helping each other to stay in the church

Writing is a lonely craft. It’s also filled with self-doubt. Whether I am sending an article to an editor or posting words instantly online, when I press the computer key that whisks my words into cyber-space my stomach churns a little. Sometimes it churns a lot.

Writing about faith has, by its nature, a confessional aspect to it. (No pun intended. OK…maybe a little!)Writing about your faith is literally baring your soul for all to see. This is what I believe, and why I believe it. And, this is what I’m supposed to believe but I’m struggling to believe it.

We have not always had the freedom to discuss our faith openly and honestly. In some circles, it was just considered bad manners, too personal for polite conversation. Besides, strict orthodoxy in belief was expected and questioning forbidden. There was nothing really to discuss. Theology and the internal workings of the church was the domain of priests and bishops. Few lay women and men had, or wanted, a say in ecclesial matters.

Today’s blogs, web-sites and discussion boards give us a freedom and a platform that past generations never had. We have a great tool at our disposal. Like all tools, we can use it for good purposes or bad. We can help to build up or to tear down.

I am a firm believer that honest and open sharing is valuable. Putting our own thoughts and feelings on the line has a cathartic effect. Whew! I got that off my chest! It also challenges us to enter into dialogue with others. Sometimes we find support in kindred spirits. Other times we are challenged by alternate views. Either way, we are nudged to further ponder our own beliefs and to perhaps do some tweaking along the way.

Regular readers of this blog know that I often need a good bitch and kvetch session. There are aspects of our church that sadden and madden me. Sadness and anger come from a place of love, when love has been disappointed. But, the love causes you to stay. I don’t plan to leave the church anytime soon.

And, I hope that my words would never be the cause for anyone else to head out the doors. Last week, I received a lovely email of support from a reader. His words are tucked away in my mind, ready to give me a boost when I question the value of this writing gig. He told me that my articles help him to stay in the church.

And this, to me, is the finest compliment I could receive. If he is reading this…thank you! I pray that in the dialogue we will all find the reason to stay, to seek change when necessary, and to ever deepen our faith.