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Friday, April 08, 2005


I've got to admit that I've been puzzled about the relative silence in response to my call for input on Damascus Road. Sometimes you write things where you think, "Now THIS is going to stimulate conversation!" And then there's just...

...silence. (shhh!)

Hmm... what does THAT mean, anyway?

Maybe it means nobody reads our site? We don't have a ton of traffic, but according to statcounter we average close to 50 people a day so that's probably not it.

Maybe it means that none of our readers are converts? Boy, I wish that was the case, but that's probably not it either (nothing against you Christians, but I think we'd all benefit if pagans outnumbered saints in these dialogues).

Maybe CM nailed it when he noted we probably all have pivot points, but we often never really see them at the time. Talking with Ryan about this very thing, we both realized that it's sometimes very difficult to put your finger on it. Most of us DON'T have dramatic experiences like Anne Lamott. Maybe it's only in hindsight that we realize "wow... look at how I've changed!"

Maybe there's some truth to Rick Richardson's statement in Evangelism Outside the Box that "Most people today do not 'decide' to believe. In community they 'discover' that they believe and then they decide to affirm that publicly...' (p. 100).

Maybe people just don't think about their Christian experience introspectively? (Kind of like when you ask your kids, 'Why did you push your sister down the stairs!?!?' and you get that deer in the headlights stare).

Maybe I'm just asking the wrong question altogether? Maybe I should be asking what makes it HARD to believe? Maybe I should ask what causes us to doubt? To struggle? To question whether or not God exists? To wonder how he can be for us? Maybe these are the types of things I should be asking.

Hmm...I think I will. So what causes you to question God? And what kind of answer could he give that would put those doubts to rest?

Now, while you ponder that, I'm going to set to work giving Charles the answer I promised him earlier this week, regarding the pivot points in my own life...


At 3:10 PM, April 09, 2005, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

Or maybe it's because it can take a stinkin' long time to write it out! I've been wanting to write the story of my spiritual journey for a long time, but I'll probably do it on my blog in installments...and that will have to wait until at least this summer.

At 1:58 AM, April 10, 2005, Blogger Steve F. said...

You can see the crisis points of my spiritual life - the bright points and the spiritual brownouts - on my blog in the "defining moment" posts.

When you ask, "What makes it hard to believe?", you can find one of my answers here. I still struggle whether coming to Chicago, only to be told I don't qualify for ministy, was (a) God's judgement on my sinful past, (b)just my own foolish pride (thinking I really had some sort of calling, when I didn't) and convincing otherwise-discerning folks that I was right; or (c) that I was supposed to come to Chicago for something, and not necessarily for seminary.

It's been a year - of depression, of resignation, of resentment and senses of failure. As Chris Rice wrote, "I'd take no for an answer, just to know I heard You speak."

I've seen the door close ....just wondering where the window is going to open....

At 3:41 PM, April 10, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Mark: Hey, we can wait (but we ARE interested!) :-)

Steve: thanks for your comments too! I have read some of your posts at Ragamuffin Ramblings and will continue to work through your "defining moments" - its interesting to hear you speak that way, because I seem to think of my own story in much the same terms.

The way your desires to pursue ministry have been frustrated really resonates with me - we spent 5+ years of our lives trying to "serve the Lord" vocationally, only to have one door after another slammed in our face. And we finally got to the point where we gave up and bagged it all and I just pursued software work (which I was very, very, good at).

And then we spent another 7 or 8 years getting frustrated with that. I can honestly say the worst part about Christian service is the Christians. After all, the Church is a whore...

I wish I had some nugget of wisdom to share (but it would probably just sound like a crappy platitude so I won't even try). I will tell you that I empathize with your experiences, and I wish there was an easier way. Somewhere in this mix, I am beginning to appreciate that God uses suffering to sharpen us, and that this is actually a good thing, part of what it means to be a Christian and to be shaped in his image (Phil 1:27).

I don't understand it fully, but I believe it and am gradually coming to embrace it (even though it still hurts).

In our case, God has been gracious and had taught us awful lot we never would have learned otherwise. After all these years, he is now finally bringing us back into a place where we actually hope to serve in ministry again.

I don't know whether that will be your story or not - but I know that God is good! Whatever else, cling to that truth! With you in the fight...

At 8:04 AM, April 11, 2005, Blogger Ainsley said...

I wrote it all out and then trashed it. I'll write it again, but It's hard to explain without feeling like I'm not doing it justice. I don't like the connotation of an "emotional" expereience, and it is quite emotional, but as I associate "emotional" with "fleeting" I would prefer to explain it well as a dialogue, instead of a post. We'll see what I come up with (if I get a moment to!)


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