How to Make Mencken a Christian

Turn doubt into fruit of the Spirit:

Doubt signals that this process of dying and rising is underway. Though God feels far away, at that moment God may be closer than we realize—especially if “know what you believe” is how we’re used to thinking of our faith.

Doubt isn’t cool, hipster, or chic. Doubt isn’t a new source of pride. Don’t go looking for doubt; don’t tempt it to arrive out of time. But neither is doubt the terrifying final word.

Doubt is sacred. Doubt is God’s instrument, will arrive in God’s time, and will come from unexpected places—places out of your control. And when it does, resist the fight-or-flight impulse. Pass through it—patiently, honestly, and courageously for however long it takes. True transformation takes time.

Being conscious of this process does not relieve the pain of doubt, but it may help circumnavigate our corrupted instinct, which is to fear doubt as the enemy to be slain. Rather, supported by people we trust not to judge us, we work on welcoming the process as a gift—which is hard to do when our entire life narrative is falling down around us. But we are learning in that season, as Qohelet did, to trust God anyway and not to trust our “correct” thinking about God.

Doubt is divine tough love. God means to have all of us, not just the surface, going-to-church, volunteering part. Not just the part people see, but the parts so buried no one sees them.
Not even us.

Imagine how great it must be to have faith.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make Mencken a Christian

  1. “Doubt is sacred.” A sterling example of how blogging is gutting religious writing of substance and turning it into the equivalent of amateur impressionistic painting. And how Peter Enns has essentially become a latter-day, less cryptic and non-musical version of expatriate Leslie Phillips. “You lock me up with your expectations.” OK, I know…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where’s doubt when you need it?

    Concerning violence in the Old Testament, in The Bible Tells Me So I put it this way: “God never told the Israelites to kill Canaanites. The Israelites believed that God told them to kill the Canaanites” (p. 54) or “God Let’s His Children Tell the Story” (p. 61).

    And Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead. Christians merely believed that God told them Jesus rose from the dead.

    Like

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