It is almost traditional for men in their middle-age to reflect on their lives with a level of disappointment. What have I actually achieved? What has been the point of my life? What happened to all those dreams I used to have? Is that it? Might as well buy a Porsche…
We may reach a similar point in our faith journey as well. What do those worship song lyrics even mean? Haven’t I heard all those sermons before? What, actually, is the answer to the question of suffering? Is this as good as it gets? When people ask, “How’s your walk with the Lord?” you simply feel annoyed. Why does my faith seem so completely at odds with the way other people express theirs?
For those grappling with questions and doubts, the church can sometimes represent all that is disagreeable about faith: a lack of imagination and free thought, judgemental attitudes, an avoidance of engagement with the real world and peer pressure for everything to be fine (because to admit it’s not is almost blasphemous).
What can be done for those going through a mid-faith crisis or, as I like to call it, the menopraise?
The answer, as so often, is community.
Although we like to think that Jesus is the answer to everything, Jesus does not exist in isolation. He is part of the divine community. If God cannot exist without community, neither can we.
I am very grateful to belong to Freedom Church, a community which, in my experience, does not represent all that is disagreeable about faith. I can ask my questions, I can express my doubts and I don’t feel judged. Rather, I find that people engage with me and join me on my journey, at least for a while. Freedom Church doesn’t require me to believe a list of things before I can be part of the community. Rather it is being part of a loving community that helps me to work out what I believe.
I have personally enjoyed listening to a podcast found at www.midfaithcrisis.org. It is put together by two old friends of mine, Nick Page and Joe Davis. With lots of humour and honesty, they develop a conversation between themselves and their growing audience exploring different questions, beliefs and doubts, trying to work out what is really important. Do try it out and let me know what you think!
If you find yourself wondering whether this is really it, if you have doubts and questions, please don’t avoid talking about it. You are not alone. If you can find no-one else to talk things over with, come and find me!
I wonder if this will be the only blog post that doesn’t contain a Bible reference?