The Christian Phrase I Hate (Gray Faith Study Ch 4: Gray Sin)

Does the very phrase “gray sin” make you uncomfortable?  Each generation seems to be getting more and more fuzzy about what sin means and how we handle it.  But if we’re going to live and love in God’s kingdom, we need a give-and-take discussion about sin.  And frankly, people, we all have room to grow in how we respond.

Check out my video to find out one Christian phrase I’ve come to hate- then stick around to check out this week’s on-your-own experiment and study questions.  (To follow along with the book, download or purchase here: Gray Faith on Amazon. )

Experiment #4:  

(PART 1) Find a comfortable place to kneel down.  Read through Bible passages that declare God’s holiness and power (Revelation 4:8-11, Job 38, 1Timothy 6:15-16)  Or listen to songs like “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe, or “The Stand” by Hillsong, “Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant.  (These are suggestions- feel free to play songs you most resonate with.)  The posture of kneeling or bowing sometimes helps us to physically acknowledge who God is. Verbally acknowledge His holiness and that you accept His Lordship in your life.  Consider your smallness and brokenness in relation to who He is.

 

(Part 2) Instead of dwelling on your smallness and brokenness to the point of guilt and despair, now consider the amazing love of the Father who made a way for you to approach His throne with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).  Relish the fact that you’re covered by Jesus’ holiness, that God has removed your sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  Take a moment to just dwell on how great His love for us is, that covers over our worst sins.  Write any thoughts that come to you during this time.

 

Chapter 4 Study Questions:

 

  1. What did you grow up believing were the “big sins”?  Has your understanding of or reaction to these sins changed over time?

 

  1. Can you live in the tension that someone else who loves God may not follow God the same way you do?  Explain.

 

  1.  What is the difference between standing up for what we believe in and arguing with someone over belief?  

 

  1. What does it look like to confront sin in love?

 

  1.  We’re all broken- prone to fail and fall short of God’s glory.  How have honest relationships in your life have helped to break down your judgment towards others?  

 

  1.  The “discomfort of grace” means that God covers our sins, even those we aren’t aware we commit, and he covers others as well.  We’re partly right, partly wrong.  Discuss what implications this has for our moral disagreements and how we interact with others.

 

  1. How does the magnitude of God’s holiness affect the way you view sin?

 

Bible passages for further reading:

Romans 14 (Don’t judge, Disputable issues are between us and God); Matthew 18:15-17 (sin in the Church); 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (we know in part); Philippian 1:4-11 (God continues a good work in us); Luke 7:36-47 (Those who are forgiven much, love much); Luke 17:1-4 (Causing to sin); John 8:1-11 (A Woman Caught in Adultery); Acts 2:38 (Repent from Sin and be forgiven);Luke 18:9-14 (Humility before God); Revelation 1:9-18 (A Vision of holy Jesus


Tough conversation, but if you care to join, please comment below with your thoughts on anything from your own experience with Christianity and sin, to answers to the study questions. Thanks for joining the online study!

Gray Church (Ch 3, Online Gray Faith Study)

The Church isn’t always perfect.  OK, sometimes we’re a long way from it.  Yet there’s a mystery to this group of believers that we’re called to live within.  God intends each of us to build up those around us with the gifts, love, and abilities He’s equipped us with…yet we often disagree and divide instead.  I don’t believe we’re meant to sit stagnant and ignore the areas where our church may be missing God’s heart.  But I believe we’re called to be humble catalysts of change, often right where we are.  Watch this video and check out the discussion questions below as we continue our online study together!


Gray Church Video: Three C’s for Investing in Healthy Church

Gray Faith Chapter 3 Experiment/Study Guide:

Experiment #3:
If you’re a regular church attender, and especially if you’re very active in your church, plan a time to take a week off. If you feel comfortable, try taking a week off from church altogether. Instead, carve out some time to meet with God on your own or with your family. Worship God in a stripped setting- perhaps out in nature, or a personal favorite place. Understand, this isn’t meant to drive you away from your church. Rather, stepping back gives you a chance to breathe in God without feeling the weight of a “role” to perform, and it allows you to step back from routine so you can gain fresh perspective. During this time, honestly give God your ministries, your experience and expectations within the church, your relationships with members and leaders. Ask God to show you where your heart is in line with His and where He wants to shift your heart, roles, or expectations. Write down your thoughts from this reflection.

Chapter 3 Study Questions:

1.What is the role or purpose of the church? (the local church and the global church)

2. We want our churches to be relevant and inviting to the outside world for good reason. But have you ever gotten more caught up in what church looked like than the God who is relevant regardless? What does it mean to be “seeker-friendly” in a way that doesn’t diminish God?

3. How have you experienced the brokenness of the church? How have you been a part of the brokenness of the church?

4. If you’ve never done this before, sit down and make a list of church “non-negotiables”: the doctrines and practices that you MUST agree with in order to be part of a church family. Then make a list of “secondary issues”, such as worship style, ministries or activities offered, etc.

How often do your church frustrations stem from the list of non-negotiables vs secondary issues?

5. All of us within a church family have weaknesses. What does it look like to stay together as a church and balance each other even through disagreements?

6. When you consider that some people will never enter a church building, how do you feel? What does it mean to be the church outside of the church building? Think of examples that are specific to you.

7. In what areas of ministry do you serve the church? Do you feel that you are serving in a healthy way? (Consider your time commitment, affect on family, energy spent, motivation for serving, people you may feel the need to please, etc.) Have you ever stepped back to reflect and pray about your role?

8. Discuss the cost of our lack of unity between churches, especially across cultural and denominational lines. How can we begin to bridge the gap?

Bible passages for further study:
The Book of Acts (beginning of the Church); Romans 12:3-13 (The Church as a Body); 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (The Church as a Body); Hebrews 10:23-25 (Encourage and Meet Together); 1 Corinthians 14 (Instructions for Worship/ Order)

Gray Christian Culture (Gray Faith Study, Ch 2)

You’ve heard of the show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”  I feel like this video could be called, “Are You Better Than a Pharisee?”  Of course I’m less interested in how we measure up morally, and more tuned into whether we are humble enough to apply Jesus’ words to the Pharisees to our own lives and Christian culture.  I pray we’re all drawn closer to His heart as we lay our ways before Him.  So check out the video and FREE study guide questions below, and please comment with your own thoughts on where our Christian culture is doing well or needs some God-tweaking.

STUDY GUIDE, CHAPTER 2: GRAY CHRISTIAN CULTURE

Experiment #2:
Sometimes we struggle to be constructively critical of our faith backgrounds and the Christian culture around us. To question might feel like we’re letting our parents, churches, or even God down. But Jesus Himself challenged the status quo of the faith culture of His time, and sometimes our own faith culture drifts away from God’s heart as well. Even when it comes to following Christian leaders, Paul doesn’t ask us to blindly copy- he says to first “consider the outcome of their way of life” (Hebrews 13:7). Translation: reflect before following.

Jesus says that we, His sheep, will know His voice and follow- but I think that means sometimes silencing the sounds of the other sheep in our heads. Make space this week to sit and talk with God alone, away from distractions. Ask Him to help you hear His voice, to give you discernment, and be able to distinguish His will outside of what any culture says. Allow yourself to ask whether you’ve been sometimes following people instead of God.

Chapter 2 Study Questions:

1. Do you believe the Christian culture around you has any negatives or unhealthy ideas? Why or why not?

3. We’ve had our negative moments, but Christian culture often sparks very positive movements. What should “Christian Culture” be doing/influencing and how can we help?

4. “Someone who exposes themselves to a wide variety of ideas might actually be in a healthier place than someone who views outside ideas as dangerous.” Agree or disagree? Explain.

5. What is our “Jesus Stuff” (bumper stickers, billboards, shirts, etc) saying to the world? Discuss how you have experienced/used Christian paraphernalia in a positive or negative way.

6. How does dividing the Bible into “good guys” and “bad guys” keep us from examining our own lives well? Have you, like me, ever realized that you were guilty of overlooking a problem in your own life because you didn’t immediately associate yourself with one of the Bible’s “bad guys?”

7. Discuss what it looks like to “keep ourselves from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27), while also being the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Can we protect the purity of ourselves and our families while still exposing ourselves to the world that God wants us to love?

8. What words or phrases from your Christian circle might be confusing to someone from outside your group? How do we help bridge the gap in translation?

Bible passages for further study:
James 1:27 (Don’t be Polluted by World); Matthew 5:14 (Light of the World); Romans 12:1-2 (Don’t conform to the world); 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (Test Everything); 1 John 4:1-3 (Test every Spirit); 1 corinthians 5:9-13 (Living among sin); Matthew 11:19 (Jesus was friends with sinners)


Thanks for joining!!  Tune in next time for Chapter 3: Gray Church.  To buy the “Gray Faith” book in paperback or for kindle, you can purchase online at Amazon!

Gray Faith Study- Ch 1: Gray Beginnings

The Gray Faith Online Study is finally here!! I’ve been waiting for this and I’m so excited to share these free resources with you.  Please feel free to share this material with someone, use it to lead your own study offline, or share/comment on the blog to add your voice to the conversation!  This chapter is all about digging into YOUR stories and backgrounds, and I’d love to hear whatever you feel comfortable sharing.  Check out the video to learn a bit more about the heart of the study and chapter 1.

Happy “Gray Faith-ing”!

Experiment #1:

Write a summary of your own life story- be as brief or detailed as you want.  Consider how your childhood laid the foundation for your current identity and beliefs.  Allow yourself to dwell on the emotions that arise and give yourself permission to question things that you may have been afraid to question.  There’s no right or wrong in this space; you are simply an explorer, searching through your past to find pieces of who you are today.  As you write, ask God to begin to show you where your faith might be a bit plastic or built on certain assumptions of the Christianity or faith you grew up with.  If you feel comfortable, share your story with a friend or your small group.  

 

Chapter 1 Study Questions:

1. What’s your story?  Who are the people and circumstances that most shaped your life and faith?

2. In the first section of chapter one, I talk about how “good Christianity” lied to me.  Have you experienced your own assumptions of “good Christianity”?  If so, what has made you question those assumptions?

3.Read the parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15:11-32.  Which brother do you relate to and why?

4. Whose crazy story have you watched that inspires you to step out in faith yourself?

5: What is your God-given passion beyond your means to produce or create on your own?  Whether it’s something you’re still dreaming about or you’re in the middle of living it out, I challenge you to share that dream with someone and let them pray and journey with you.

6.What does it look like to accept brokenness, doubts, and mistakes as part of our journey of faith?  Do you believe that as Christians we’ll always have room to grow?

7. Are there any beliefs that you hold in your head that you’ve struggled to experience with your heart?  What’s one small step you could take to embrace that belief physically, instead of just mentally?  

 

Bible passages for further study:

Luke 15:11-32 (The Parable of the Prodigal Son); Deuteronomy 6:1-3 (Passing Faith to our Kids); Proverbs 22:6 (Raising Children); Galations 3 (Faith vs. the Law); Matthew 9:13 (Jesus came for sinners); Luke 18:18-35 (Heart vs. Rules)

(All study material in this blog comes directly from the “Gray Faith” book.  If you’d like to purchase a copy or ebook, click HERE!)

How Many Shades of Gray Faith?

No, the answer isn’t 50.  At least I don’t think so.  It’s a gray area.

Understanding and finding more of God is a process, and we need to give ourselves permission to seek God where our answers seem to run out, where our expectations aren’t quite met, where we can simply be our honest selves.  We might gravitate towards black and white answers and easy spiritual growth- but in my experience, we’re missing so much of God in that safe and sterile Christianity.

I believe we find a lot more of God in the shades and tones of gray, at the end of our control, at the end of what we think it means to just be a “good Christian”, at the end of the simple answers we’ve believed in our head but missed in the depths of our soul.

If you’re looking to step out and meet God in the middle of real life and mess and questions this summer, I invite you to join me for an online “Gray Faith” book study this summer starting Monday June 26th!!

Here are just a few shades of gray you can expect to explore as we go through the 8 chapters of the book:

Gray Beginnings:  Are we believing the lie of “Good Christianity”?  What have we picked up from our spiritual beginnings? What have we grown up believing and how can we critically question those beliefs and spiritual routines in a healthy way?

Gray Christian Culture: What have we been raised in the church to believe?  How has our “Christian culture” shaped our view of God and others, and are we brave enough to step outside of that culture long enough to see the parts that honor God and the parts that may be keeping us from fully experiencing Him?  What are those outside our Christian culture really seeing and hearing from us?

Gray Church:  What does it mean to be part of a church or body of Christ?  How do we handle disagreements and denominations, loving each other and loving the world?  What does it mean to balance each other?  Does God have a one-size-fits-all plan for how church looks?

Gray Sin: What does it truly mean to love a broken world?  Does that look more like waving a protest sign or sincerely listening to people we may not agree with? What does it mean to acknowledge that we’re all broken and need grace?  How do we keep our hearts in check before a Holy God?

Gray Evangelism: What does it look like to “share our faith” with others?  Do we need an exciting before and after story to impact people?  What motivates us to share God with others?  How can we share physical love with people that goes hand-in-hand with our words?  Where have we gotten “evangelism” twisted?

Gray Expectations: What are some of the expectations and assumptions we’ve come to make about God?  Do we perpetually think He’s unhappy with us?  Are we frustrated with Him for not blessing us the way we thought He would when we followed Him?  Our expectations have the power to reveal our true beliefs of God- and wrestling through those expectations honestly helps us find God more intimately.

Gray Walk: What does it look like to grow and change over time with God?  Where are the places that God has been changing our views or opinions?  How do we continue to find God in each season; the waiting and the receiving, the loss and the joy, the beauty and the ashes?  Can our process with God lead us to crave His presence even in the ups and downs?

Gray Answers: At the end of the day, on this side of eternity, we simply won’t have all the answers.  What does it mean to humbly walk with others knowing we don’t have all the answers?  What does it look like to encourage friends without trying to fix their problems with the “right” answer?  How do we handle difficult questions like why God allows pain and suffering?  Can we trust that God is big enough to meet each us uniquely precisely in the gray?


The beautiful thing is, if you’re the extrovert kind of person who wants to get a group together and go through the study with friends, go for it!  I’ve done the study with friends and absolutely loved the raw, genuine conversations that came up.

But if you’re the kind of person who still feels a bit uncomfortable asking gray questions in front of others- if you’d rather just wrestle with God in the privacy of your own home wearing your sweats and a tiara (hey, I’m not judging!) then you can absolutely follow along on your own.

Either way, here’s what to do to JOIN THE ONLINE STUDY:

  1. Optional: Purchase a “Gray Faith” book (paperback or kindle version) here: Gray Faith Book (Note: you can still follow along with the study videos/questions without having a book.)
  2. “Like” my facebook author page, where I’ll be posting all my updates and videos!
  3. Check into facebook every Monday for a new video and FREE weekly Study Guide downloads on my blog!
  4. Comment on the weekly video to join the conversation, challenge others, and open up about your own process with God.  This is one of the most exciting parts for me- really getting to connect with YOU and hear your heart.
  5. Share with friends!  If you know someone who might be interested in joining, or if you find encouragement from the study, please pass the news along!

Thanks so much for checking in; I can’t wait to start this “Gray Faith” journey with you all.

Of Bear Meat Bacon and Spring

It’s been too long since I posted, but I assume you’ve all been caught up in that little thing called Spring that so distracts and inspires us that we’re prone to ask, “Facebook…hm…what’s that again?”

Anyway, between the warm weather and the dangerous coffee levels, I’m suddenly motivated to do all the things, like start writing a new book, create my dream pinterest writing nook,

deep Spring clean my house, and bake birthday and Easter treats.  

“Um…Hello Chocolate!  And you brought your friend, Peanut Butter? Please come in!”

Speaking of treats and Easter, I’ll share a completely random story with you about our family Easter ride to my in-laws’ house.  Somehow the topic of pigs and bacon came up and my seven year old daughter lamented from the back seat that, even though she loved bacon,she wished we didn’t have to kill pigs for it.  When I asked her how she would prefer to get bacon meat, she said we could kill bears for bacon.  (I think in her head bears are slightly more sinister than the pigs she has met, and are therefore better candidates for killing off.)

My six year old son quickly chimed in, “No, You have to kill the right thing!”  (Translation: Bear meat may not be a suitable bacon substitute.)

Then the three year old, not to be left out, piped up, “Bear Meat, Ew!” (Except he said it more like, beh mee, eww!)

My ever ethically sensitive daughter capped the conversation by trying to rationalize the killing of the bear; She’d invite him to help her pick berries, and if he proved to be a lazy bum slacker, she’d employ a jaguar or panther or some other wildcat to take him out.  I’m surprised sloth is so far up there on her list of unforgivable sins, given her pitiful reaction whenever I ask her to clean at home.

Anyway, where were we?  Right, Spring and doing all the things.  I’m excited to share a couple opportunities with you if you’re feeling creative and inspired yourself!

First of all, I’m running a free Non-fiction Writer’s Workshop on Saturday, May 6th, 9:30-noon, hosted at Kainos Life Ministries in East Hampton, CT.

I’ll be working through the 101 of how to explore your unique voice and audience, as well as give simple tips to improve and share your work!  You absolutely don’t need any experience- this is just an opportunity to step out and meet others with a passion to write, and hopefully grow in confidence and direction while you’re at it!  If you’re feeling adventurous, click HERE TO REGISTER and get more details! There are also several other creative workshops to sign up for if writing isn’t your thing!

Second, I have people lined up through June, but I’m still looking for more of you to share your stories as part of my Friend-Post Fridays Blog Experiment!  Every 4th Friday I’m posting a guest blog entry written by friends and family; I believe there’s something powerful in speaking our stories, and really listening to others around us.

The sky is the limit- if you missed my first Friend-Post, you can check out what my cousin shared about his experience with PTSD, but your post can be anything from your thoughts on bear-meat-bacon to potty training, to how you adopted or what your passion in life is!  If you’re interested or even have questions, send me a message and I’d love to connect with you.

And make sure you check out next week’s Friend-Post written by my own brother, Ben!  

Finally, because I’m feeling super-ambitious, I wanted to let you know about my plan to launch an online study of my book Gray Faith over summer vacation!

For 8 weeks, I’ll be posting a weekly video on my facebook page and hope you’ll post your thoughts and interact with each other as we go!  Stay tuned for the official June launch date, and if you’re interested spread the word and grab a discounted paperback or kindle version so you’re ready to start!

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping in!  And if I you got distracted somewhere in the middle of the bear story by the Springy outdoors…I completely understand.

“Gray Faith” Third Space

I haven’t updated about the book enough- partly because I’m taking my sweet time with the final edits!  Apparently books don’t publish themselves- I’m making a mental note of that.

Still, my projected date for the book launch is actually June 23rd– just a week away!!  (But stay tuned, because that date may shift slightly.  We’re on Carrye time here.)

But I’m here to share beyond this book.  After writing for awhile and realizing that a book was miraculously unfolding, I began to wonder who this book was for- what this book was for.  Even beyond who might READ it, what purpose could this book have outside of myself?

And there’s a million and one things I could give to, right?  An organization that supports the homeless, or that raises awareness about issues like human trafficking.  Or maybe I could find a place that empowering teens and changes families.

But could I also find a place that matches the heart of my book?  Could I find a place that is open to everyone, and fosters real questions about the good, the bad, and the gray of life?

Turns out, I know a place that is and does all of the above (cue drum roll, please….)

Epoch Arts!!

epoch arts

If you’re in the East Hampton CT area, chances are you’ve at least heard of Epoch.  But for those who have never been, I’ll tell you why I want to give half my proceeds to this amazing place.

Epoch Arts is a place for children and teens to explore
their creativity through music, art, theater classes, dance and performances of all kinds. They march in a parade in our town every year and hold open-mic nights for teens.  There’s a little bit of everything!  (It also happens to host a pretty awesome homeschool group as well.)

char daddy daughter 2016
                My husband and daughter enjoying the annual “Daddy Daughter Dance” at Epoch

But that’s not REALLY what Epoch is.  Epoch is alive.  It’s a community that takes you in- just as you are- and says “you’re safe here”.  At the same time, it’s a place that calls you out of your comfort zone, to BE what you have the potential to be, and it challenges you to really see those around you.  That’s how the community thrives and grows.  Because one person and one person and one person, team up, create beauty, love one another even when it hurts,and breathe life and hope into the world around them through their collective creativity and passion.

Throughout the year people at Epoch find regular, everyday ways to make the world better, but every year they put on a specific “Arts Response” to issues that are relevant to our community and beyond- human trafficking, AIDS, drug and alcohol awareness, homelessness, and more.

I’ve performed in plays myself there, but mostly I’ve witnessed the creativity and I’ve never come away without being changed.  And I’m not just changed by the art, but by the people themselves.  Whenever I enter that place it’s like another home- I’ve seen teens that want to go every day just to BE there- just to be part of whatever is unfolding, tiny or grand.

The people?  I’ve found myself standing side by side with people I’d probably never encounter if left to my own natural tendencies.  Because it’s so easy to be with people I know and who think just like me and look like me.  But Epoch has an amazing way of bringing people together, and lives are made richer as we share who we are with others, and our preconceived ideas about others break down.

And I’ve heard the questions.  Because it’s a safe place to ask them. Questions about the what and the why and the how.  Conversations about those things that we all need to ask but don’t always think we “should”.  I’ve seen the wrestling through the pain and the hurt and the really ugly parts of life.

And so I know Epoch is what I want to encourage through this book.  And whether we raise $200 or $2000 or beyond, YOU get to be part of the magic of this little corner of my town!

So thank you for being part of my community, for all who have encouraged and loved and supported me.  And thank you for making it possible for me to love another community out there in my own little way.

And If you’re in the area and you’ve never been, I can’t tell you enough how amazing it is!  I’ll bring you there myself and give you a tour. 🙂

luke epoch 2
            Me and my son at the kids’ “Mad Hatter Tea Party” at Epoch- We’re ready to show you around!!

 

The Heart of “Gray Faith”

So let me start by saying, YES, I’m posting a mock-up picture of the cover of my book at the end of this blog as promised.  (Thanks to so many of you who were awesome enough to give me some feedback about my book title!)  But don’t be like kids that open the present without reading the card first……….. Based on your awkward silence, I’m pretty sure most of you just cheated and peaked anyway.  I forgive you, mostly because I suspect that the picture might appear next to my blog link anyway. So much for the element of surprise.

Anyway…as we’re closing in on roughly a month till publishing, I just want to share a bit of my heart for the book with you.

Gray Faith started out as a journey to write my story, but I’m realizing it’s quickly becoming a quest to find out about YOURS.  The more people I encounter, the more I’ve found that everyone has a story of searching, asking, digging.  I’m constantly marveling at how the uniqueness of our stories always seems to intersect in the quest for genuine, for love.

I’ve found that people actually respond better to messy honesty than plastic perfection.  As my friend Kathy recently said about life in general; “We are tired of being advertised to.”

We want answers, but not platitudes.  We don’t want some quick bandage statement to make us feel better for today.  Right?  We want something solid that we can stand on, not just in the sunshine, not just in the rain, but when the flood is completely surrounding us and the downpour isn’t letting up.

My faith has given me hope, but I had to test that hope in the fire of questions, in an honest wrestling with God.  My journey has felt to me at times like a divine experiment.  Maybe your story is different from mine, but I believe that for all of us, our most genuine belief is often forged through times of uncertainty and struggle.

I recently came up with a possible back cover “blurb” for the book.  (Or whatever technical word authors use for blurb.)  People, I panicked over this because, Lord knows, I don’t have the gift of “succinct”.  But I’ll share this with you now because I’m hoping this idea resonates with you.  And even more, I’m hoping that soon I’ll get to read a whole bunch of your own stories of gray faith, wherever you are at:

Is your faith more like a script or an experiment?  Knowing all the right words and actions might make us feel good at first, but does it have any power to change real life?  Is it big enough for broken people, a deeper purpose, suffering and uncertainty?  

What if all of the answers we know so well are keeping us from really experiencing the God we claim to follow?  

Gray Faith is the story of the questions and struggles that taught one pastor’s daughter to trade in good Christianity for something messy but genuine.  It’s an invitation to bring your own questions and imperfect stories and find that you aren’t alone.  

It’s OK for faith to be a journey where we learn a little at a time and still make mistakes.  It’s OK to ditch the script and find God in the questions.”

Original Artwork by Jeffrey Burr

(I hope you enjoy my husband’s awesome design!  The man is amazing.  I simply ask that you don’t post the picture yet aside from re-posting the blog, until I’m able to finalize the picture and publish the book!  Thanks so much for your ongoing support and encouragement.)

  

 

 

Enough Questions to Fill a Book

Have you ever been annoyed with someone who seemed like they had all the answers?  The more confident someone is in their perpetual rightness, the less interested I am in what they have to say, even if they’re right about an awful lot.  But if someone is open to dialogue, I’m all ears.

I have my own answers, sure, but it turns out I’m a question girl.  I prefer to sit with people and discuss- dig up questions and variations and explore the whys and the exceptions.  I’d rather wrestle through an issue for myself than take anything at face value.  (Maybe that’s my fatal flaw…I’m open to discussing that with you.)

Questions shape my whole life, but especially my faith.  I’ve spent my whole life surrounded by Christianity, but it turns out God is not simply absorbed through going to church regularly or memorizing all the Bible facts.  I actually grew up thinking I was the one with all the answers- but all my head answers seemed to lack any power to fully change me.

But when I approach my faith with all my honest questions- when I wrestle through the hardest places of my life- I’m finding a God that is much bigger than the Sunday school answers, the head faith I’ve always tried to climb out of.

Maybe you’ve been there?  Maybe you grew up going to church…religiously, you might say.  Maybe you’ve believed in God for a long time in your head, but wondered where He was in your practical life.  Or maybe you’ve been searching- trying faith or avoiding faith- struggling with hypocrites you’ve seen inside Christianity (unfortunately, I’ve been one), or wondering if you’d ever belong in a faith gathering with all of the questions you have.  Is faith just there to make us feel better, or is there more to it?

I’ve actually spent the last couple of years writing a book about my faith story, in all it’s messiness.  I’m calling it “Gray Faith” because it truly is a book of the questions and struggles that somehow lead me to meet a Jesus bigger than the Christianity I was following.  For me, the most beautiful blossoms of my belief have flourished in honest uncertainty, in the circumstances of the winter season.

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And the exciting thing is, I’m hoping to publish it in mid-June! Of course this date is coming from a girl who can barely plan a functional trip to the library with friends for next week.  But I wanted to let you all know, especially as I’m awkwardly attempting to build an author page on Facebook to share updates and videos for the upcoming book.  And I desperately want the page to be a place where people can open up about the gray faith of their lives- whatever that looks like.

I so appreciate those of you who read my blog and have offered your own encouragement and stories. (Oh, and for being patient with me as I bumble through this technology stuff.)  If you want to keep in-the-loop about the book, subscribe to my blog or visit (and LIKE) my Facebook Author Page.  I plan to share a bit more detail in the coming weeks!