Part 2 of our reading through ‘Searching for Sunday’ by Rachel Held Evans
Read Part 2 ‘Confession’ of ‘Searching for Sunday’. Read the short reflection below, then comment about either Part 2 or the reflection!
Evans begins part 2 with the reminder of death, like Lent, the reminder we are dust and we’ll return to it. The specter of death and the elegant beauty of stardust; the inevitability and the sheer unpredictability of life and death reveals our humanity in its condition and the beauty of connection.
The Struggle with Belief
From the allure of certainty to the question of a God who could permit the Holocaust, Evans wrestles with what the belief means, and I for one can relate to it all. Particularly that sensation of wanting an intellectual answer to a whole body issue.
Over and over, she names the miracles of Christian communities like her childhood church, Grace Bible Church, to which she returned after college. But there’s always a but. But she couldn’t be there. She felt fake. Like a non-believer or a different-believer. And certainly not one who wanted to legislate away rights.
What is it to name the homeness of these places and groups we can’t stand? Or the struggle to say I love how you love me, but I can’t stand how you hate my friends.
We’re all broken
No matter what it says on our websites or we share in our coffee hours. The challenge of belief and being in community is that our churches, in pursuing the comfort of the country club find themselves lacking the honesty of Christian community.
Opting out isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
We think we’re going to go on these great spiritual day hikes, but we end up wearing pajamas till 1 pm.
- The trouble with dropping out of church are many:
- the awkwardness in our relationships with others around church,
- the tiresome need to make others feel better,
- the lack of perfect in any Christian community (where is it?),
- church shopping becomes the rebound boyfriend,
- we succumb to our coping mechanisms; which for Evans (and me and many of the people I know) is intellectualism.
Turning to Jesus
Evans finishes the section by turning to the gospels to find how Jesus dealt with the contours of community. He ate with the riff-raff and those easily condemned by the establishment and criticized that condemnation.
When have you confessed? Have you ever formally confessed to a priest or pastor? To a counsellor or loved one?
What is the place of finding in our communities and relationships that space and freedom to confess, to turn, or to drop our stones of condemnation?
Rather than trusting our churches are both safe enough for Evans’ questions and alive enough to embrace her spirituality, what would it take to claim with conviction that she would fall in love with our church?