Two years ago this fall, I started grad school. Full of excitement, eagerness, and passion, I began, knowing that this experience at seminary would likely change me. Boy, was I not aware of the magnitude of that thought. Not only was it likely, but it completely changed me. My faith was challenged, I started learning new things that I had never considered before, and the stereotypical view of theology professors at seminary (that their one goal is to rip your theology apart) felt very real.
Luckily, my theology professor didn’t rip my faith apart and leave me there. He challenged me, pushed me to think for myself, and in turn, guided me through the questions I had of my faith. I have about a year left to go, I no longer feel afraid to learn something I think I know isn’t completely true. I welcome what King David prayed in the Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
I don’t want to live life without changing. I want my faith to be a living, breathing thing in me – pitching and rolling, growing and stretching – something I am okay with learning about and not backing away from growth in fear.
Recently, I was able to review a book called Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart. Now I certainly didn’t believe my world was falling apart; I didn’t have the feeling that my faith was a lie. Not at all. But what seminary has done for me is open my eyes to the possibility that I don’t have it right. It has allowed me permission to ask tough questions. I love how Kathy Escobar, the author of Faith Shift, tells a story in the beginning of the book about a friend who admits, with shame on her face, that she is unsure about her faith. Here is what Kathy says,
I didn’t waste time trying to convince her that everything was going to be okay, even though I knew it would. I didn’t try to sell the Refuge [her church] as a place that could hold her evolving faith, even though I believed it could. I didn’t try to tell her God was far bigger than the boxes we were taught he lived in, even though I wanted to tell her story after story of people who were discovering freedom they have never known before in their faith. The best I could do in that moment was tell her what I always say when someone’s faith starts to unravel: “You’re not crazy, and you’re not alone.”
Kathy shares the pain of feeling lost in her faith. She understands. Isn’t that what we all need when asking the tough questions? Not a pat answer and a hug, but someone who says, “Whew. I get that. I’m with you. Lets do this together.”
She goes on in the book to explain her Faith Shift model, what she believes is a road map for what people go through when asking hard questions of their belief system. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you’re in this place, a place of shifting, I recommend this book as a hand to hold while walking that scary path.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I hope you hear my honesty and know that I would never give a false review. I only desire good things for you guys! :)