Over the last year, I have been on a journey that is best expressed by the statement, “I Don’t Know.” At the beginning of 2005, I was part of a group of people that was attempting to launch a ministry called, “The Gathering”. We wanted to create a faith community that would have the ability to dialogue about faith, ask questions and create a community that had the ability to change the perspective about Jesus to people outside the “Church”. The word “Church” being defined as the institution that is best known for meeting on Sunday mornings in a building and carries a number of stereotypes by the general public who are outside its walls. We received some opposition as we were asking questions about certain Christian traditions and theological beliefs, to determine what values the Gathering would allow to define itself.
I was returning from a great trip of serving alongside 30 students for a week in the inner city of
“I Don’t Know” is the only phrase that can express my personal emotions at this time. My parents have been married for over 40 years. I am a pastor and I help lead a faith based organization that is helping urban leaders around the country. My wife wanted a divorce. I had no logical reasoning for this in my life. If my current theological struggles would end my life. This would definitely end my life. We have two kids. I have worked for the last 10 years with young people from divorced families and never thought my children would have to deal with this experience. “I Don’t Know” was my thought. I beat myself up for a number of months on the inside. I tried to change my wife’s mind, but this seemed hopeless. She filed for a divorce, and becasue of other circumstances that I will leave out of this, I finally realized that their was no longer any hope to turn the ship. “I Don’t Know” was the continual thought of the long term affects on my life, my children and the other people who I love. I was so uneasy with “I Don’t Know” as my realty. As a pastor and a spiritual leader in the lives of many people, I directed them to stay close to the person of Christ and their community of faith to help them overcome the obstacles that life can force us to face.
But let me jump back to my faith questions, my wife was the person I felt comfortable discussing these issues with. I felt safe. I felt that she was the only person that could allow me to struggle with these questions and doubts and not feel like she had to give me an answer. Anytime I expressed any question or doubt about my conservative view of faith, she did not attempt to give me answers to the questions but allowed me to wonder for awhile in the question. It is now a new year, I will never forget 2005. It has changed my life forever.
I am now back to my theological questions. I am back to struggling to understand what the Bible says on certain issues. I want to question things and I do not want safe answers that allow me to go back in a cave. I have reconnected with life long friends. Jose, Johnny, Dio, Chris, Larry, Hector, Juan, and others who are truly life long friends. They love me unconditionally. When I was in the middle of this personal crisis, I received phone call after phone call. The word had got out in
As we began to catch up on life, they did not give me any answers to my theological questions, but carved more questions. We do not talk about faith much, but every once in awhile we will engage in some spiritual conversations. These conversations at first frustrated me, because they do not think about faith in a “conservative theological” way. They have never taken classes from Dr. Saucy or Walt Russell at Talbot Theological Seminary. They have no systematic theological stance. They have no idea if they are liberal or conservative. But I know they love me and I love them.
Over the last two months, I have begun to read again. The statement, “I Don’t Know” is where I land again. But now that includes my personal life… do I begin to date, do I stay single for life, will my boys survive this experience, how do I interact with my ex- and many more personal questions that I could list but you may not care about. But like back in April, “I Don’t Know” is what I believe about many theological positions, but I am ready to move forward to wrestle with these questions. The good thing that I do know is that God loves me and Jesus is the full expression of this love and I will allow these questions to be answered in this reality. I just finished a chapter called, “I Don’t Know” in The Last Word and The Word After That by Brian McClaren. The chapter challenged me on some issues and to possibly be ok with, “I Don’t Know” as the conclusion. It was a freeing thought, especially like I stated in my first BLOG that kade and evan are not very interested in these questions and I think my wife (or whatever i am suppose to call her) is not too interested in hearing these questions either. If this ends up on my BLOG, I am not sure if I will post it or not. It is to allow my community that I love that includes people from the Gathering, UYWI and