It doesn't always get better?

I have been listening to NPR's piece on "Losing my Religion" this week as I get ready for my day.  I have been looking into the rise of the "none's" (those without religious affiliation) for a couple of years. So I find the information to be quiet informative, especially to hear how so many people are struggling with the faith of their childhood that in many ways painted a black and white theology, where questioning wasn't welcomed; where blind faith was accepted.

I didn't grow up in such a tradition where questions were not welcome, in fact my first run in with a religious group that shunned those who question came in college.  I got kicked out of that Bible study and eventually found my way to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that has a rich history of debate and questioning not just of the meaning behind biblical texts but also how the biblical texts informs our decision making today.

As my exposure to more fundamental Christian has grown I have also been exposed to a type of theology that teaches us that with faith life will get better, literally.

This doesn't jive with my current reality.  Horrible things happen to us and to our family members.  Last year was a particularly difficult one for my family.  What I have found is that while there is so much that happens to us that is beyond our control, what we can hold onto is a faith in God who is with us through the hard times.  The Psalms are rich in this type of theology, of God being with the persecuted.  The individual stories in the Bible are woven together by a larger narrative that tells us that God hears the cries of the oppressed and is present with them.  So while faith doesn't keep us from harm, it can help us to deal with the bad things that are flung at us and in a way being able to control how we react can help things get better, at least our perspective on life can improve.

The Bible is also rich in stories about the power of faith communities coming together to discern God's call in their collective lives.  So my hope and prayer is that for those who have been damaged by people in the church that have told them that they have to believe a certain way to be "in", to keep looking for places where they instead will be welcomed with all of the complications of their lives and all of the questions in their heads into a community of faith.

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