This post is the fifth in a series on Losing Faith. All previous posts can be seen HERE, if context might prove helpful.
Somewhere near the end of our time overseas, we were home to visit. I must have been expressing some aspect of my changing perceptions on the Christian life. My slightly-older, significantly-wiser friend responded with a question.
The term felt awkwardly unfamiliar upon my ears, and my face must have said so. He clarified.
“You don’t believe the gifts of the Spirit ended with the New Testament, do you?”
For the first time, my mouth stated with my spirit had long sensed.
“No, I guess I don’t.”
This confession surely sent a unseen tremor through my tightly-wrapped-in-rationalism faith—a suspect form of faith, if there ever was one.
A Spiritual Sprinkling
Far more recently, it has dawned on me that my past version of a “Christian worldview” was actually a thoroughly naturalistic view, with a side order of God. According to Wikipedia, “naturalism commonly refers to the viewpoint that laws of nature (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe.”
My particular version of naturalism was more personal in nature than Wikipedia’s. I have always been suspect of evolution as an adequate theory of how life originated, and I have long voiced that life’s richest realms are (relationships, art, love, dreams, morality, emotions, and more) fall somewhere beyond the horizons reached by verifiable facts.
My naturalism was a mutant.
I was convinced enough that God was real that He HAD to be part of my diagram, but I had no idea how to position the I AM within my tidy sketch. So I simply placed Him on the fringe, where He wouldn’t mix up the other pieces.
And He had grown tired of that treatment.
Breaking Me by Breaking Free
In short, I have been forced, by a growing list of experiences and encounters, to acknowledge that my largely logical and rooted-in-reason approach to life is an insufficient processor for the reality in which I live. Its substance is too superficial, and it lacks the weight to grapple with life as I now know it. My former framework held fast so long as God respected my boundaries and operated within the office I had set up for Him. When He began to interact intimately with me and to surprise me through the lives of better-tuned instruments than myself, profound paradox unfolded. Logic imploded upon itself, as I was forced to admit my irrational inconsistencies, surely ever-present but now painfully exposed.
God of the Emoticon
In light of recent revelation, it would be intellectually irresponsible to insist upon the validity of my long-held worldview.
God has revealed Himself as undeniably present. In a shocking twist, the Supernatural invaded my naturalistic worldview, the world view that handed Him a long list of all He could not do.
In response, He has broken the door’s hinges with a one-line declaration: “Your naturalistic view is not nearly naturalistic enough, for it fails to handle life as you now know it. You will recalibrate, or your head will blow up and your spirit will bellow against you. But it’s your choice, right? Because you’re so in charge of what’s real and what’s not. ;-)”
(Yes, God used a winky emoticon.)
Imagine the unsettling nerve!
God showed up in ways that I could not explain and began threatening a cozy worldview, which had safe—and harmless—spots reserved for Him.
I have not simply lost my long-held faith; it was ripped from my hands!