How Doubt Helps Me Be Teachable

In Outlaw Christian, Jacqueline A. Bussie says that the Christian church has an unwritten rule about doubt.

Law #2: Don’t doubt. Doubt is faith’s opposite, and is therefore sinful.

Bussie writes, “Why do the faith-laws prohibit doubt? Probably because doubt is a confession of our uncertainty. Uncertainty is shameful— a sign of ignorance. Ignorance is weakness, and all weakness is bad. Therefore, doubt is shameful and weak. Certainty, on the other hand, makes us feel comfortable, fearless, in control, and self-sufficient.”

Couple Hiking ca. 1980s-1990sChristianity is a journey. It has ups and downs. Along the way, there is increased growth in several areas, but comfort, control and self-sufficiency are not among them.

Three thoughts about doubt.

  1. It’s honest.
  2. It leaves room for mystery and paradox.
  3. It’s essential to the process of thinking deeply.

I want a relationship with God that is honest, even raw, in which I don’t need an answer for every mystery. In fact, I want words that let me wrestle with paradoxes and yet hold on to a strong faith. When I come to God, I want to think. I don’t just accept what people say or what people think the Bible says. I want to doubt.

It’s not that I doubt God, rather I doubt people’s assumptions about God and church. I even doubt my own assumptions. I hold my own understanding loosely, so that I remain teachable.

clock-1253098_1920The church is going through a transition; some call it a Reformation. More and more people are leaving the organized church. I wonder if this move is from a desire for more authentic faith, not less. The old ways of thinking and interpretation may not serve us now. During this transition, we will experience a lot of change:

The essence of my philosophy regarding change is this:

  1. Change takes you to a place you have never been before.
  2. Assume that what you know may not serve you in the new place.
  3. Being humble and teachable is the only way to explore the new.
  4. If you don’t become pliable, you might miss the new move of God.

Doubt is especially useful when you are going through a transition. My heart longs for change. I want to welcome the new move of God, so I doubt. Where we have been in the last 50 to 500 years may not serve us now.

People who doubt are seekers. Certainty’s pitfall is that it can close us off from the views of other people, sometimes even to the point of being unable to listen to them. Jacqueline A. Bussie

A refreshing wind is blowing through people of faith. A sensible discontentment is growing among us mixed with anticipation and excitement.

Change is coming.

A refreshing wind is blowing away the shadows and revealing a grotesque and toxic infrastructure. More than ever we need to question our assumptions.

Leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think.

©2017 Belinda Perez McDanel

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