A Crisis of Faith

November 24, 2020

This post is about my faith, so if you’re of the “zombie Jesus” or “invisible Sky God” persuasion and it’s working for you, I’m happy for you. Please afford me a little grace to write about this on my own blog without dropping those phrases into my comments, okay?

a mustard seed in the palm of my hand
“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I was raised Catholic and left the Church when it took a position that if you voted for a Democrat, you couldn’t take communion because you supported the murder of babies. They rolled that back very quickly at the time, but it was enough for me to take my leave. I then became an unchurched Christian. I joined the Episcopal Church for a while, but then the pastor made a theological swerve to the right that we weren’t comfortable with. I’m unchurched again. I have cobbled together a lovely belief system where God is love, and coexists happily with science. Work toward everyone being safe, loved, and warm. Apologize for mistakes. Leave the world a skosh better than how you found it.

I pray twice a day. In the morning, I thank God for the beauty and the promise of a brand-new day. And at night, I lie in bed and ask for help and comfort for the sick and/or frightened. That covers a lot of people these days.

If you’re unfamiliar with Christianity, THE CORE BELIEF is that Jesus, the human son of God, was crucified. He suffered, died, and was buried and on the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures. (I typed that out from memory, thanks to years of CCD and Saturday night Mass.)

And one night a few weeks ago after forty-blah years of just believing that and in the thick of pandemic and election dread, the thought entered my head: The only people who SAW Risen Jesus were his followers who happened to write the accounts that we read. What if … as the fourth, fifth, sixth days ticked by, they realized their movement was hosed and they decided to just … claim they saw Him? Maybe not even in a nefarious way, but just a way to keep the good things that came from His teachings going?

And this revelation probably occurred to many people much earlier in their lives. They probably pondered, puffed their pipes, scribbled some words and became Scholars.

Me? I’m not those objective, level-headed people so I completely lost my shit. WM tried to comfort me, but I was pretty inconsolable and cried myself to sleep. If you’ve followed me long enough on social media I might *seem* real funny to be around but I have my moments too. Trust me.

After a few fitful hours of sleep, I snuffled awake again and stared at the ceiling. Anne Lamott wrote that there are three types of prayers: help, thanks, and wow.

I sent up a plaintive “Help.”

Slowly, a calmness settled on me and I felt a weight being lifted away. I felt a warmness within. Comfort.

It wasn’t a vision and it wasn’t a miracle. It wasn’t a burning bush or a parting of the seas or the empty glass of water on my nightstand being magically refilled. It didn’t even answer all of my “why is everything terrible and why are You letting so many of us die?” questions.

It doesn’t even lead to an exciting blog post.

But it was exactly all I needed to get back on track with my weird little faith journey.

Previously on faith…

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  • Brian Z. November 24, 2020 at 10:20 am

    I feel this. My own weirdo faith journey to a place of “technically but not-really-the-way-people-usually-mean-it evangelical” Christianity has had a few moments just like this. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  • Ljc November 24, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    I think it’s completely normal to have thoughts and questions like that. 👍

  • scrivener November 25, 2020 at 6:50 am

    I’ve been there. What you had is real and I believe it without having witnessed it. 🙂