So I’m realizing that maybe I’m still a little fundamentalist in my thinking. I’ve been working hard to figure out what I believe about a whole range of topics because as a fundamentalist I used to know exactly what I believed. But these days I don’t have a list of mandatory beliefs, and sometimes that bothers me. I ask questions of my priest all the time seeking to know what Episcopalians believe about this or that and he usually pisses me off by telling me it’s a big tent and different people believe different things and that has frustrated me but maybe it shouldn’t.
I’m learning that the most important thing is loving God and loving my neighbor and that all else is secondary. Morgan Guyton put it so eloquently when he wrote: “it’s so easy to get sucked into making our faith about what we believe rather than what we are inspired to do.” (Guyton, 2016, p. 74). I’ve been asking all kinds of questions of all kinds of people to try to find out what I believe about certain issues when in reality I should be worrying about loving God and loving my neighbor most of all and the beliefs will fall into place eventually.
Rather than building a list of beliefs I need to be letting my faith transform me into someone who loves God and loves her neighbor. I need to let my faith take action rather than sitting and compiling lists of what I believe. Morgan Guyton uses the images of math and poetry, saying that my faith should not be made up of formulas of things I believe and thus things that I can master, but I should let my faith take mastery of me like poetry does. (Guyton, 2016, pp. 69-74). Poetry has mystery surrounding it, and math has none. I am to revel in the divine mysteries and follow the two basic commandments, whether I can pin down what I believe on a vast array of topics or not.
As I lose all the things that are precious to me in fundamentalism, maybe I need to lose my certainty of things also, and embrace not knowing everything and perhaps the more that I don’t know, the more I’ll know and the more I’ll live a Christlike life. Jesus didn’t call me to write out a list of beliefs, he called me to follow him.
Guyton, M 2016, How Jesus Saves the World From Us: 12 Antidotes to Toxic Christianity, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville.