“How have friends and family responded to your book?"
“What should I say to my close friends who just don’t understand the questions I’m asking?”
“Is it possible to talk to my parents about theology and politics without making them angry?”
“I feel like a stranger in my own church; should I leave?”
These are the questions I’m asked more than any others—on Facebook, in email, and as I travel around the country speaking about faith and doubt. It seems that no matter where our various faith journeys lead, one thing remains universal: as our faith changes, so do our relationships.
And sometimes this is painful.
When I opened up about my doubts about Christianity, close friends suddenly grew distant. Rumors spread around town. People I barely knew “confronted me in love,” while those I’d grown to trust talked amongst themselves. Dan and I struggled to find a faith community in which we could be honest about our ideas, and while my online connections flourished, it took a long time for me to feel safe opening up to my new friends in Dayton. (I’m so glad that I did!) While my parents, sister and Dan have remained supportive and encouraging through every twist and turn, some of the most important relationships in my life will simply never be the same.
I’ve lost friends, and I’ve made new ones.
I’ve been hurt and I’ve been hurtful.
I’ve shared too much and I’ve shared too little.
Along the way I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve also learned a few things....so I’d like to devote several posts this week to topics related to faith and relationships.
Today I’ll just open up the conversation to your thoughts and questions. On Wednesday I’ll share some practical tips for engaging in better conversations about faith. And on Thursday I’ll be introducing you to my dad!! He's written a fantastic guest post about how parents can relate to their doubting children. (I think you’re going to love him; I sure do!)
So to get things started, I’d like to pose a few questions:
How have your relationships changed as your faith has changed?
Which relationships have changed the most?
Are there any questions/ issues you would like us to address over the next few days as we tackle this deeply personal subject?