Why I Remain a Believer

I have gone through a lot lately. In fact, very little has been resolved. I am in a new phase of my recovery program. I have wrestled with myself. I have fought to keep the dark thoughts of surrender and suicide at bay. And I have tried to envision a new path for ministry. To say the least, it has not been easy.
While I went to treatment for depression, chronic pain, and a substance abuse disorder, I decided that I could take along some reading material. I must have looked a sorry sight dragging enough luggage with me to move in for a few months. I had a week’s worth of clothes and a year’s worth of books. Then I settled into a routine. It was not easy. I was one of the “older guys.” But, I soon learned that I had most if not all of the same issues as my fellow patient/inmates. I went in with the old names. To some people and staff members I was Don. Other patients called me Pastor. Not too long ago I ran into one other former patient who yelled, “how ya doin’ Rev!” And it was that occasion that brought me to this reflection now.
Why do I still believe? Why remain an ordained clergyman? Why continue working on a Doctor of Ministry degree?
I have tried to be fairly open with what I have wrestled with. Many people told me “don’t give up on God.” I felt the most annoyed at these kind of affirmations because I was sure that God had most likely given up on me in my doubts and redefinitions of the God I wanted to accept.
Think about it? There has been a large amount of scientific and literary research done on the Bible and Church History. Most believers do not wish to deal with these subjects choosing instead to comfort themselves with prejudged beliefs. But, I want to really understand what the people of the Book did with it over the millennia. What I never want to do is take the position of the person who would walk into an Orthodox Synagogue and begin an argument over the lack of archaeological evidence for the Exodus. Could I just be comfortable with not having beliefs? Could I not choose a secular viewpoint? Of course I could. I could easily take the position that there is no God and people can go on being whatever they are. Human beings could decide for themselves their ways of life. I would choose mine while everyone else could do the same. The problem is that is a very privileged position to take.
Most of our fellow beings in this world cannot take such a position. They do not have the luxury of choosing what it means to be human. It is a viewpoint secular humanists (aka Brights) do not comprehend. It is unfortunate that many smart people cannot see beyond their own noses. The glory of being human is in the discovery that there is more than simply being human. We are neither the “end-product” of evolution. Nor are we the crowning glory of Creation. We are what we are while learning to be a part of what is. Human beings are neither needing to be rescued nor of overcoming. Christian teaching and spiritual practice posits that human beings are to be and to become the image of Christ and the Image of God. Therefore, I am a believer in God in the communal self of three persons. The purpose of living is being holy in loving-kindness toward all beings and creatures. We begin this task in acknowledging sin and failures. We then accept love for ourselves and practice love for others.
I remain a believer to do these things.

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