Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Childish Faith Births a Faithful Skeptic

I used to believe in fairy tales that there was a prince that would come and take me away to a fairy land to live happily ever after. But, life is more tragic than a child's imaginings. We are not protected by God and there are no supernatural interventions, at least in my life. That does not mean that I don't believe that blessings are from God, as all things are blessings. But, to me, to assume in a supernatural intervention and presume upon that in plans is presumptuous. David prayed that God would keep him from presumptuous sins. Presumption is taking things into one's own hands. Faith is much more like my husband's life of quiet trust, a lack of worry, fear and anxiety. He believes that things will work out. Unfortunately, for me my grandmother used to tell me that all the time (usually during periods of tragedy). But, life did not work out as my heart desired. So, I don't believe that things work out. I used to.

When I came to faith, I understood it to be the best news on earth, because I didn't have to perform, because God loved me like I was. That meant that I was loveable, and since I'd neve felt loveable all my life, this was exciting for me. In fact, I thought that my identification with Christ's death was good news. Why? Because I hated myself so much that this was an easy emotional suicide of 'self". This way a better person could live, Christ. I practiced my faith and continued to believe irregardless of any trial that this was the way of learning how to be holy and like Christ. I was crucifying my flesh, so that Christ could live in me. But, what I came to experienc in the end was an annihlation of my very identity and self. This is not good news, as it leaves no person and no sense of personhood or boundaries, which are a healthy necessity for personal identity and a healthy sense of self. So, lately, whenever I hear of "dying to self", "being crucified with Christ", etc. It has connotations for me of an emotional pain that I cannot describe. This is not healthy Christian faith. And those who believe that I am only protecting myself are unfortunately, misguided, as whenever someone has no sense of "self' there is a tendency for others to trample boundaries that must be maintained. This is a healthy self-respect and regard. It is not selfhishness, as I had always thought and had practiced denying myself in this regard. Sometimes, those like me with little of no identity attach to a religious identity to bulwark a lack of development. Recently, I have come to recognize that boundary maintenance is a discipline that I must practice, just as much as those who are presumptuous must practice self-control.

Now, my faith is tattered, worn, faltering at times, wondering for a reason, and thinking about a faith that has died and birthed a critical doubt, sometimes skepticism,. The death of my previous faith breeds anger at those who propose a simplistic faith and trust, and a grief and self-recrimination over being so naive and gullible. This is a place of learning about myself, my values, my friends, my family, and my own sense of self identity. It is a place of growth and a place of faith, nonetheless.

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