July 6, 2007

Crisis of Faith

Filed under: Pressing Toward the Mark,Taking Up Your Cross — Katryna Starks @ 1:05 pm

I’m taking a class at church about the changing culture and our role in it as Christians.  Traditonally, Christians treat non-Christians as “others” and try to evangelize them.  This class emphasizes finding common ground and building relationships rather than blunt evangelism.  In the last session, we had to get into groups and one of us had to ask a difficult question that a non-Christian may really ask, and the others had to answer.  My question was basically “See Darfur?  How can there be a loving God?”  Another guy had a question about why Christians are so non-chalant regarding global warming.  Another wondered about death.  As we talked about our subjects, I realized something.  Crisises of faith are a Godsend.

I know that most Christians would tell you that having a crisis of faith is the worst thing ever.  Once you become a Christian, doubting is no longer an option.  Just believe God in all things.  I get that.  It’s comforting.  But I have found that I end up closer to God when I allow myself a full-on faith crisis.  For instance, I have actually asked God what’s up with Darfur and how could he be loving and allow that to happen.  I have even wondered if he was really there at all.  Is this world and what we make of it really all there is. Does he see what’s going on there?  Does he care?  I mean, honestly, I really want to see someone get struck down by lightning over this!  I honestly wondered if I could worship someone who could let those things happen.

The thing is, I dared to question my faith and my worship of God because I know that my love for him is a choice.  Not that God isn’t worthy of my adoration, but I have to give it freely or it isn’t real.  I would rather ask God about Darfur and ask myself if I wanted to worship him with the world being in this state and him letting it happen, than to blindly give my devotion for no apparent reason.  I still love God and I have continued to love him through really difficult circumstances.  He has promised not to ever leave me, and I plan to stick around with him, too.  Oddly enough, my faith crisises force me to reason everything out and account for my faith in a way that blind devotion doesn’t, which ultimately brings me closer to God, not farther away.

So what does this have to do with evangelism?  A LOT.  When non-Christians ask us questions and we give some pat answer from “Church 101”, they know it’s fake.  I think the thing that bothers them about us is not so much that we believe, but that it seems as if we are so bent on the next life that we truly stop caring about this one.  It seems as if we don’t think about things like whether the war we are in is just, why things like Darfur happen and what we can do, or whether we should try to stop global warming.  I think they would listen to us more if we would actually allow ourselves to ask the question “where is God in all of this” and then allow him to answer.  It also helps to admit that we wrestle with that question and that sometimes God doesn’t answer and we just don’t know.  Non-Christians are people who don’t believe in Christ.  They aren’t stupid.  They aren’t children.  For the most part, neither are we.  We should be able to relate as adults and find some common ground.

You know what?  That faith crisis that non-Christians exist in and Christians avoid, where we ask “God, where are you?” is possibly the most common ground of all.

February 28, 2006

A Walk to Remember

Filed under: Gathering Together,Taking Up Your Cross — Katryna Starks @ 7:55 am

Every night, thousands of children in Uganda walk from their villages to the center of town and sleep on the ground to avoid being kidnapped. If they are found at home when the rebel army comes through, they will be taken. The boys will be tortured and forced to be soldiers. The girls will be forced to be worse. Because they have to disappear at night, they are called invisible children.
The documentary, Invisible Children, has been circulated around the country for the last year. Their story has been featured on news shows, and recently the CNN blog. To bring attention to their plight, on April 29th, thousands of Americans will go into our city centers and sleep for one night. It’s called the Global Night Commute. To learn more about the invisible children and find out how you can participat in the Global Night Commute, go to invisiblechildren.com.