When my son was three years old and learning to ride a tricycle, he ran into a retaining wall, repeatedly. I turned the steering wheel so he would go away from the wall, but he got mad. He wanted to figure it out for himself. Allowing my son to keep hitting the wall gave him the opportunity to learn. He didn’t want a quick and easy solution.
There’s a problem in having quick and easy answers in Christianity. It steals the opportunity for personal wrestling and personal growth. There is an old Hebrew tradition of putting students in groups of four. Then the students are encouraged to wrestle with one another.
Today, I’m looking at a rule in Christian communities, or faith law, that needs to be broken. Jacqueline Bussie in Outlaw Christian describes an unwritten rule:
Law #3: Never question.
In the American culture we value people who are certain in their faith. While this can be inspiring, it hinders the spiritual growth process. Could it be that the unwritten Christian rule, Never question, is more a reflection of American values rather than Christian values? Jacqueline Bussie writes:
The time has long since passed for these unwritten rules to be debunked, challenged, and condemned the way the FDA banned the toxic Red Dye No. 2 in the ’70s. It’s time for Christians— and anyone else who wants to join us— to become outlaws, because these fabricated laws are killing us softly. Jacqueline Bussie in Outlaw Christian
What happens when you hold a question inside and aren’t given the freedom to wrestle? Is it toxic for your system? Is it dishonest? What happens when you are not free to voice what is inside? It can kill you softly.
A little 12-year-old boy got kicked out of the Catholic Church catechism. He was full of questions. His wasn’t satisfied with the pat answers. He followed up the answers with more questions. After a few days, the nuns asked him to leave. True story. How many people are leaving church (or asked to leave) because they aren’t allowed to wrestle? And quick answers don’t satisfy.
When we don’t let people within Christianity critique Christianity or talk about the stuff within it that baffles or hurts them, they will just walk away. Jacqueline Bussie in Outlaw Christian
In church, when all we hear are people who have fantastic stories of overcoming and never hear stories of suffering and wrestling, we unwittingly communicate that all people are expected to be at the end of the process, to have “arrived.” Those who are still in the middle of growing pains feel as if there is something wrong with them. There is a difference between the beginning, the middle and the end. Not everyone has come to the triumphal end. In fact, the Christian church is right in the middle of transformation and it feels like chaos. This is right where we should be because you can’t go from the old to the new without the middle section of chaos.
©2017 Belinda Perez McDanel