A few weeks ago I drafted a long-winded blog post about having an alternative take on my faith. (I was inspired when I read this article from The Huffington Post about one of the Pope’s declarations.)
I finished the book last month.
And if I’m completely honest, I thought that every word of it made sense.
(At this point, some of you will say,“So what?” Well…If you’re not very religious, you should know: To some, Rob Bell is a heretic. His book’s content does not fall in line with (conservative) Christian rhetoric. Love Wins emphasizes the idea of pursuing a faith focused on God’s love over condemnation. It was not well received in some circles. Hence, basically, by agreeing with Bell’s work, I realize that to certain people, I’m basically a heathen.)
Some people complain a lot about those who are disappointed with the church (aka organized religion). However, I think they need to be open to all of the reasons that people are turned off–and often choose to leave. There are those who become atheists or convert to other faiths. Yet there are also folks like me, who adopt a broader view of what they believe. For example, I still believe in God, and I pray. But I do not believe that my faith makes me superior to anyone else–religious or otherwise.
Quite frankly, conventional Christianity has left me weary of its over-reliance on an us-vs-them gospel.
Still, for conservatives, the “othering” of non-Christians is vital. This is one of the reasons that I think that some Christians reacted to Rob Bell’s work as they did. They’re protective of the ideas that he rejects.
Yet I don’t think Rob Bell’s work expressed anything truly blasphemous. In fact, he wrote what many of us do not have the courage to say aloud. As far as I can tell, people objected to the fact that Bell’s ideas pose a threat to the Christian establishment. They undermine a notion that a lot of folks’ faith is built on.
Hate. Fear. And being right in a world full of wrong.
A few weeks ago, I caught myself feeling…Bound by what I believe. I was wrestling with an issue. One sensation kept coming up, again and again.
I felt trapped.
I struggled with the usual demon–the sense of obligation that I’ve felt towards my faith. For years I’ve reluctantly accepted the fact that I was meant to endure negative tension between myself and…Life. I was having thoughts along those lines when I had an epiphany:
I can be as free as I want to be in my spirituality. Or, as strict. For better or worse, my path is mine to choose.
I’ve shared this piece so that you would know my spiritual status. However, it’s also here because I need to breathe.
I’m eager to address my fears these days. And I shouldn’t feel anxious about being honest about what makes me me.