The list of taboo topics keeps growing. Our culture has become so political that it makes people uncomfortable to talk openly about big ideas in polite company. But a hunger for transparency is growing as well. So how do we proceed? One way is to take questions seriously even as we take ourselves less seriously. Reminds me of the movie scene pictured above where Dan, played by Steve Carell, recommends a children’s book about using the restroom. Every American parent is familiar with this book. It’s direct, and it’s funny. We need more of that kind of approach to issues where we just can’t seem to get over ourselves. We trip or giggle or mock or sneer. And we avoid.
Faith and doubt are supposed to remain private these days it seems. Usually people are either-or about it: open to one and closed to the other. So again, we tend to avoid talking about them.
But everyone believes. Everyone doubts. Everyone puts faith in something, even if it’s only in themselves. Everyone has doubts, even if they’re ashamed of them. Today, we have too little permission or ease about any of it, in the public square. And yet I see so many people walking around with it all barely tucked in. Their questions want out. Can I trust my beliefs? Am I too dug-in on my doubts? This site is a safe place to ask w/o fear of judgment, or worse, canned and condescending answers. We need permission to ask questions. Authentic faith cannot grow without them. Questions say more about us than nearly any other measurement. They represent sacred places of risk and possibility. So, bring them on.
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David Haskins says
Tim– did you doubt I would read and peruse your site? Was your faith lacking? Well, the truth is it took me a few more days to get to it than I planned. I am enjoying reading. And I have ants in my pants, at least with regards to Buechner’s quote. In fact, I was praying just before reading and was journaling on the tablet of my mind. I was doubting not in the existence of God or in His goodness but in his willingness to meet me in my weakest places – that his love is as true there as in my strengths.
Dan Stanley says
How do you define faith and how do you define doubt?
Dan, I’m using faith and doubt broadly. Faith represents the ideal of pursuing and knowing our Creator and our purpose. Doubt represent anything we wrestle with along the way, whether it directly or indirectly relates to “The Thing Itself.” One might have a greater existential crisis, for example, by catching a toe on the furniture or in dealing with a difficult relationship than in addressing some timeless, tough question. We must approach faith and doubt as we are completely: head and heart, rational and irrational, idealistic and cynical–the complete range of human experience coming to bear upon our questions. Because it does.