Advent devotion: Doubt
Doubt. Uncertainty. Skepticism. These are the three words that come to my mind the most when I consider my feelings about Christianity. In my adult life I have attended and heard stories of churches that discourage questioning. This bothers me.
If you had asked me three years ago to write anything like this, I would have politely declined and wondered what the heck you were thinking. But here I sit working on expressing an idea that has formed part of who I am. That is the effect St. Paul has had on me in just two years. Questions are welcome here and I’ve never felt overly judged by having doubts and giving voice to them.
Certainty always seemed to me to breed contempt for those who don’t have it. I do not feel it is my place to judge right or wrong in matters of faith with my incredibly limited understanding of the world.
Pastor Peter Marty said in one of the first sermons I heard at St. Paul that “faith is having trust in someone who is trustworthy.” Certainty leaves little room for wonder or growth and seems to me to limit what our faith can become. I do not understand why life takes the shape it does. I question, doubt, and ponder frequently: why do we believe what we believe? Are we so terrified that we might be wrong that we shut out points of view that challenge our safe little beliefs? Being someplace that welcomes a person like me has been unexpected but very rewarding.
Sean Harless is the general manager of the Metal Sales branch in Rock Island. He lives in Bettendorf with his wife Sara and their two children.