I’ve worked through some intensely personal faith questions in the last year. Some questions were earnest inquiries brought to me by the passionate students I am so blessed to be able to interact with. Many were thoughts formed or posed during times of personal prayer, study, fellowship, or church attendance. I take notes endlessly; at the grocery store, laying in bed, and even in the middle of worship services– pretty much anytime I have a legitimate question involving my faith.
For regular readers of nathanology, you have been privy to some of these questions–but not all. For those who do not know me, you should know that I proccess knowledge through questions. I approach my faith in much the same way, but where a fact (such as multiplication tables or important historical dates) can be memorized in order to add the information to your repertoire of knowledge; faith is a kind of knowledge that is only ever truly gained through experience.
I experiece God in many ways. I find that I think most often about Him while engaging in the arts, outdoors, in the company of loved ones and close friends, through reading and study, and through stories, but my most intensely personal experiences with God always come during times of prayerfully inquisitive contemplation.
For a thirty-one year old man, I have read the bible very consistently for the majority of my life. Above all other things in my life, this is a practice of spiritual discipline that I never waver in, except for late in the summer last year when I had surgery on my mouth and missed a few days. I read it Christologically; meaning that I believe pretty much the entire collective work points to the Christ and that Jesus embodies the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (not their abolishment) and that He is our only means of reconciliation to God.
For the last few weeks I’ve been reading and studying the Gospels, but before that I spent several months–actually most of the last year, studying Old Testament Law and Prophecy. I don’t write these things as some kind of badge of honor or in a shallow attempt to elevate or promote myself, but as a sort of foundation to support the heart of what I want to begin to address with these next few entrees on this site.
The more I read and study the Bible, the more I realize that much of the stuff I have experienced, and continue to experience within the confines of a physical church property are sorely out of touch with God. We live in an age where Christian religion has become a sort of polarizing spiritual taboo, even among Christians. You have one camp that likes to quote James 4 and talk about how terrible religion is as a permissive sort of smoke screen so that they might live as some kind of spiritually empowered free spirit. On the other hand you have another group that is nearly hopelessly consumed by the traditions of what has gone before or the assumptions that they derive from those blind traditions. I believe that God’s truth lies somewhere in the middle, and I’m going to spend the next month or so trying to unpack my thoughts about it here for all to see.
It starts with this question: What is missing?