Responding to "fixers"...when you don't want to be fixed

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

So last week I received quite a flood of responses to my post,Why Calvinism Makes Me Cry – both on the blog and in my inbox. I’m happy that the post started such a lively conversation, and I appreciate all who contributed so thoughtfully to it. Thank you!

As is often the case when I write about confronting doubt or questioning certain theological traditions, I got a message or two urging me to stop asking so many pesky questions and just enjoy the bliss of absolute certainty that should accompany true faith. As one reader wrote:

What makes me cry – mostly Christians who like Jacob limp through life because they wrestle with God when they should just let Him bless them,  who live like spiritual paupers when they could be enjoying the abundant life that Jesus came to give them, but rather who live like they are unbelievers; having no heavenly Father to take care them.

Usually, my first reaction to these kinds of messages is to get defensive and frustrated by the fact that critical thinking, compassion, and honesty are so often presented as liabilities to faith within the conservative evangelical community.  But I sensed from the tone of the message that this person truly cared about my well-being and that his heart genuinely breaks for people like me who seem incapable of simply accepting what we are told.

After a pretty lame attempt to explain to him how doubt has actually enriched my faith over the years, how walking with a limp has made me more dependent on the steady shoulder of my heavenly Father, and how I don’t really want to be fixed if being fixed means accepting without question or concern the notion that God creates the majority of the human population for hell with no hope for salvation, I decided just to turn the response over to you guys instead. 

How do you respond in love when good, well-meaning people want to “fix” you for having questions about theology?  How do you respond when you share your deepest doubts and fears only to be told that those doubts and fears make you a weak, ungrateful Christian? And how do you respond when, deep down, you’re a little afraid that it’s true?

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, check out a great post about doubt and faith on Kathy Escobar’s blog, and the fantastic new Web site devoted to Anne Jackson’s very cool“Permission to Speak Freely” project.

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