Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Collecting Manna: Nadia Bolz-Weber

The killer conclusion to a killer sermon preached by my future internship supervisor (full text here):

...sometime doubting isn’t the opposite of having faith…it’s a component of having faith. Doubting can mean that we haven’t forgotten the story. Doubting means that we don’t have it figured out all on our own and the best thing about doubt is that at least it’s honest. So if that’s where you are…if you are a doubter like me, then it’s ok but you should be prepared for something. It’s a thing I never hear people in the church talk about but I know it exists because I experience it all the time: it’s called tests of doubt…not a tests of faith…but tests of doubt. And you should probably watch out for them.

See, when I was sure that this whole Jesus thing had nothing to offer me – when I had been so alienated by conservative Christianity and so clear about my dislike for organized religion… when I thought I had unwavering rock solid doubt, I wandered into a church that challenged all my certainties I had about the Christian faith. It was my great crisis of doubt. When I was welcomed into a little Lutheran parish in Oakland California and was so freely given absolution and Gospel and a literal chunk of bread which I was told was Jesus and that it was for me I slowly began to lose my doubt. So watch out for this brothers and sisters. watch out. Because I don’t think that faith is the biggest threat to doubt, the biggest threat to doubt a barging in God revealed in Christ.

So if you would like to protect your doubt I suggest keeping your distance from the following: avoid People who have heard the Gospel and actually live as though it’s true, avoid receiving the Eucharist or receiving forgiveness or receiving strangers and by all means don’t sing hymns for they are most dangerous. Politely say “no thank you”

But know this: whether doubt is something that you fear or something that you foster be prepared for it to be tested again and again by this God who rudely barges into your locked doors and offers you peace and breath and spirit and then sends you out to do the same for the world God loves enough to keep saying yes to all of it’s no thank yous.

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