While writing about slow conversion, I realized another aspect of the Road to Damascus story of conversion that bothers me. It doesn’t allow for doubt. You didn’t believe, and then you did. Or didn’t believe enough, and then you did. Suddenly, it’s all so clear.
If there is one thing about my faith I know, it’s that I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s why I try to process it in blog form.
Being a disciple is a lifelong process. One thing I love about the disciples in the Bible is that they don’t get it. They love Jesus, they risk their lives and livelihoods to follow Him, but they’re always asking questions about here and now, and Jesus is always taking a deep breath and saying, “No, you’re not getting it. Let me try again.” They hear about eating flesh and blood and they bail. They deny they know Him. They refuse to believe in the Resurrection unless there is physical proof. They were the closest to Jesus on earth, and they doubted. We should get to doubt too.
Now, there is the kind of doubt that rots out the soul, the kind that shatters belief. But there is also the kind of doubt that nourishes belief, the kind that welcomes critical thinking and questions and being unsatisfied with easy answers. I can believe in God and follow Christ and still have doubts. If we had to be perfect and absolute to be Christians, there wouldn’t be two billion of us.
I realize a theme in my faith is that I don’t like being comfortable. My faith feels real when I’m doubting or grasping. So I’m suspicious when faith is presented all sunshine and rainbows. Maybe for some people, faith is easy answers and feeling great. I shouldn’t judge them for that, just as I don’t want to be judged for having a deeper, darker faith.
I want to always have the kind of doubts that make me ask, “Really?” “Why?” “For what purpose?” “Does it matter?” I want to be unsatisfied, because being unsatisfied is what will keep me moving, keep me seeking, and keep me on that road. Even when I doubtfully drag my feet.