My continuing conversation with John Shuck.
John. Thanks for the explanation. Sometimes I think I’m an F Christian! At least you have a passing grade. Of course, we don’t earn our way into God’s favor. Grace is a gift. So while we might score low, God, through Jesus, gives us A’s.
I’m going to talk about this first from a personal perspective first. While I agree with you that faith and doubt are things that affect our whole beings I tend think about faith and doubt in several categories.
I have intellectual faith and doubt. Even though I am an INFJ I was trained in school as a thinker. That, after all, is what they want in school. Isn’t it curious? Big advancements in science tend to come from AHA! Moments by people who are well trained intellectually in their fields. But all the training cannot produce a moment like the Theory of Relativity. So anyway, I was trained to think and reason and I have intellectual faith and doubt.
That means that sometimes I am absolutely sure in my mind that Jesus rose from the dead. I know, I can’t prove it, but I can see historical evidence suggesting that it happened. Nevertheless, I have my moments when I think, “What if it isn’t true? Then I have wasted my whole life and made promises that aren’t true.” I stand up at funerals and talk about the resurrection and God’s promise of life beyond life, given through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Usually I believe it at the time but I do have my moments when I think it isn’t true. And frankly, particularly when I’m depressed a long cold nothingness seems like it would be better than eternal life. I know, God will probably take away my bipolar disorder in the
Sometimes I have moments of feeling God’s presence and grace. Other times I feel like God could not possibly love me. Other people sure, even the people I pray with in prisons! But not me. While I preach grace, I have this place in the back of my head and way down in my heart that says that there are different rules for me, that I have to earn God’s love. And then I sit in the sanctuary during the Lord’s Supper, holding the bread and I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit surrounding me with love, taking me into the center of the Trinity and time seems to stop. (It doesn’t. Often at those times I forget to look up and see the elders waiting to walk back to the chancel with the plates of bread!) Faith and doubt can come as feelings.