I have always been proud to call myself a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), so much so that I branded myself with our chalice. I have always thought that it is most important for Christians to treat others the way Jesus did, to walk in His footsteps, to care for those around us, stand up for the right and call out the wrong. I’ve always described my faith as this: I believe that Jesus walked this earth, did amazing things and taught us the best way to live. I’ve had no problems in the past discussing biblical history or the meaning of certain scriptures with my pastors. But I’ve never been certain of Jesus’ divinity.
There’s a saying the goes around Facebook from time to time that says, “You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t determine right from wrong then you lack empathy, not religion.” A huge part of me agrees with this: anything I’ve ever done that others consider “good” or “a blessing” didn’t happen because of my faith, I did those things because I felt it was the right thing to do. If I hadn’t been a member of my church, I believe I would have eventually donated a kidney when I met someone in need. In the bigger issues of my life, I’ve never stopped to think WWJD? I may as well belong the church of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for all that I believe in. I believe in social justice over miracles and higher powers.
When confronted with scary or turbulent situations, occasionally I’ve stopped to pray about it, not because I expected an answer, but because so many people have told me how prayer helps them to calm down and focus. I get the same return from prayer as I do from meditation: a calmer breathing pattern and no clearer idea of how to proceed than when I started.
Though we live in a world that is so focused on instant gratification and immediate return, I grew up expecting things to take time to sort themselves out and I can’t remember a time I was ever told to “pray about it” until I was an adult. I’ve been told that prayer is a conversation with God, that we tell Him what we want, what we think we need, thank Him for what we have and then we wait… And we may never hear the answer. Some would say that if we don’t get what we asked for, that is our answer, because it wasn’t a part of God’s plan for us.
My cup of faith has been quite low lately. I get no clearer picture of what I am supposed to do or where I am supposed to be or who is supposed to be in my life whether I am purposeful in my faith practice or not. Attending church each week gives me no insight into whether or not I am on the right track. Taking communion each week doesn’t give me a feeling of forgiveness or oneness. And separating myself from the church has not changed my perceptions in any direction.
A part of me is concerned that I seem to have a less-than approach to my faith. I know that more-faithful people in my life would tell me I should dive deeper into my faith now more than ever. But another part of me just thinks “whatever.” I’ve never been good at evangelism and my explanation of my beliefs is not convincing enough to “bring someone to Christ.” My butt in a pew each Sunday isn’t changing anyone else’s life – or mine.
I’m just tired of being frustrated. If I’m not going to know anything about where my life is supposed to be, whether I identify as a Christian or not, whether I attend worship or not, whether I pray or not, what’s the point?