Home on the Road…

About two years ago, a church I was a part of closed the doors and moved on to other things. Well, actually, we sold the building to another church and several members still attend, but for the most part, what we had with Calvary Fellowship is over. At the time that everything came to a close, I was somewhat numb to it all; I didn’t really feel the pain of the loss until some months later. It wasn’t until this past week, the beginning of my seminary career with George Fox, that I was able to figure out why.

At Calvary, I had a strong family of believers. They cared about what I was doing, where I was going, and, most importantly, how I was doing. It was a place where I felt more than known; I felt loved. In the months leading up to the closure, I knew that I would still be in communication with many of the members, so the family aspect wouldn’t really leave. What I didn’t know, though, was how much I’d miss the intellectual environment that Calvary also was.

Not everyone who went their was interested in theology. In fact, most people cared more about football than theology, which was totally fine. I love football. But what I loved about the atmosphere is that even if they didn’t give theology much thought, they wouldn’t think less of you if you happened to believe in something they didn’t. More often than not, they really wanted to hear what you had to say not because they were going to argue with you, but because they were interested in how you processed your thoughts. They were interested in how you interacted with Jesus with your mind.

Calvary Fellowship was a place where I felt safe to think in ways I hadn’t thought before. I doubt very much that I was thinking in ways that had never been thought before, but I knew I hadn’t done the intellectual exercises. When Calvary closed, I think I lost that safe place.

Sure, I was still meeting up once every other week with one of Calvary’s former pastors, but because both our schedules grew busier and busier, neither of us were able to spend as much time as we used to in studying Scripture the way we did at Calvary. We couldn’t have the classes that Danny taught, which beckoned us to see Scripture – and thereby see Jesus – through a different lens. We didn’t have the sermons that promoted communal involvement above communal self-righteousness. And we simply didn’t have as much fervor as we used to.

In the year between Calvary and Emmaus, I struggled to remain engaged with God on an intellectual level. Some might see this as a good thing because intellectualism is a bad thing anyway. But Jesus was clear; we’re to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And Jesus was very deliberate with His words.

Flash forward to a week ago, I was attending my first seminary class. And as I listened to my classmates’ questions and heard little tidbits about their experiences in communities where asking questions is almost shameful, I knew that I picked the right school. I knew that commuting for the first two days of class was worth it. And I know, full well, that I have found a home in seminary.

During each of my three classes yesterday, the professors took a moment to remind the class what George Fox is really all about: formation. One professor said that we could memorize all the answers, get nothing but perfect grades on the tests, but if we don’t emerge from this program formed more like Christ, then we didn’t achieve what George Fox’s primary goal is. The only time I’ve heard a similar message was when I was sitting in the pews at Calvary, listening to Danny share a story about Jesus.

Learning about God has less to do with answers and more to do with questions. When we’re given an answer, we don’t seek anymore. We don’t explore. We don’t put ourselves in a vulnerable position to trust God. We become one of the eleven disciples who stayed on the boat when Peter stepped off. But if we’re given questions, if our curiosity is piqued in some significant way, then we seek. We step out of our comfort zone of “knowing” and walk on the water toward Jesus.

Jesus said that if we seek, we will find. But He never said that how long it’d be before we found that which we sought. In our generation of instant downloads and live-streaming, we’ve grown to expect things immediately. So when we ask God a question, we expect an immediate answer. But God doesn’t work like Google; He doesn’t give us links to instant downloads of love, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. Instead, He gives us a map of a journey we’re supposed to take in order to develop all those things.

George Fox Seminary is my map because it is a place where I am free to explore, free to step off the boat and walk toward Jesus.

What’s your map?

God bless.

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A Lesson in Loyalty…

Two years ago today, Calvary Fellowship was my church home. We had grown smaller than previous years, but closer as well. Thinking back to the years when we had two services every Sunday and then something going on Wednesday nights, having a smaller body was actually a benefit. Maybe I’m different, but I feel as though I grew more as a person in the last two years of Calvary than I ever would have if the larger numbers were still present.

What has really changed for me, though, is my involvement with my church community apart from Sundays. Back then, I felt as though I had to defend why I continued to go to Calvary or even listened to Danny O’Neil’s preaching. My faith didn’t revolve around self-defense, but it was a large part to how I communicated my thoughts and feelings about Danny and Calvary. It’s different now because I don’t have the same pressures I had back then.

I don’t have friends asking me why I still go there or pastors telling me that if it were them, they would have left. In a way, I don’t have the same distractions I had back then; I’m able to soak in the church experience for all that it is, all that it should be, and leave behind the religious garbage. Not to say that that is how I think of Calvary nowadays, but to say it was a unique challenge that the people of Calvary Fellowship had to work with. Emmaus Life doesn’t have that element. We’ve got all new people and all new challenges.

What sparked this whole reflection of what life was like two years ago was – surprise, surprise – an episode of The West Wing. Near the middle of season three, Leo McGarry (President Bartlet’s Chief of Staff) was subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as to whether or not the President deceived the nation by not disclosing his disease, multiple sclerosis. After the first part of McGarry’s testimony (it was two parts due to a pause issued by the director the committee), he was offered a deal; his testimony along with the testimonies of every Bartlet staff member would be forgotten in exchange for a censure (official public reprimand) of President Bartlet.

All of this is to set the stage before what Leo did. He said no. He said that he takes bullets for the President; not the other way around.

What I saw and felt in that moment was a sense of loyalty, a sense of relentless commitment, to a leader. It was the same feeling I had whenever someone talked about Danny’s beliefs or how Calvary Fellowship was a misguided church or whatever other rumor was floating around. In those days, not even a full two years ago, my loyalty was put to the test. It was a large element in my church experience. Not having my loyalty to friends and family tested is kind of refreshing.

Bear in mind that, back then, I did not see it as my loyalty being tested; but rather a friend – and by extension my entire church family – being maligned. Rumors, gossip, slander all destroy a church body and I didn’t want that to happen to Calvary. The church closed, sure, but it wasn’t because we were divided. In fact, in those last years and months, I think we were more united than ever before.

And I think it was because, as McGarry saw President Bartlet, Danny and his family were (and still are – I’m just describing how we saw them back then) worth taking a bullet for. Heck, they’re worth dying for. Why is that? Because, if you actually got to know them (and you still can), they’re a Godly family.

Thinking back on it now, we were kind of spoiled at Calvary. We had a team of pastors who were above reproach – not caught up in some secret, sinful lifestyle – and they were all following Danny’s lead. I mean, how many pastors resign because of an addiction they’ve been keeping secret? How many pastors take the Gospel and make it about success, possessions, and material blessing? How many pastors take their platform and make it about themselves, their books, and their whole agendas? God blessed us with the O’Neils at Calvary. And if I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Adjusting, though, is still difficult. Those of you who know me personally know that I tend to be an argumentative person – even though I’m wrong quite a few times (maybe most…) – so not having someone to defend, someone to argue in favor of, takes a little getting-used to. But I have been blessed immensely again with Emmaus Life and the Lambs.

Once again I have a pastor who’s above reproach; probably makes mistakes here and there (I say “probably” because I lack evidence), but there’s no secret sin. There’s no agenda he’s trying to promote; no book of his that he’s trying to sell. None of that garbage. He’s simply a guy following God.

And yet, I have to attribute my appreciation for Emmaus Life to my lesson in loyalty at Calvary. Another way of putting is to say that I would not cling so quickly to what we have with Emmaus Life if it had not been for what I went through with Calvary. I wouldn’t have learned that to be loyal to someone or a group of people isn’t defined by what that person or group is against, but rather what they’re for. And what Calvary was for and Emmaus Life is for is real, genuine life. Such a thing can only come when all pretentions and facades are cast aside.

My encouragement is this: Be loyal.

Be loyal to your spouse, family, pastor, church, and even your coworkers. Practice loyalty because in our day, it’s so easy to jump ship. It’s so easy to have a “new favorite.” It’s so easy to have a new pastor, church, job, etc., instead of sticking with somebody for the long-haul.

Life with Jesus is an endurance race. Staying the course oftentimes means running with the same group of people for a while – even a long while.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” – John 15:13

May we all experience such a depth of loyalty.

God bless.

P.S. Leaving a church does not necessarily make you disloyal; many who left Calvary left for the right reasons (weren’t being fed, felt called to a different city or church, etc.). I don’t wish to throw anyone under any bus; I wish only to say that loyalty is worth it.

Running With Jesus+…

In case you’ve missed my recent Tweets and Facebook posts, I bought a Nike+ Running Sport Band. Just like all Nike products, these things make you feel like a professional athlete. This one specifically, however, tracks each run you make by distance, pace, time, and it even tracks the calories you’ve burned. On top of all of this, each run you post on your Nike+ Running profile gets broadcasted on Facebook or Twitter. So now people will know that I’m not kidding about my frequent, Olympic-like runs.

After posting my second run, I got to thinking what it’d be like if there were a device to track our walks with Jesus – a Jesus+ Spirit Band? What would it be like if I could see the exact moments where I was running at a consistent pace and the moments where I slowed down or even tripped up? What would it be like to see – after posting so many spiritual runs and workouts – the overall progress I’ve made since I started running? Honestly, I think I might be impressed by what I’d see. But I don’t think God would be.

God isn’t disappointed in me (or really in any of us); He simply aims higher when it comes to setting the bar. While we seek to minimize our mistakes, He seeks to make us incapable of mistakes. His work will not be complete until our sinful selves have given way to our spiritual selves – until the old wine is tossed out with the old wineskin and replaced with new wine in a new wineskin. Until faith becomes sight, God will not be content with His creation.

How, then, could we ever know if we’re making progress? Shouldn’t there be some kind of validation – even from God – that says we’re doing a certain thing right? This is where we discover that something like a Jesus+ band that tracks the individual’s progress isn’t needed. It wouldn’t be needed because there’s this thing called the church – followers of The Way, God’s people, Christ’s body. In other words, we don’t need a bracelet to tell us we’re doing something right or wrong; we’ve got running buddies. We have brothers and sisters to keep us on track, to help us keep a steady pace, and to help us continue to the very end – to endure the entire race, not just the first leg of it.

A Jesus+ Spirit Band would be useless for yet another reason: God’s focused on what’s before us, not what’s behind. Yes, seeing our overall progress would allow us to see the moments we did things God’s way and were faithful. But it would also force us to see the moments we dropped out – the moments we decided to run at our own pace or not run at all. It would force us to remember our sins. Of course, we already do, but if it was put to a chart we’d see just how damaging that sin was at that point in our lives. And it might revive the guilt and shame that God had worked very hard to extract with His grace. We’d either react by running faster at our own pace – never to again make those same mistakes. Or we’d react by walking away because we had lost all hope.

God does want not us to dwell on the past to improve our futures. Or, to put it in a way my old pastor (Danny O’Neil) once did, you cannot drive a tractor in a straight line by looking behind you. You pick a target in front of you – way in front of you. Jesus and His perfection – the way He lived His life in constant, unwavering faith – is our target. We run to Him and we don’t stop until we get there.

If we aim for an imaginary perfect version of ourselves, we’ll fail at reaching God’s goal every time – even if we succeed at perfecting ourselves to our standards. For God’s standard is much higher than we could ever reach on our own. And if we aim at His standard (Jesus); if we align our thoughts to His, our language to His, our intentions to His, our attitudes to His; and if we run at the pace He sets rather than our own, then we will be so focused on what’s before us that we won’t remember the things behind.

“By your endurance you will gain your lives,” – Jesus in Luke 21:19

God bless.

Reflections of a Ten Year-Old…

Believe it or not, I’m only ten years old as a follower of Christ (baptized May 12th, 2002). Yes, I understand that years do not really equate to spiritual maturity (neither positively nor negatively), but it feels strange to me that I’ve only been a practicing Christian for the past ten years. It feels much longer.

I’m in a very weird spot in my tenth year of Christianity – spiritually speaking anyway. Actually, I’m in a weird spot in life also; I have a degree and two jobs, but I know I want something more – I just don’t know what “it” is. But regarding my spiritual life, I have no home church. In the previous nine years, this was never the case.

Of course, it runs much deeper than simply not having a home church; I’m still getting over the changes made with the last church I was a part of (Calvary Fellowship). I still wish my old pastor was in town and preaching. I still wish I was helping with the leadership staff. And I still wish I was able to discuss theology so openly.

It’s not that every church I’ve gone to in the past five and a half months doesn’t discuss theology; it’s simply that I’m nervous about discussing controversial issues. The things I’d like to discuss might make everyone else nervous because it might be attacking the very foundation of their beliefs. And yet I’m eager to break it open and talk about it. I just no longer have the atmosphere I had with Danny and Calvary Fellowship.

Even though I feel as if I don’t have a home, I must reconsider what I’ve learned in the past ten years – if anything at all. I must reconsider what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God rather than one specific church. I must reconsider how that identity then affects my life in this world (politically, socially, and economically). And I must reconsider what this race we run is all about – speed or endurance? Because if I take a look back at the bare roots of my faith, finding a church home where I feel safe and secure isn’t one of those roots. If anything, my faith is rooted in something – Someone – that makes me rather uncomfortable as a human.

Being a part of God’s kingdom means we’re using our time differently – seeking truth and understanding rather than the “right” answers. It means we’re using our money differently – recognizing first and foremost that it isn’t ours to begin with, and then stewarding it wherever we believe God would be most glorified in. And it also means we’re living our social lives much differently – not seeking popularity, but instead a Godly reputation.

Once we’ve adjusted our social lives, we find we’re thrust right into difficult discussions in the political realm with subjects such as gay marriage, abortion, and fiscal responsibility. And we’re allowed to ignore none of these issues regardless of how many enemies we create with whichever direction we cast our vote. Beyond this we’re asked to do something even more challenging: Love those who hate us.

And after all the aspects of our lives are reconsidered – and all the changes we’re asked to make understood – we then arrive to the most difficult part of being a Christian: Continuing. Going the distance. Persisting. Remaining steadfast. Enduring. And no, I don’t mean keeping a church-attendance-streak going for several years; I mean continuing to love others as God has loved us. I mean continuing to show gays, Muslims, Democrats, librarians, officers, lawyers, stock brokers, baristas, hippies, KKK members, AARP members, and even that driver who cut you off while flipping you off a continuous and unending love and friendship. It’s the kind that God has given us life with.

What I’ve often noticed about myself in my walk is that I like to make small goals. I fast for so long or I pray for so long or I commit to a devotional for so long, etc. And yet what Christ teaches us is more than a periodical commitment: It’s a life-long commitment. It’s not enough to commit so much of my time, so much of my talent, so much of my money, or so much of energy to loving God and loving others for a certain extent of time. It’s enough when God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

If all of this is what I’ve learned in the past ten years, then I think I’m doing okay for being without a home church. Not to say that I’m not making mistakes or that I don’t need improvement, but to say that I think I’m still on the right track with God. It isn’t easy, but then again, it was never meant to be. God has asked us to change our ways completely from what we’re compelled to do – it’s like teaching a dog to walk on its hind legs and not eat its own poop; it’s not impossible, but it takes a lot of work.

In my final words to Calvary Fellowship and Danny O’Neil, I had said that Jesus was a wanderer. His faith and relationship with God was with Him wherever He was. At this juncture in my life, this aspect stands as a model to emulate in my own walk. Wherever I go, I’m still with Jesus. I will always have a home. Such news is the only news that is truly worth living – and even dying – for.

God bless.

Faith: A Slippery Slope with God…

After reading the introduction to Peter EnnsThe Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins, I decided to research a little more about the Torah and the Hebrew Bible as a whole. My roommate Brian is taking an introductory class on the Hebrew Bible, so I bought the same text book he had. After realizing it was only the “brief” introductory book, I then bought the longer one.

I also picked up the study Bible Brian’s class has been using – The Jewish Study Bible – and have recently begun to read it. In the introduction material to Genesis Jon D. Levenson (the author/scholar to the intro material) says something that stood out to me:

“The relationship of compositional history to religious faith is not a simple one. It Moses is the human author of Genesis, nothing ensures that God is its ultimate Author. If J, E, P (short-hand ways of referring to differing strands within the Torah), and various equally anonymous redactors are its human authors, nothing ensures that God is not its ultimate Author,” – Pg. 11

I agree whole-heartedly with him. Faith through uncertainty, which describes the compositional history of the entire Christian Bible, is never easy. It challenges much of what has been previously believed or assumed throughout history (i.e. understanding Creation). But in my personal experience, I have often found my faith in God deepened and strengthened through the various questions and/or intellectual issues that have been raised.

I bring this up because it’s something I’m looking for in a new church home. With Calvary and Danny O’Neil, it was second-hand nature to follow God wherever He leads even though it might be calling many Christian doctrines into question. I loved that church for that specific reason: doctrines were not the foundation for Christian faith; God was.

I still see many of Calvary’s faithful from time to time and when I ask them where they’re going, the answers are pretty similar: “I’m kind of floating around churches,” “Not really looking,” or “Haven’t found one yet.” When asked why this is it’s usually because of rigid doctrinal beliefs, which were rather open discussions with Danny. Of course, not all the cases were about belief, but I’d say most of them were.

I think the subjects of Levenson’s statement and finding a church home are connected because what we believe about Scripture has a major influence on what we believe about certain doctrines and theology sets. Faith can either be placed more heavily upon doctrine and what fellow Christians say about God and Scripture or it can be placed on God Himself from the complexities arising from Scripture. No matter what, Scripture is a pivotal player in the Christian walk, whether liberal or conservative.

When I sat down with a fairly conservative pastor several years ago, I was told that to question Scripture would be walking on a “slippery slope.” It’s a very common counter-argument to those professing faith, but denying important doctrines like inerrancy or infallibility. However, what I think gets overlooked is how big God really is. Is He the kind of God who can only exist within a rigid box of doctrines and beliefs or is the kind of God who’ll go after the “lost sheep,” even if that sheep is on the slippery slope?

In my casual search for a new church home, I have found it very important to define what I believe and value about God and His intended story for my life. And I think it’s quite simple: I would rather be on a slippery slope with God than anywhere else. If God leads me into an intellectual journey, which, as a byproduct, challenges “essential” Christian doctrines, then I would have to conclude that I would be neglecting God to retain personal comfort. In other words, I would love God with most of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, but not all.

To love God with all that we are, we must be willing to trust Him when our doctrines fail to adequately describe Him. We must trust Him when our fellow humans fail because, after all, we are temporal; He is eternal.

God bless.

God and Groceries…

It’s kind of weird not having a home church. I mean, I love where I am because, for the most part, it’s just God and me. But thinking back to where I was six months ago or even this time last year, I had a home church – a fellowship that felt like family. We sang together, prayed together, ate food together, and even played some flag football on Super Bowl Sunday. I miss it. I really do.

But that’s not what hit me tonight on my way to the grocery store. At my new apartment, we didn’t yet have a cutting board and not too many chef knives, so I went to Safeway to get them. As soon as I got in the car and started driving, though, I felt compelled to pray for a home church. For the past two Wednesday nights, I had gone to First Baptist Church way out on Coburg Road. Tonight, however, I needed alone with God.

“I just don’t know if I can call any church home right now,” I confessed.

The two churches I’ve attended since Danny’s last sermon are great churches; the people are awesome, loving, and energetic. But as of right now, I don’t feel like either can be considered “home.” Going to Calvary every Sunday morning was great because I knew the people and they knew me. And, this might sound kind of lame, but I had a lot more theological conversations there.

I’ve written many posts about my interests in theology, but in case you don’t know, I like talking about God’s nature. I like comparing the Gospels side by side to see if they really were describing the same theological background or if they perhaps saw things a little differently. I like digging a little deeper into the Jewish mindset of Jesus’ day just to grasp how profound and yet simple His teachings were. And I like being able to think that God is bigger than man-made doctrines and systematic theologies.

“God, if I can find a body of believers – even if it’s just two other people – who has similar views and interests, that’d be great,” I prayed.

I asked Him this because I find the Bible to be the most fascinating book I’ve ever picked up. Books on systematic theology don’t quite cut it. Sure, they sometimes give me something to look at as I’m reading through Scripture, but oftentimes they’re an annoying set of goggles that I feel pressured to look through. In high school, I avoided peer pressure because I knew the consequences. I’m the exact same way when it comes to theology.

Neither of the churches I’ve attended gave me that vibe – not the pastors, not the worship leaders, and not the average church-goers. That’s not why I’m writing tonight. I’m writing because I know what I want in my walk with God: A strong, genuine faith in Him and His sovereignty. This is no new thing, but I think faith in God is better than faith in human systems and what the majority is saying about Him. I think God wants us to come to Him crying, “Abba, Father!” instead of clinging to our neat lists of beliefs.

I don’t want to attack anyone else’s faith: If you believe Scripture’s flawless to the “T,” fine. But the moment someone says I have to believe the same thing in order to truly follow God, I’m going resist – because that part isn’t in the Bible. Being “like minded” meant focusing on the one, unifying aspect of the church: Jesus Christ. Pastor Ben Cross of First B. gave a wonderful message on unity a couple weeks back. He said that true unity doesn’t come from conformity, but rather diversity. It’s the practice of allowing Christ to work in our hearts so much so that we acknowledge them and overcome them to be together, to serve together, to love together – that’s what makes the church beautiful in God’s eyes.

In all honesty, I don’t think church-shopping is a difficult process. It might seem like it because there are so many different ones, but when it gets right down to it, it’s like buying a loaf of bread. Some taste different, some smell different, some have weird packaging labels, and some might even look weird, but once you’ve eaten, it’ll give you the nourishment you need. Likewise, if God’s Spirit is present, church shopping simply becomes a matter of just picking one and going with it. If God’s yeast is there, you’ll grow.

And one major sign of the Spirit’s presence is a church’s ability to unify from and through diversity.

God bless.

Faith Through Disbelief: A Lesson From Thomas…

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe [that it is the Lord],” John 20:25b (NIV).

When I was much younger in my walk with the Lord, I had this sense that if I doubted anything about the Bible or about Jesus or about the existence of God, that my faith was somehow weak. Any doubt had to be removed in order to be a true Christian. This wasn’t something that was taught in my Sunday school classes or even in my small Baptist church. It was something I felt in the air of Christian culture.

At the time, I thought it was truth: I had to believe God, no matter what. If I doubted, I wasn’t really a Christian. But now, having gone through quite a few seasons of doubts, I realize that this fear of disbelieving wasn’t the good, clean air Christians are supposed to be breathing. It was second-hand smoke from the believers who had their own theological anxieties.

To be fair, doubts aren’t comfortable. When I doubted whether or not God was even real, I was not in an emotionally comfortable state. But what I find here near the end of John’s Gospel is interesting; Thomas isn’t rebuked for his non-belief, but rather provided with incontrovertible evidence of the risen Jesus. His statement to his fellow disciples wasn’t an admission some deep-seeded doubts he had all along; it was a reflection of his natural tendency to be more thoughtful toward the things he was told. Thomas was honest: He simply could not accept his peers’ testimony, not because he believed them to be lying, but because he needed a little more reasonable support.

In my ten years of being a Christian, I find that I have grown much more from questions rather than answers. “Why was my father never there?” “Why is there unspeakable human suffering when God could easily fix things in a moment’s notice?” “Why am I here?” are all the sorts of questions that have led me deeper into the heart, mind, and Spirit of God. Instead of being told the answers, I was shown them.

I was shown that my father was never there for me not because of something I had done, but because of a fear that was upon his heart. I was shown that while I’m part of the problem to human suffering, I can be part of the solution by acting like God to my neighbors near and far. And I was shown that I am here not because of some “accident” 25 years ago, but because of something God wants to bring about – a story God is writing.

Thomas was told that Jesus had risen. He didn’t believe it until Jesus had shown it to him.

If doubts are a sort of mental or emotional suffering, then I find no other appropriate text than Romans 5:3; “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,” (ESV). I don’t know if God intended doubts to come about or if they were simply a consequence to our sins. But I know that God produces a deeper faith through every doubt we have if we take the courage to honestly seek the answer.

Doubts, uncertainties, questions, trials, etc., will happen. I have no doubt about that. But rather than running from them by denying their validity, perhaps we should brace ourselves for the journey God will bring us through. As Danny O’Neil says in his message “Why Trials?,” it’s what we decide to do at the peak of our trial that determines the strength of our faith in God (paraphrased).

Yes, Jesus tells Thomas that “those who have not seen and yet have believed” are blessed, but my point here is that we shouldn’t train ourselves to avoid doubts like the plague. We should train ourselves to move forward in faith through the doubts that we encounter. In the grand scheme of things, it’ll only add to our faith’s strength.

It’s okay to be a little like Thomas (also because it’s my middle name and it’s cool…).

“[Jesus] told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves,’ but also ‘as wise as serpents.’ He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim,” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

God bless.