I have a confession: I don’t really know what I believe. About God. About faith. About what happens after we die. I’ve been having what some might call a ‘crisis of faith’ for years, but I’ve been feeling the weight of these questions especially heavy for several weeks, and I wonder if opening up about them here might help me get closer to the answers. Or, perhaps it might help someone else who has questions feel a little less alone.
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Recently, I’ve become more and more aware of the differences that exist among those of us who identify as Believers. Some of us are instantly recognizable by the length of our hair, or the types of clothes we wear. Some of us believe in the Holy Trinity while some assert that Oneness is a more appropriate conceptualization of God’s nature. We have different ideas about modesty, salvation, miracles, tongues, music, politics, morality, hair, yoga – you name it, there are people who have differing opinions about it. As these differences become more evident with the advent of social media, it seems as though there’s been an increasing focus on what distinguishes us from other believers. Rulebooks are being updated to include all the things that one must do to be a true Believer (as described by the authors of such works). I think that it might be helpful, though, to identify some things that you don’t have to do in order to be part of the Body of Christ. So, I’ve compiled this short list:
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“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
-Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)
If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago to play a word association game and then presented me with the word “grace”, my response would probably have included words like delicate, gentle, beautiful, tender, and maybe even soft. In my head, grace had become this really clean concept that involves all these beautiful ideas like love and hope and reconciliation.
It’s not. I mean, it does involve love, hope, and reconciliation. But, it’s not clean. The reality is this: Grace is dirty. Continue reading →