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In the end he is left clinging to what is for him a truer, wiser kind of faith in Jesus Christ -- faith that struggles and lives with doubt.

Not Sure: a pastor's journey from faith to doubt

Enchanted and Childlike. So What Is Faith Really? Faith Has No Cash Value. The Trouble with Doctrine Mores and Tribes. Greater Than My Heart. Suk Wm. Somewhere about 6 miles into the race, Des doubted herself. It was too difficult and the probability of injury was high. She temporarily resolved to drop out around the mid-point of the course.

Asking Tough Questions

Until then, she determined to help her fellow elite American women. I can block the wind. In the middle of an individual competition, Linden was a team player. She would pace Flanagan and take the brunt of the wind. Linden hung back when Flanagan took a pit stop. Flanagan recalled, I thought Des was just going to be the sacrificial lamb.

Des did not drop out 13 miles in. As the weather took its toll, she found herself dropping those at her heels. By mile 15, she made her move ahead. And at mile 22, she took the lead.

Even then she had her doubts. Still she persevered. She stopped wavering. Soon enough she was on Boylston Street hearing the cheering cloud of witnesses. Desiree Linden won the Boston Marathon, but as you can see, that is only part of the story. The faith journey is like this foot race. It has its triumphs. There will be glory. But with every assured step, there is also unsure footing. There are moments of dogged determinism and debilitating doubt.

Some days, the climate and circumstances are ideal for firm faith. Doubt does not necessarily put us out of the race. Des proved this. It does not necessarily mean that we are out of the faith.

I am not sure you caught it, but our translation of Matthew says that when the eleven disciples saw the risen Christ, they worshiped him; but some doubted. This is interesting because the original Greek phrase is ambiguous. A reasonable translation is that all doubted. This may be what Matthew meant and our translators just wanted to preserve some triumph at the end of the story.

Surely, all eleven of them doubted; not necessarily the reality of the risen Christ before them, but—as Stanley Hauerwas says— their ability to obey and follow Jesus. We are talking about the very men who committed themselves to Jesus only to desert him in the end. They have every reason to doubt. Like Des, they wonder if they should lead this new Jesus movement when they might just hit the wall to much embarrassment. Still, doubt does not disqualify them from being disciples.

There and then Jesus commissions these wavering, uncertain followers of his. They are the ones called to convince others of Christ, baptize, and teach commandments they can and cannot keep. No one around Des in mile 6 thought that she was going to win the thing.

My Doubts Are Destroying My Faith!

I am sure that no one around those 11 thought that their testimony is reason millions of Christians gather today. The Jesus movement began in doubt. But for various reasons, Christians have been made to believe they must dispel doubt like a demon or else give up the Christian moniker.

Doubt is mistakenly understood as the absence of faith; mistakenly because Matthew tells us the disciples worshiped him as they doubted. Faith and doubt are not mutually exclusive. Having doubt is a part of having faith. The first disciples doubted their ability to follow Jesus because they knew that his teachings were difficult. Jesus did not teach what is easy to believe but what is worth believing.

Video Interview with John Suk, Author of Not Sure (Part 1 of 2) - EerdWord

Consider the commandments he wants all disciples to obey and teach: Be reconciled to your brother and sister , Jesus said. Yet, reconciliation is incredibly hard to believe in, given our political climate. Do not judge , he commanded. In a culture that values easy evaluations and quick assessments, nonjudgement is a swim upstream. Love your enemy , Jesus instructed. What is more difficult than wanting wellbeing for someone who does not want the same for you? Can we really believe in enemy-love in a world of mass shootings, apartheid, trade war, partisan politics, sexism, racism, and xenophobia?

We might doubt our ability to obey and follow these commands, but that does not make them any less worthy of belief. What would our world be without those who really believe in reconciliation, keeping promises, foregoing judgment, and unconditional love? Being a disciple requires a practical doubt that we can perfectly abide by these commands and a reasonable faith that we can obey them nonetheless. Doubt and faith work together. With every uncertainty, there is opportunity for growth. Doubts, whatever they may be, can foster faith. If, for example, we crack open our Bibles to the first pages of Genesis and read the creation story as an historical account, a few doubts might crop up about the six day sequence.

Some double down, dispel the doubts, and force some scientific sense into the story.

John Suk on the gift of doubt

Others, schooled in various origin theories, dismiss it altogether as premodern myth. Both miss the point.

Our doubts about the story can lead us to ask more questions about it, maybe to discover that Genesis 1 and 2 are not really about the earth or us, but about a God who is able to create new and abundant life even out of nothing. If that is true, what, then, is God able to do with us and our world? As another example, it is rote for many Christians to say: Jesus died for my sins.

It is common to understand such a saying to mean that Jesus paid our debt by his blood. Some dare to ask what this implies about God. What kind of God needs the blood of an innocent to satisfy his anger at offenders? Is God, as the Psalmists say, steadfast in love, abundant in mercy? Or is God angry and cruel? Such questions cast doubt on the crucifixion, so much so that some think it merely a mindless execution.