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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Doubt and Christian faith

A young man rushed up to me the other night during my dinner and asked to see me outside. Putting down my fork, I looked at my friends who all nodded assent. (I would love to say this is uncommon in my life, but it happens quite a bit...and my friends are very accommodating.) So as I gathered with him under the portico of the diner's door, he looked at me and said "I am going to die."

Now, such a statement is true for all of us (sorry to break the bad news!)He seemed to think, however, that his was a lot more imminent than mine. (I have a deal with God--until the Minnesota Vikings win a Super Bowl I cannot die. It is my deal for immortality.)I asked how he knew his death was coming on so soon? "I don't think I believe Jesus rose from the dead!" When you don't "think" that you "believe" you are in some serious linguistic trouble. So you doubt your relationship with God, I asked?

Oh no, he said, I am just not sure Jesus rose...hey, does this mean I don't believe in God now too? (I love this stuff.)

How are the two beliefs related? I mean, do you only believe in God because Jesus rose from the dead?

I...I...I...don't know, he replied back. I guess not, when I think about it. (Which goes to show we should always think about the things we think about. It makes us sound smarter at least.)

Exactly. Most people's belief in God--I guess- doesn't really hinge upon Jesus' resurrection, even if there are a whole bunch of preachers and folks who want us to believe that. So it seems to me that the resurrection of Jesus has to be about something other than your belief in God. Do you believe in the resurrection because you don't want to die?

By now the young man was sitting on the bench with the evening's drizzle falling on his sweater. Yeah...that's why I thought I believed it.

But, now you realize you're going to die anyway? I paused a bit. Good thing you still believe in God.

He looked up at me, and those creases of doubt were morphing into a smile of comprehension. (This is a teacher's greatest moment--hands down.)Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, he said to no one in particular. So the resurrection keeps my life going with God?

Yeah, I sighed. Pretty nice of God, huh?

He stared out into the parking lot for a few seconds. Why would God do that, he mused, as he contemplated the Easter rain?

Careful, I said, keep asking questions like that, and pretty soon you'll be a Christian. How about we go back to dinner?

As he led me into the restaurant I went back to my friends. Who was that, Bruce asked? I don't know, I said, I can't remember his name.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Great Blog... Thanks - Also Thanks for the DWB Link!