I need faith. I want meaning. I am not pleased with the people over at NMSU. They lost my application and asked me to resend the info. Do I really want to attend a school that losses applications?
I have been home for almost 48 hours. I have had maybe 10 hours of sleep since Tuesday morning. Needless to say I am utterly exhausted. Yet I cannot sleep peacefully. I have been thinking a lot of my time in Indonesia.
It was only three weeks. Three short and long weeks in a context that forced me to be one 24/7. Three weeks of ass whopping goodness. I arrived in Bali with high hopes and a desire to have a spiritual encounter.
I brought with me 12 pairs of socks and 12 pairs of draws. Three pairs of shorts, a pair of pants, and three pairs of shoes. I also packed a deep exhaustion and bronchitis.
I chew the thought of finitude and what it means to invest my life in something. While I was away possibility ran amuck in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Kentucky, Georgia, and Texas. My life is in transition and I am full of uncertainty.
As I encountered other faiths along this trip I found my self wondering what my faith looks like to them. Am I a good Christian? Is love, compassion, joy, and discipleship visible in my life?
One Confusion priest stated that all faiths lead to the same enlightenment. That one should not believe anything unless it works for them. Faith then should not encompass a destructive component of self loathing and doubt. Challenging ones daily practice as one seeks to live faithfully to the divine is a must. As the profanity of creation seeks to attach itself to the divine, this is indeed challenging.
Another monk asked, what we thought of religious pluralism. I forget exactly what I said. I think about this now and question what my faith is.
I believe that Jesus Christ is present at all moments of salvation. I am not convicted that Christianity is the sole proprietor of Jesus’ grace and reconciliation. A part of me is fearful that I will burn in hell as a heretic. I am no longer sure of the black and white dynamic of my adolescent faith. I question the ideas I brought here to seminary and dismiss much of it.
I openly wonder what God is calling me to. I am certain I am called to serve in ministry. I want to serve in the Presbyterian context. I just want to make sure I covenant with an understanding of what it is I am seeking to uphold.
What do we say in response to religious pluralism here in America? We can no longer ignore the deep faith and practice other religions hold in America. Kindness, justice, peace, and sorrows or suffering are not exclusively Christian.
I sit here typing with the hope of a greater peace and compassion in this world that I am certain is a product of what Jesus did in death and life. I am just not certain that Jesus manifests only in Christians and only in the manner to which we have boxed up God with dogma, doctrine, creeds, and regulations. If scares me that Jesus, salvation, grace, and forgiveness all are tainted with western philosophy, western posturing, western culture and models of success.
If we are truly seeking to transform the paradigm of ministry and service then we must include religious pluralism and converse intimately and honestly with those around us. This must be a concern of the Emerging Conversation. We emerge from our surroundings bearing witness to the transformation that paints our experience. God does not change as we grow in wisdom and understanding. All that could be said about God’s truth has been said. It is the understanding of God’s truth that remains allusive to all of creation.