Talking through faith with someone who lost theirs
Hi Matthew. Perhaps you will get a notification for this but I don't expect you to respond. Yours was a great Spirit filled response to Tim. (Matt 11:25 comes to mind) Here's the line that jumped at me: " it's easier to come to faith young." I wonder if you could have written what you wrote to Tim having not been through your "great personal trial"- perhaps born again? (John 3:3 is essential) Think of Saul/Paul- coming to faith later in life ESPECIALLY when he had "much life and pain and as many intellectual defenses getting in the way" Our Father molded Paul to be what he became as it appears He is with you.
just reading this and i also see that your friend Tim passed away. i too hope he rediscovered the mystery and peace of faith in Christ and is with his Maker now. good on you Matt for encouraging him.
Beautiful essay, Matt! You might be interested in the French/American radical Peter Maurin: http://www.easyessays.org/
This is the column that compelled me to subscribe. Although I've enjoyed your fishing missives as well.
This aperçu seems relevant.
I like the pluralism of modernity; it doesn't threaten me or my faith. And if one's faith is dependent on being reinforced in every aspect of other people's lives, then it is a rather insecure faith, don't you think? -Andrew Sullivan, author and editor (b. 10 Aug 1963)
This is beautiful!
Jim Treacher says you are a better writer than he is. Today you proved it.
(P.S. I know the Graeter’s black raspberry chip that Tom loves so much. Hope you get the chance to try it one day.)
I struggle with my faith, mainly doubting that I don't have what it takes. I'm not perfect by a long shot and don't feel like I'm doing what's needed to address my short comings to grow closer to my god. It is good to hear about doubt from others. It gives me the boost I constantly need to stay in there pitching.
As someone who is also "between drinks" and a non-agnostic participant in my life long 12 step enlightenment, thank you for sharing your friendship.
Hey, Matt, another thoughtful and thought provoking piece; thank you. For what its worth, I believe that God has the final say on this belief business and when the question gets asked and answered. Not up to me, no matter what the Good Book or anyone else may say. To think any of us can know the mind of God is such human folly. And I wonder sometimes if some people haven’t been walking side by side with the Son himself without knowing His name. That must count for something, if not the whole deal. So, while I took all the required steps, said all the right words, try to do all the right things, I cannot see myself as any different than so many folks struggling to get through this life.
Why believe things for which we have no compelling evidence? The Pascalian argument falls flat on its face. If there is a god and if this god would judge your worth on whether or not you accept his existence on blind faith, why would or should you care? Fear?
In Catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
"Son, fear is the heart of love, " so I never went back
--- Benjamin Gibbard
The problem when we first accept a proposition without strong evidence is that it becomes easier to accept the next proposition without evidence. When these propositions are ones that we are already predisposed to believe it becomes easier still. At the bottom of that hill lie the ruins of Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain, Hitler's Germany.
Nothing is as consequential as what we are willing to accept as true.
Thanks so much to Matt for this column, for introducing Tom, and to all who have added to the discussion. Joyful, grateful bittersweet but overwhelmingly joyful tears. The world is a better place because of you all.
I feel like you could have done just as effectively without disrespecting women of a certain size. I like Tom after reading this, but I don’t care for your casual disregard of human dignity for 300-pound women.
Grace. His grace is always sufficient. No one is too too bad, evil, slack, uncaring, or otherwise too far gone to be beyond the reach of His grace. By the same token, no one is too good, nice, polite, caring, or sincere to not need this same grace. God, through his son Jesus Christ, loves us. Why He does is the real mystery.
Crisis of faith, periods of doubt, hardships of many kinds, sickness and death.. all part of our fallen human nature, and all truly painful, but His love for us is steadfast.
Thank you, keep this up and you'll be #5 on the list in not time!
I also liked the help in 'my unbelief'. I think we all struggle with doubt. For me, I've found doing works of service in the community has helped in my belief.
Keep it up
I love this piece Matt. Thanks so much. Like you, I was raised in the church, met my wife at church, and we're raising our kids through it. (Gotta drop my son off at church this afternoon for a kids' Bible study, in fact.) I even went to seminary.
But doubts creep in, and for each and every believer. Hey, even the Rolling Stones knew about Jesus' "moment of doubt and pain." Abraham doubted the Lord's power and grace. Moses had his moments. Elijah was pretty much suicidal, wondering why God had abandoned him. And these are the titans of the faith, right?
That's why, like you, Mark 9:24 is pretty much my favorite verse: It takes doubt seriously. It doesn't punish it, but in a way honors it. I've found such comfort in that little verse, usually overlooked, over the years. If the titans of the faith had their moments of doubt and pain (and even the Lord himself had some tough questions for his Father), then I feel much better about my immense imperfections.
Great minds think alike Matt... That Tennyson reference is great too. I actually have my copy of In Memoriam A.H.H. right next to me on my desk as I type, as I've been reading through it (verrrry slowly) in my free time. I'm only on Canto 70, so I skipped ahead. But I appreciate that reference.
Tom's lack of faith is really honest, and I respect that, very much. Disagree? Yeah, but I see where he's coming from. And needless to say Tom (if you're reading the comments), I'll pray for you and your family.
Thanks again Matt.
Good stuff, Matt. I have been following the Lord for almost 5 decades and never really come across a satisfactory answer to the issue of doubt. I'm guessing every believer with the willingness to look inside honestly has uttered those words..."help my unbelief." Jesus wasn't here long, and we have 4 fairly small accounts of His time here. Pinch the pages of the 4 Gospels together and it barely makes the size of a Jim Harrison novella...and 3 of the 4 are somewhat repetitive. So, I've always thought that if the writers put something in their brief record of His time, travels and sayings we should realize His Spirit inspired them to put it there for a very good reason....so that we would know, He understands.