further thoughts…

Questions that have been on my mind:

 

  • what is the purpose of church?  is it the same or different from the purpose of Christ?  
  • what does it mean, I mean, REALLY MEAN, to serve?
  • what is, really, salvation?  Is it possible to, as many churches would have you believe and do, save other people?  This prospect makes me uncomfortable, as I tend to think that is God’s job alone, but what is our role as fellow human beings?  What shape does salvation take in a life?  Is it feeling loved and wanted by others and by God?
  • How does one truly love one’s neighbor?
So yes, I know these are all big questions, but they have been on my mind, especially given my experience on Sunday with that church… the experience was so wrapped up in the needs and experience of the community that had already been welcomed (the insiders, if you will), which seemed so out of step with Christ that it made me wonder what the point of church is at all… because if it ain’t Christ, then what is it? Furthermore, who am I to judge where Christ is?  What if I am wrong?  Do I want to be a part of something that closes itself off and isolates itself from the real world?  Is that the kind of love that I would want to receive?  
So if you have any ideas or ruminations, I would love to hear them… these are big questions, and it is my suspicion, as with many things, that big questions are best wrangled with in community rather than alone, for it is in community that we face one another and open one another to our own experiences and form a more complete picture of how God might be working in our contexts.
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First post

Well, hello there. So this is my first post on what will potentially be an amazing journey, an attempt to begin to scratch the surface of the many thoughts, questions, and ponderings that have filled my mind over the past year or so. It may or may not be an easy journey, but I would prefer the difficulty over anything easy, for I think to reduce everything to an easy fight would be doing a disservice to the process of asking the questions in the first place.

So where am I? These days, I am a middler at Harvard Divinity School, in the process of becoming, I hope/think, a Presbyterian Minister of Word and Sacrament (Wow thats a mouthful). When I started here, I was convinced, no convicted, that this was indeed exactly where I was meant to be. I was certain of God, certain of my call, and certain that Harvard was where I was meant to be.

These days I am not so certain of anything. I find myself revolving around questions of inerrancy, of faith and of truth, questioning the things that I held most sacrosanct (or at least didn’t have the nerve to question) when I first got here. Harvard has really F’d with my mind, to say the least. I think part of the reason that I came here was because I was afraid of ‘seminary’; I wanted to be in a place that was safe, an intellectual haven where students didn’t just turn off their thinking caps when they talked about God. What I found out, though, is that here people rarely let their faithful side out of the box when it comes to classes. I found out quickly that bringing faith into the conversation here was dangerous, or if not dangerous then at the least it was not recommended. People were not interested in what you believed or what you felt about God; they valued instead what was intellectually of interest.

So I guess I got what I thought I wanted; only I am not sure that it is indeed what I set out to find. These days I find myself craving spiritual community more than ever, and it is all complicated by the fact that MA is anything BUT the land of Presbyterians. I have found community in two places, luckily. Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church has been a small but loving family for me, and I am indebted to them sincerely. The Boston Emergent Cohort has also filled a gap in my life, for it is a place that engages in the process of questioning and doubting and discerning what it means to believe in God while still holding the belief as valid. I don’t think that I would be as happy or content as I am without them.

But I still find myself seeking desperately for answers. I want to feel, as Augustine said, that “God is deeper in me than I am in myself,” and that God knows me intimately and is with me always. But I also can’t help but ask if I am not just conditioned to believe that. How do I know that I have a true faith? What is a true faith at all, anyways? To what extent are these questions beneficent? I end up going in circles, asking questions just because I can, and discovering that the conclusions that logically follow are not conclusions I anticipated, or that they sit well with my understanding of the world but don’t sit well with my heart.

Hopefully I can begin to sort some of this out here in this blog. Or maybe not. But if nothing else, I hope that I can remain convicted that the journey is worth it, even if the end is no where in sight.

*sigh*.