Our amazing little church here in Chicago follows the liturgical church calendar and lectionary and I love it. It is one of those things that I didn’t know I was missing from my life until it became a regular part of my life. It is almost like when I discovered dark chocolate sea-salted caramels. Now that I have had the experience, there is no going back.
This summer, however, we took a break from the lectionary and ventured into the land of the sermon series. This land is known very well in many Evangelical circles, but one we rarely venture into in our community. The series was entitled “Living the Questions”. Members from our community submitted questions they have about life, faith, God, the bible, etc and each week a different member of our congregation would take a stab at wrestling with the question. The questions were not necessarily meant to be sorted through, answered and tied up a pretty with a bow to sit on some shelf never to be pondered again. Instead, they were questions that were mostly unpacked, turned over, wondered about and perhaps thought of in a new ways. They were questions that were messy and real and uncomfortable to think about and that had no easy, tidy answers.
Brené Brown defines faith this way:
“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
I love being a part of a community that isn’t afraid of uncertainty. And maybe it isn’t even that they don’t shy away from these tricky gray areas of life, but more that these people who meet together weekly are committed to hanging in there with each other while we all ask and wade into the deep waters of faith.
I love what Richard Rohr says: ” My scientist friends have come up with things like ‘principles of uncertainty’ and dark holes. They’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity while thinking that we are people of faith!”
While some of our dear friends were asked to tackle such giants as “What do we do with suffering and pain?” , “What about Satan?” and “What is the deal with God’s wrath?” (thanks be to God that I am not a preacher), Chris was asked to weigh in on the question of “What does mission look like today?”. As a budding missiologist, it was all he could do to contain his excitement. If you want to listen in on his thoughts and ponderings, you can find his sermon here.