Church

I did this painting a few weeks back.  I'm not sure where it came from but I told Jason I am sure it means something.

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I've been open about my struggles with faith, religion and Christianity.   I was going to write a long post about it but in truth this blog "Why Millennials are Leaving the Church" from this summer sums up my feelings EXACTLY.  If you haven't read it, you should.  I identify with it so much.  Right down to the fact that I barely qualify as a millennial.  I feel like my struggle has been even more awkward because I used to be hyper involved in a conservative pentacostal youth organization that may or may not have met the board definition of a cult. I never do things half way folks.  I feel like I need to write an apology to all the people I tried to "disciple" during my crazy religious years. Some college kids party others get hyper involved in church. Basically everyone does something in their twenties they are embarrassed of.  For some it is keg stands at college parties, for me it involved terrible church drama. In the years after stepping away from that stage in my life (for a myriad of reasons) I went through this time where I was certain I could walk away from faith entirely.  And, for a period of time I did.  I wrote about this journey a couple of years ago and truthfully I still feel the same. The truth is, my love for God is still there.  He looks different from the harsh, black and white versions of my 20s but I do still believe (or at least I really want to) in the idea of something more.  I still don't really have a firm footing and I have found peace in the idea that I might never.   The only thing I do know for certain, is that I believe in love.  Pure and true love.  Love that forgives our failures and faults and encourages us to be better people.   Love is the greatest commandment after all.  That is what I am choosing to base my life on.  I want to raise my boys to be open, loving, tolerant and kind to everyone.  Basically, to really love everyone, regardless.

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For me, this is taking place within the frame work of the Christian faith.  It is my history and my background.  Maybe it is my age but I see the value in staying connected to my history.  I think this quote from the article I linked to above sums it up:

"We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers."

And, I recommend reading Rachael Held Evans follow up article "Why Millennials Need the Church."  I want to end with a quote from that post.

“What you promise when you are confirmed (or "saved")  is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that this is the story you will wrestle with forever.”

I guess the point of this post is that I am still struggling and I plan on doing so for a while.  Ultimately, I guess you only really fight/struggle for the things you care about and see the value in.