In January 2009, I wrote a one-sentence blog: I feel like I lose more faith each day. That was the last time I really put my faith crisis in the public sphere. People went on thinking that at some point I “figured it out” or “matured.”
It seems to me that serious Christian churches– of where the gospel and Bible are regularly preached– are facing an epidemic here: Filled with people who are scared to share their true struggles.
No-one wants to be perceived as an “immature Christian.”
It’s okay to have “minor issues,” such as lust. But when you get specific and say you’ve been dealing with porn addiction for over a year, then you’ve crossed some sort of line. You’ve transitioned into critical condition, where perhaps you have just been going through the motions and we were all wrong about your salvation.
I’ve more or less been in a faith crisis since sophomore year of high school. And up until 2009, I was pretty public about it. What happened afterwords? I was asked to become a leader at my church. People began viewing me differently. I was a role model to some. One girl even said, “You seem to have everything figured out.”
But deep down, even with the knowledge gained and perhaps “spiritual growth,” I’ve consistently asked the question: Is this the week I break? Is this the week I let go of my faith entirely? And if you didn’t know, I’ve bailed from the faith several times since my first church camp sophomore year of high school. Sometimes for just a week. One time for eight months. And right now I’m tempted to tell you it’s been a while since I’ve totally bailed, due to wanting you to think I’ve “figured it all out.”
I have a theory, though: You’re not that different from me. Maybe your struggle isn’t doubt. Maybe it’s something else. But you feel you can’t bring it to the congregation. You have an image to uphold: The sort-of-broken-but-mostly-fixed-by-Christ image.
When will we open up and realize that nothing we do from this point makes us any more or less loved by God? I won’t think you’re an “immature Christian” if you tell me you struggle with porn or drug-use or suicidal thoughts. I’ll just think you “do what you don’t want to do and don’t do what you want to do,” as Paul put it. And unless someone is camping out in sin, then we should let them drink of the wine and eat of the bread and help bring them back to the alter…time and time again.
Doubt. Porn. Masturbation. Desire of atheism. Days without reading my Bible. Thinking about myself most hours of the day. Occasional drunkenness. Anger at God for hell and suffering. Nostalgia leaning on wishing I could still live in the dark. And so on.