I recently read an article by Margaret Wheeler Johnson. I don't know Margaret, at least not directly. But I do know her, in the sense that I too have more questions than answers. Her article is here, go ahead and read it, I'll wait.
Losing My Religion: If I'm So Done With Faith, Why Do I Still Feel Its Loss?
As I've recently said to a friend who doesn't believe, if I'm on the other side of that line (and I am)... it isn't by much. It isn't that I'm not secure in my faith or thinking... I'm probably too secure there to be honest. But my path has led me to conversation after conversation with folks who (for lack of a better way of saying it) want to believe, but don't feel like they can and be honest. People who look at the world and say, "God doesn't exist... or if He does...God is Good, God is Powerful, God is Wise... pick two."
Intellectually, I can understand that, even if I ultimately disagree. I don't think they are playing games there. I'm not convinced that their personal philosophy is a rationalization for things they want ethical permission to do beyond so called Christian morality.
If we're honest that may be part of it, but it's nowhere near that simple and it's unworthy of us to accept that as the only cookie cutter reason why someone doesn't yet believe.
God loves those folks. Everyone of them. Lord knows I do, and I'm weak and slow in the category of saint-like love. How much more does His heart break for Margaret? The God I know and follow isn't scared of tough questions, or people who are open but not convinced yet.
My prayer for many of my friends and for our writer Margaret is that He would send them a credible witness. Someone who they can respect and someone who loves deeply and without reservation. It may seem strange, but Margaret's article gives me great hope that God is doing something huge.
I don't have a lot of confidence in organizations, or marketing (yes you heard me), or process, or strategic thinking or clever plans or beautifully constructed arguments. Those things can accomplish a lot, just look around.
They will never reach up to God on their own. And no matter how powerful, funded or financed or loved... those things will be dust soon enough.
But a heart like Margaret's, that is honest, to some extent, broken... and longing for something real - that is a recipe for God to do something great. In spite of herself, or her intellectual misgivings, she finds herself reaching out to God... and in some way she feels His love in return. What would it take to launch her into a vibrant life of faith? Not more than God can do, I'm certain of it.
I want to be the kind of person, in the kind of church that Margaret would want to talk to... to have a tasty beverage with... to have a real conversation with... and to the extent we can - to take her heart into our hearts and let her see that a relationship with God can be more than the thing she walked away from. Don't be fooled by the graphics, or music, or sermons, or preparation, or cards or coffee or activity, by the launch plans and excel sheets and corporate non-profit status. To have a chance to really love and talk to the Margaret's in our area...
This is why we do what we do.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.