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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Faith Transitions




A few years ago I felt an instantaneous wave of nausea sweep over me as I momentarily experienced the effects of a minor earthquake. I did not know what it was but the person I was talking to on the phone 100 km away felt the same feeling at the same moment. We surmised it was an earthquake, in Ontario no less.

In my life I have experienced 3 life changing transitions in my faith and beliefs. The first of these "lifequakes" in the 70's was about Truth. I was a faithful adherent to the truth that the RLDS church was the restored church of Jesus Christ following 15 centuries of Christian apostasy. I was taking religious courses at U of T in New Testament studies, Liberation Theology and scriptural exegesis (the source, dating, authorship of scripture). I found my roots shaken with new understandings. Here I had been presenting our church through the "Go Ye & Teach" slides to numerous seekers, had baptized some through these truths and now I was recognizing Christ was universally present and calling all Christians into Mission. My identity and sense of surety was fragile for perhaps a year as I worked through this new personal revelation. During this time I also discovered the church was also moving through this same journey. I found others who I could discuss this with and through community, study and prayerfulness I actually experienced freedom from the restrictive exclusivity of my prior beliefs.

The 2nd faith transition was about Inclusiveness. This new understanding occurred in many layers of my thinking. I expanded my perception of God's engagement in human religious experience to include other faith groups such as Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and so on. The principles of their faith precepts and encounters with God espoused virtues that reflected commonalities with my faith. I was also transitioning from "written in stone" truths to enduring principles in the framework of my beliefs. Equality logic meshed with my thinking altering my previous views towards, women, gender relations and broader issues of justice. Again as I journeyed through these stages of understanding my identity and sense of self linked to the old was sifting beneath my feet.

My 3rd faith transition occurred approx 15 mo ago. This one was about Grace. I thought throughout my life that I knew what grace was all about. I had preached about grace, leaning more towards works than grace in my preferences. The adage, If not for the grace of God I could have been born in Rwanda or......was a real thought of mine. Then, I encountered things in my life during a decade of absence from the church that caused me despair, sorrow and grief that I could not shake from my life. I returned to church where we had moved to in Hamilton but the reality of lives that had been impacted by my inactivity caused me great guilt. Only through prayer and an encounter with Divine grace was I able to move beyond my past and sense wholeness. In that deep moment of knowing despair turned to peace the words of our Community of Christ Mission statement became real to me. "I proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love and peace." Those words meant something to me as I experienced Christ's grace and was filled with joy, hope and peace in a community of love. In essence for me those words, which when had I first read them, I thought of as shallow, became meaningful and "flesh" in my life experience! My life was changed once again.

I expect my life will continue to move through transitions of faith and new understandings. We live in a dynamic and diverse world. We engage in a prophetic church that keeps us in synch with enduring principles that guide our journey into tomorrow. If you find the faith transitions you are experiencing need discussion with someone who has been there, please give me a call. Let's journey together.

Submitted by Kerry

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I could have used this on Sunday, as I shared some of these same thoughts in my sermon, not quite as well stated as you have above but none the less a similar journey. I never left the church but the transitions were and are there for me even today. I marvel at the journey and how it has evolved. Thanks so much for sharing this, it is so very helpful to us all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing once again.

    ReplyDelete