing in this life will ever be made fair. Things like starving kids and sexual abuse, good people getting dumped on ... and all varieties of horrific injustice won’t be wiped out in the here and now. But, for whatever reason I still rail against it all. Over and over and over again I ask “WHY?” And that is where all of my struggle happens.

In Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller, he says:
“…This is why Paul had no questions. This is why he could be beaten one day, imprisoned the next, and released only to be beaten again and never ask God why. He understood the earth was fallen. He understood the rules of Rome could not save mankind, that mankind could not save itself; rather it must be rescued, and he knew that he was not in the promised land, but still in the desert, and like Joshua and Caleb he was shouting, “Follow me and trust God!”

My struggle is not totally just with trusting God -- it is more with accepting the fallen-ness and the depravity and the terrible injustice in the world. I mostly trust Him, I just struggle to accept that this is the way it is going to be for now. Screwed up - all the time so screwed up. I always want resolution. I always want justice. It rarely happens. I hate it.

In addition to the constant “Whys” of late I am realizing that I just don’t have all that many answers.

A few years ago, I thought I had so many answers. Name a topic, bam - I could spit out my brilliant and undisputed opinion at you without much contemplation. I did my best to always go with some sort of "this is God's will" type answer whenever things were unclear. Some of my answers probably hurt people ... I had my answer and I probably pushed people away by knowing so darn much. Lately, I feel that most of the toughest questions are questions that won’t ever be fully answered in this life. So much of what I sort of thought I knew – is now filed under the “This is too complex for me” tab in the filing cabinet of my head.

Just because I am a person of faith, a follower of Jesus, a person who desires to know God better - it does not mean I have answers for everything – or even most things. I just know that formulated theology does not work for me and putting God in a box is a mistake. It means I am a work in progress ... sometimes not so much progress, but always a work.

I am starting to be comfortable with not knowing everything. I often feel that I don't know anything at all.

I am currently reading Blue Like Jazz. If you've made it to the end of this post I highly recommend it. The subtitle is "Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality." The back of the book says this, "Miller's words will resonate with any believer who has ever grappled with the paradoxes of faith."

I am drawn to it because it is incredibly honest and real. It allows me to see that other believers also wrestle - even often -- with questions of their own - and that God is really and truly big enough to allow us to grapple with all of it. He is big enough to stand up to our questions - His ego cannot be damaged by our struggle. He is God.

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1929