I feel as if I am at odds with everyone – I’m too liberal for some and too conservative for others. I’m too radical to some groups and not radical enough for others. I’m in love with tradition yet challenge and even contradict it vehemently.
But most of all, I feel at odds with certainty.
Which is quite odd, the more I think about it. The truth is, I want certainty and clarity. I want to trade one form of fundamentalism and certainty for another. I want to be right in all of my arguments and never have to admit defeat.
I want certainty, because more than anything else, I am terrified of being wrong.
If I’m wrong, that might give me less power over those I once thought were wrong. If I’m wrong, others may be free to completely discredit anything I ever loved or believed. If I’m wrong, I fear that the God I always thought would stay with me will abandon me. If I’m wrong, I fear that the Church I call home will reject me.
Despite all I have been through so far, these fears paralyze me. Despite my Philosophy, Religion, and Seminary courses, there are still nights where I toss and turn and worry about all the things I might have gotten wrong. Despite the resurrections I’ve experienced in my faith journey, there are days when I’m tempted to go back to all of my old, dead ways of thinking because at least I could hide behind certainty’s security.
Because even if it’s not entirely me anymore, at least I felt certain about things, and at least I knew that neither God nor the Church would abandon me.
Yet despite these fears, I’m slowly but surely learning that clarity and certainty are allusions; they’re unattainable ideals like perfection, golden calves which we make and barriers we build to distinguish who is “In” and “Out.” If Jesus demanded certainty as a prerequisite to following him, how many followers would he truly have? If certainty is so crucial to Christianity, why do we call it a walk of faith?
Maybe it’s no longer about what I know to be right but what I am willing to be wrong about. Maybe it’s no longer about pursuing this “greater good” to “glorify God” but whether or not my thoughts, ideas, and actions are bringing more love or less love into the world.
Maybe I’ll never find a “perfect” denomination, a “perfect” Church, or a perfect Christianity. Maybe I’ll never find a Jesus who completely agrees with me, either. Maybe I’ll always be at odds with a lot of “orthodox” theology and tradition. What I know for now, though, is that for better or worse, God has me in the Church, and it would take an act of God to keep me away from this Body.