Tag Archives: reading

Courage to Doubt

Last week I read a Relevant article called 4 Things Jesus Never Said which I enjoyed tremendously and highly recommend that you read. My biggest take-away from this all-around great post was in the second section of the four things Jesus never said under the subtitle “Doubting is Dangerous”.

The author reminds us of our biblical friend “Doubting” Thomas  and the notorious moment where earned that nickname, then neatly follows that up with a reminder that Thomas was not the only disciple to doubt, quoting Luke 24:11 in which all of the disciples “couldn’t believe” that Jesus had been resurrected.

What stood out to me was this bit,

All the disciples doubted, but Thomas was the only one with the courage to admit he needed proof. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). And when Jesus finally encountered Thomas, he did not rebuke him. Rather he gave Thomas what he needed. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds, and only then did Jesus tell him he could stop doubting.

The beauty of this is Thomas had an encounter with Jesus none of the other disciples did. He is the only one who touched the wounds of Jesus, because he had the faith to doubt. Nowhere does Jesus condemn doubt; rather he meets people right where they are in it.

Courage to admit his doubt… faith to doubt… interesting.

Very shortly after reading that article I came across a video of Simon Sinek on the subject of serving those who serve others (which I will post below). I have, for years now, been a fan of how Simon Sinek teaches about leadership and stumbled upon this particular video while looking up things about his new book, Leaders Eat Last. This video is long (and totally worth watching all the way through) but in the first 10 minutes I heard something that reminded me of what I had just read in the previously mentioned Relevant article.

In response to being asked how he knows so much Simon describes how he’s learned to ask questions so that he can simplify complex ideas into something he can understand. He references a story from his own life in which he was challenged to go 48 hours without lying, not even employing “little white lies” to avoid humiliation. He points out that we all lie this way constantly, telling waiters that our food is good when really it wasn’t because we don’t want to create a fuss, or telling a friend that we’ve heard of the film/music/what have you they’re speaking about when we haven’t to avoid looking out of the loop. In the middle of this challenge Simon had an appointment with a speech writer for a politician and as soon as they sat down the speech writer asked how much research he had done before this interview. Under normal circumstances, not being in a no-lying-challenge, his answer would have been something like, “a little” in order to avoid looking unprepared, but instead he answered truthfully that he done no research and the woman went ahead to fill him in on on the details he needed to know.

His point was that, had he lied, he would have missed out on hearing vital information and that we feel so much pressure to have all of the answers all of the time that we miss opportunities to know what’s most important.

After hearing that I thought of Thomas and what if he had, instead of expressing his doubt, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sure, it could be true.”? Maybe Thomas would have encountered Jesus in the flesh and it would have been enough to convince him. Maybe. But because he wasn’t afraid of looking like a fool or a coward, Jesus reached out to him and said, “Here, touch me and don’t just believe that it’s me, know

I wonder what our faith would be like if we had the courage to stop trying to spiritually save face, to stop pretending that we have the answers, and we could face our fears and our doubts at the feet of a God who has infinite love and mercy for us. I wonder if we could be brave in this way how God might extend his nail scarred hands to us and give us the opportunity to not just believe in him but to know him.

I do deeply desire the kind of faith that follows Christ out onto the surface of the sea, but I also want the kind of faith that looks to the Father as a child and can say, “God I don’t have the answer, I don’t understand what you mean here, I don’t know what I believe, please show me!”

What do you doubt?

What do you not have an answer for?

What do you not have the strength to believe?

Can you, can we, be like Thomas?

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Just a little quote…

I’m reading Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning right now. It’s one of my favorites, I’ve read it at least twice before. I read this bit this morning and wanted to quote it here. Enjoy =)

It is of immense importance to understand that every word spoken and written about God is delivered in the language of analogy. In any divine analogy, there is a similarity between the human words used about God and the reality of God himself, there is also, however, a radical dissimilarity. What is affirmed in one breath must be denied in the next. For example, we liken divine love to human love. The similarity induces us to think that we are getting a grip on God’s love. And yet, though human love is the best image we have, it is utterly inadequate to express the love of the Infinite. Not because human love is too sugary and sentimental or because it is too passionate and emotional, but because it can never  fully compare with that source whence it came- the passion-emotion love of the Totally Other. The more we let go of our concepts and images, which always limit God, the bigger God grows and the more we approach the mystery of his indefinability. When we overlook the dissimilarity, we begin to speak  with obnoxious familiarity about the Holy, make ludicrous comments such as “I could never imagine God doing such a thing,” calmly predict Armageddon, glibly proclaim infallible discernment of the will of God, and trivialize God, trimming the claws of the Lion of Judah.

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A linktastic post: Things you should read

I’ve been working on a couple different projects for the blog this evening that are taking a little longer than expected, but until I get them finished I thought I’d post a couple of things that I think are worth reading….

From the Exodus Blog , a post by Exodus International President Alan Chambers- I think it’s a good example of thinking the way Jesus thinks.

Also from the Exodus Blog, Julie Rodgers’ story about Choosing Life Not Death . I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting Julie and listening to her speak, and I love her passion and enthusiasm!

I wrote a post for FaithVillage called Why I Shouldn’t Exist that I don’t believe I’ve posted here, oddly.

And last, but certainly not least, this is an awesome song and the lyrics run through the video, so you can read along! (See, keeping with the theme of things you should read)

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