We’re back into our normal schedule, and this Tuesday’s excerpt from Evolving in Monkey Town comes from Chapter 9, entitled “Survivor’s Guilt”:
Some Christians are more offended by the idea of everyone going to heaven than by the idea of everyone going to hell. I learned this the hard way, as reports about my faith crisis spread around town and rumors that I’d become a universalist found their way back to me in a wave of concerned emails and phone calls. Once news of your backsliding makes it to the prayer chain, it’s best just to resign yourself to your fate. I knew my chances for winning another Best Christian Attitude Award were all but extinct when a former professor asked me when I’d started studying Buddhism.
Privately, I felt frightened and lost. I cried out to God night after night, begging him to “help me in my unbelief.” I pressed my face into my pillow, trying to will myself out of doubt and back to faith, only to wake up the next morning with puffy red eyes and a spiritual numbness that left me absent and disconnected from the world. I hated going to church because things like communion cups or kids’ choirs or fundraising announcements triggered paranoia about brainwashing and pyramid schemes. I couldn’t seem to read the Bible without bumping into something I didn’t like or didn’t understand. Praying grew harder and harder, and I felt myself starting to give up.
Publicly, I grew obstinate and incorrigible, ready to debate family and friends whose easy confidence baffled and frustrated me and gave me an excuse to be angry at someone besides God. It bothered me that other people weren’t bothered. I couldn’t understand why no one else was stressed out about the existence of hell or angered by all the suffering in the world. I feigned surprise when my friends got annoyed that I raised such topics at bridal showers and poker games. Wherever I sensed a calm sea, I sought to rock the boat; I wanted others to share in my storm.
There’s a chance this may have alienated me from some people…[read more]
Have you ever experienced a time like this in your faith journey? How did it affect your relationship with other Christians?
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