“In fact, the words “belief” and “faith” in the Bible are just different ways of saying “trust.” And trust works, regardless of where our knowing happens to be.”
The preceding quote is from the book, The Sin of Certainty, by Peter Enns. I do believe that too many of us have placed our faith on a faulty premise. That premise being that we must be certain about what we believe.
Just think of how many denominations, how many different views within denominations, and how many different views about what faith is about in the lives of people who belong to these denominations have. Who is right? Who is wrong?
This is a key reason why I have been researching a relationship theology. I do believe that God is love. Love is centered in a relationship of trust rather than adherence to correct, certain beliefs. And while I still hold to an orthodoxy catholic (common Christian faith established in the early creeds) faith, I am not dogmatic about what I believe. I know that I can be wrong.
What has become extremely helpful to me since my near total breakdown and failed suicide has been a return to the Ignatian rules of discernment. These rules (that do not claim ultimate truth) provide a way for me to test the spirits, thoughts, ideas, desires, inclinations, and other things that come my way emotionally, mentally, spiritually. They are rules that rely on trust rather than certainty.
Through the use and mindfulness of the rules, I have a trustworthy method of seeking direction when in times of desolation and in experiencing the joy of consolation when God sends it my way. This has not lessened my love for the Scripture but it has lead me not to make the Bible more than I believe God intended for it to be.
I served as a pastor for forty years. I am not pastoring now. I do not know if I will ever pastor again. I doubt many churches steeped in an attitude of needing certainty would put up with me. I know I would not do things as I had done in the past. I would put much more emphasis on a sacramental/relational approach to discipleship and my pastoral care would be more focused on being part of the lives of members rather than being a professional religious.
Right now, the most important activity in my life is recovering from my injuries and working on my skills as a spiritual director. I will trust God as to where I go from here.
Oh, by the way, I would love to hear from some of you who read this blog. I promise I will reply.