In You Lost Me David Kinnaman does a great job at painting the picture of why so many young people are leaving the church and rethinking faith. While faith and spirituality continue to remain important to the vast majority of Mosaics, there is a major disconnect between the weekly worship services and real life. One of the problems some experience with the traditional church occurs around doubt. I personally believe that regardless of anyone’s age or level of involvement in the Church, doubt is an inevitable part of life. There are many shades and causes for doubt and we normally come out of it stronger and more assured than we entered that unnerving season. However, “many Christians believe that people who experience doubts simply lack the proper evidence or depth of conviction” necessary to be faithful.
I remember going to seminary knowing everything, or so I thought. I was fully assured of most of my personal and theological beliefs, even if I could not point to a bible passage to back up what I said. And then life happened. My bible and theology courses pulled at the very cords I had braided my theological convictions with. My concept of Jesus was challenged and my distrust of the institutional church increased. This was not what a good Christian experienced, let alone a pastor, or so I thought. After almost dropping out of seminary my doubt gave way to the tension of holding opposing and seemingly contradictory beliefs and it being okay. I was given a safe place to ask questions and wrestle with doubt. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in most of our established congregations though. Doubt is seen as the antithesis of faith and should be expelled by any means necessary. And so the doubter is forced either to the outside or internalizes those questions and doubts until they have a faith crisis that paralyzes them or drives them away from the community that should be there to help. “When a person feels as though church is not a safe place to be honest, he or she feels compelled to pretend, to put on a show, which all too often results in a faith that is no more than skin deep.” This is a tragedy for the individual, the community of faith and the kingdom.
So, looking at this book and my own personal experiences of doubt I feel compelled to make Second Chance a safe place for doubters. I don’t know how it will play out but I’m envisioning a weekly service called Questions of the Soul. It can be a blend of worship and bible study that invites people to seriously ask the questions that are most pressing to the pastor and leadership team. It’s risky because we wouldn’t have time to prepare patented answer or research scriptures. But it would be real and honest. It would be conversational not a lecture or a time for shaming. As a community we would model that doubt and questions are okay, and are even welcome in the Church.