I used to talk more about my faith. Funny, thing: these days I notice myself both hiding it, and hiding from it.
Truthfully, I've been in a cynical phase for a while.
I really am tired of "Christian stuff". This sounds bad, but I just can't listen to "ra ra Jesus", or all this "Christ in me" stuff. It's the Christian-ese that bugs me. The jargon we say that makes us sounds strong in faith. Very few people will admit to their doubts or their weaknesses in faith.
Since leaving Ireland, I have been blessed with a few non-Christian friends; Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and atheist. For most of my life in Ireland, I was ignorant to other beliefs and worldviews. But I was also mostly put-off religion. My parents were religious, and my dad, especially, could be described as literalistic and fundamentalist. You know, the "either-you-believe-in-God-OR-evolution" type.
But, as I told my theology class (when I did my Certificate of Theological Studies with Princeton University), I can honestly say that I have seen more of God in these non-Christian people than many who claim Christ as their saviour (not all, because I have also be blessed with many people who are Jesus-like).
Now, obviously, I try not to judge based on the "abuse" of Christianity, but I also need to acknowledge that to see true transformation "in Christ" is rare. And to go a step further (maybe too far for some), the Apostle Paul, annoys the c***p out of me. He sounds like such a know-it-all.
To those growing in relationship with God, it's disheartening;
To those seeking God, it can be totally off-putting.
Look, I have a deep desire for always seeking God, so I don't often struggle with my belief that there is a God.
What I struggle with is having to listen to the religious hot air people spout. What I struggle with is the inability of many Christians (myself included) to question God, question their church, and to question their own assumptions.
I realised that I've been avoiding talking about my faith because I was waiting for it to be "strong" again.
What if, "strength in faith" is just acknowledging weakness in faith? I mean, where are we placing our faith? In our ability to have faith, or in God to give us the strength of faith?
Sometimes I think we've created a measuring-stick out of acts of faith. Just the same as showing wealth by buying a Rolex or driving a flashy car, many Christians show off their sacrifices, "generousity", and offers of prayer to create the image they wish others to see. The image, perhaps, to turn their own eye away from their own failings.
And do you know what?
I bet a lot of it comes from a fear of being found out as a hypocrite, and/or judged as not Christian enough.
Yet, we're all hypocrites, and we all fall short of the righteousness of God. We all know this deep inside, yet we will never risk the shame of being fully human in front.
So much of what annoys me about relgious people is the lack of freedom to be, well, human. It's like, we feel we have to act like a saint because we feel imposter-syndrome for God seeing us as one when we receive His grace.
If we allowed for failure, and made it less threatening, then more people would have joy in their faith, and more people would likely seek a relationship with God (because they wouldn't assume they weren't worthy).
As long as we make the human appearances of faith "black and white", we are creating conditions to Grace that God never meant to be there.
I question my faith every day. Every time I pray, I wonder what the point is. Every time I see something terrible happen in the world, I wonder "what sort of God would allow it". Even if I have all the theological answers, I still give God the side-eye when this stuff happens.
Just had to say it.