This is the seventh post in a series called “Losing Faith”. All posts can be viewed HERE.
As mentioned in the first post of this series, it was a blogging friend who originally dispatched this train of thought for me. He observed how travel had played a part in the unraveling of a faith he once held.
I would echo that sentiment with an alternate angle.
TREASURE OF TRAVEL
Exposure to faraway lands and interactions with the folks of those places have led me to lose much of my faith as well—particularly faith in my culture, in popular Western thought, and more specifically in myself. However, those undoings only served to intensify my felt need for some form of Anchor, some Foundation upon which to construct.
There is a special pleasure to deconstruction. Who has ever carried a tool more fun than a sledgehammer? But at some point, there is need for some skilled builder to enter the scene. Creating rubble is fun, but it hardly provides a place to live.
This is my metaphor. others can grasp at their own well-fitted images. But for me, this is glove-like.
For I love to play the cynic more than most. To feign enlightenment through critique, this is the safe and satisfying life of the skeptic.
At least, it is until it isn’t.
Safe or satisfying.
My travel experiences and other life-tastes have at times fed that cynical, skeptical streak with a fresh spread of questions and rebukes toward the status quo that had both nurtured me and numbed me up to that point. Some of this caused me to grow; some just caused me to grump.
When it comes to religion, Christianity in particular, I often chuckle. I can recall a handful of conversations where speakers in attack mode unveiled their “faith-destroyers” to me. Typically, these “questions” ended with periods, rather than question marks. But punctuation aside, the tone carried a whiff of superiority silently declaring that the statement being made was surely news to me, and perhaps everyone else who ever “mindlessly” fallen into faith. In fact, it appeared certain to at least one in the room that surely no human in history had ever formulated this ground-breaking assessment of reality.
Now to be sure, I learn things every day, from sources and angles of every sort. But these types of encounter cause my chuckle to rise because they suppose shallowness. To discover that my feet touch the sand on the bottom hardly means that I’ve plumbed the depths of the sea. It merely means I can touch where I am. To crucify Christianity for its smallness when the “great big world” enlightens is one form of losing faith. To move my feet in pursuit of deeper and purer waters was mine.
Though I didn’t foresee the amount of seawater I’d have to swallow along the way!
I SAY THAT TO SAY THIS
I can state with confidence that the faith I have lost along the way was a small faith. Perhaps that is exactly why I lost it. It is easier to lose coins than cars.
In exchange for my feather-weight faith, heavy on its need for certainty and control, I am receiving a more substantial faith, rooted in dependence upon the eternal Spirit of God and a recognition of my need to keep step with Him. This need is driven by neither fear nor threat, but by the simple recognition that moving out of rhythm with the beat that drives the universe is clumsy and costly. I would rather sync myself to sink myself into the groove awaiting those whose stride is guided by the All-of-Life-Giver.
I hate losing things. Misplacing keys or phone drives me almost mad. Part of that is driven by the fact that I am typically very careful with my things, seldom losing track. So when I do, it cracks my composure. Losing my faith, even the small version, has felt like that. It had grown dear to me; it was worn and comfortable from years of use.
But it no longer fit.
Perhaps it never did.