The following quote from Kathleen Norris captures the spirit of The Sacredness of Questioning Everything (David Dark), the book we studied this past fall in our Monday evening study, as well as that of Kathy Escobar’s book, Faith Shift, which we studied in the summer of 2015:
It’s a balancing act: to recognize the blessings, even the ones that come well disguised, in the form of difficult relatives who have given you false images of Jesus with which you must contend. And it means naming and exorcising the curses—not cursing the people themselves, who may have left you stranded with a boogeyman God, but cleansing oneself of the damage that was done. The temptation to simply reject what we can’t handle is always there; but it means becoming stuck in a perpetual adolescence, a perpetual seeking for something, anything, that doesn’t lead us back to where we came from.
Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace, p.25. Quote courtesy of the daily asterisk, 16 Dec 2016.
A lot of what we talk about at Campus Edge, especially in our studies, has the goal of helping people mature in faith. I would argue that maturing in the faith means moving beyond a simplistic understanding of faith, while still holding on to the good that we’ve already learned about faith. It means believing the Sunday school adage that Jesus really loves me, while also growing to see the Bible as more than Sunday school stories that teach me to be nice like Jesus, David, Esther, Mary, Peter, etc.
Our upcoming study on Elijah and Elisha – where we look again at stories many of us heard in Sunday school – show us that Elijah and Elisha were hardly nice (the mauling by the bears in 2 Kings 2:23-35 being just one example) and yet God chose to work through these complicated people to accomplish his purpose.
As our lives become more complicated, we need both the simple truths that are taught in Sunday school alongside of knowledge of the complicated stories found in the whole Bible and a picture of God that is more complex than we might at times be comfortable with.