if I'm not certain what I believe?
my friend, you have just joined a very large club. Particularly
if, by the use of the word certain, you mean clear. What
if Im not clear about what I believe? You see, too much
clarity, too much certainty can lead us to spiritual arrogance,
a disease that inhabits many of us clergy types. Maybe we should
become less certain. That might make us more open. Openness by
the way, seems to be the more correct posture for faith. Try
putting a gift in a clenched fist. Whew, souls clenched with certainty must
create headaches for the Godhead.
certain what I believe? Try asking it this way: Not
certain what I trust? If we can substitute trust for believe, the
fog around faith might be pierced with some new light. Trust
is so much warmer, more intimate than belief. Belief sounds doctrinal.
Trust implies relationship. I lean toward What and Who and Why
I trust. When I approach it that way, it seems to lend more light.
When it comes to belief, it's just more fun and childlike to
be open than to be adultlike and "certain." Try it!
The words of this commercial seem to have the ring of the Jesus
of the Gospels.
Rev. Dr. Douglass M. Bailey
is not always part of true faith. In fact, certainty
is the opposite of faith: If I KNOW that you are standing right there in front
of me, I surely do not need faith in order to believe that you
are standing right there in front of me. But if I tell you that
God is in this very room, right here with us, it requires faith
to believe that, BECAUSE we cannot be certain of it (i.e., cannot
PROVE it). If we can prove something, it does not require faith
to believe it. If we cannot prove something, it does require
faith to believe it.
whole enterprise of faith involves turning things over
to God rather than being certain on our own. People of
faith believe that no matter what happens to them, all
will be well (a quote from Julian of Norwich, an ancient mystic). To
me, that means that even if I die (and of course I will), all
will be well. Even if my loved one dies or whatever all
will be well.
is not easy, perhaps not possible, to be certain of what I have
just said. I believe that all will be well; I believe that BY
FAITH; that is, I cannot prove it but I believe it. That is simply
the nature of a faith-based belief (or conviction).
of the worst things that have been done by humanity have been
(and are still being) done by those who have been absolutely
sure they were absolutely right. We need only look back to the
K.K.K., Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic to see dramatic examples
in fact, is not fertile ground for spiritual growth. It is only
when we are seeking and searching that we are open to
if you are not certain what you believe, relax. You are in the
right place at the right time for spiritual growth.
Rev. William A. Kolb
doubt is normal. The claims of faith are enormous and, by any reasonable
standard, should kindle in us confusion, questions, uncertainties
and doubts. Not that God wants to leave us there. But we have to
start the faith journey by being shaken free from old ways. That
process of newness happens again and again.
wanting to know God is far more important than thinking of oneself
as already having arrived. Faith is a journey, not a destination.
There is always more.
William Peter Blatty's book, The Exorcist, the young priest
who is called upon to perform a rare exorcism turns to a friend
and says, "But I have doubts." He clearly believes he
must have unshakable faith in the face of such an ordeal.
friend responds, "What thinking person does not have doubts?"
is what keeps us on the journey.
is funnywhen I search for answers to different questions,
I seem to return to the same sources. One simple verse that says
so many different things to me goes like this: "Ask, and
it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it
shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7). Among other things
this passage says to me that it is not
as important to know what you believe as it is to be on a journey
to discover what you
believe. God knows our hearts. If we are sincerely looking for
Him, we will find Him, and along the way we will discover His
like to think that we are always spiritually evolving. A forthright
approach to the mystery of faith involves a certain creative
tension. Everyone needs to discover his or her own comfort level
in terms of belief.