Doubt - Monday Musing, April 12, 2021
Doubt. Several months ago, The Christian Century ran a cartoon showing a man and a woman talking about faith. The man says, “I believe but sometimes I don’t.” The woman responds, “That’s weird because I don’t believe but sometimes I do.” In yesterday’s worship, we read the Gospel of John passage of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance before the disciples and the story of “doubting” Thomas. The gospel writer wants readers to come to believe, despite throwing doubt in our faces. We may not be certain about everything, all the time – and that’s okay; faith is not an instantaneous event. The earliest Christians referred to their new faith as “The Way.” A way is not a destination. It is a road to walk. It is an invitation for us to embark on a journey.
In his book, Faith After Doubt, author and public theologian Brian McLaren proposes a model of faith development in which questions and doubts are not the enemy of faith, but rather a portal to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith. McLaren writes, “Doubt, it turns out, is the passageway from each stage (of faith development) to the next. Without doubt, there can be growth within a stage, but growth from one stage to another usually requires us to doubt the assumptions that give shape to our current stage.”
Post-Easter, post-resurrection, we leave behind our 40-day Lenten journey of faith. And the assigned scripture reading on the Sunday following Jesus’ glorious resurrection forces us to face our doubts! McLaren offers a simple benediction, modeled on the beatitudes, to remind us that our honest doubts are not a curse, but rather a blessing:
Blessed are the curious, for their curiosity honors reality.
Blessed are the uncertain and those with second thoughts, for their
minds are still open.
Blessed are the wonderers, for they shall find what is wonderful.
Blessed are those who question their answers, for their horizons will
Blessed are those who often feel foolish, for they are wiser than those
who always think themselves wise.
Blessed are those who are scolded, suspected, and labeled as heretics
by the gatekeepers, for the prophets and mystics were treated in the
same way by the gatekeepers of their day.
Blessed are those who know their unknowing, for they shall have the
Blessed are the perplexed, for they have reached the frontiers of
Blessed are they who become cynical about their cynicism and
suspicious of their suspicion, for they will enter the second innocence.
Blessed are the doubters, for they shall see through false gods.
Blessed are the lovers, for they shall see God everywhere.
May the Peace of Christ be with you this week – do not doubt that you are blessed!