I've given you four quotes that inform what I do around issues of faith and belief.
You'll find two of them are pretty specific concepts we dig into together.
The latter two are well, promises for a journey with no road sign at all.
I hope to hear from you.
I care not for the man's religion whose dog is not the better for it.
When I first encountered this quote freshman year of college, it reoriented my world entirely. The waves it made that have never stopped crashing have caused me to be ever compelled to ask, of myself and other folks who self identify as religious, "...and so what? What does that make you do?" when talking about developments in their religious lives. Good or bad...big or small...even a little something or just nothing at all, I need to know.
As you may have realized, it's very easy to talk about religion and belief and live a life that makes others think certain things about how one has organized themselves inwardly. It's also very easy to allow a discrepancy to develop, such that people-or even our own selves-are badly let down by the size and shape of the "so what?" I've come to find how our religion makes us act when compared to what the world has been led to believe is sort of a 3D, multi-plane chessboard.
Maybe you're the one who's confused about the splash of your "so what?" in the world. Or maybe you're one dealing with someone else's "so what?" that certainly didn't make the world the better for it. Either way, I've found that people often have a big need to talk that through.
You can be sure you've created God in your own image when it turns out He hates all the same people you do.
I call this using God as a weapon.
Maybe you're most familiar with a tradition that knows all of God's thoughts, and it turns out you've come to disagree with-or even dislike-how God thinks about the world.
Maybe you've come to realize you're gay-and were all along-yet grew up in a tradition that had strong convictions about, well, God disagreeing that you'd always been that way. Thus, your faith has you inhabiting a land of contradiction that says you were made in a way that puts you opposite of how God is said to make people. (Wait what!?! Say that again!?!)
Maybe you inhabited a worldview wherein you encouraged others to join your team, ditch their friends and family, leave it all behind, make a hard turn for the straight and narrow when they had a perfectly peaceful life on the wobbly and wandering. And now...you're not so sure that all those wandering ones you met were lost. Or if you might want what they had.
There are plenty of other ways to use God as a weapon than I can brainstorm. If you're wanting to process de-commissioning God as a weapon, or to take a step back and triage some wounds, I want to help.
Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke
I've come to hold a bedrock conviction that the deeper questions-like the ones that probably have you this far along on this page-simmer in our souls like lasagna in an oven or something in the Crockpot for some time until deep within, our souls settle on peace. That's why some of these deeper spiritual issues we wrestle with stay so unsettled for so long.
Another quote for ya: God works as a gardener, not as a mechanic.
I'm just not sure I believe in targeted, precise, surgical "soul work," so that's not what you'll get with me. (Spoiler alert there.)
Mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind.
These days we move way too fast and too casually tell ourselves we have made great strides in dismissing the truly profound issues of human nature. We settle for solutions that are tidy and clean, onto which we can force a nice label (like a tarp over junk in our garage). My great fear though is that we too readily forfeit the hopeful glimmer that an open-ended "...but maybe not..." or "...what if?" the universe could gift us with.
Or even a simple, I don't know.
We'll openly talk about any awkwardness around mystery in your world.
And we'll never rush it out.