Tuesday, January 9

Protestant Guilt

Being from a Catholic background I thought I was familiar with guilt. However, at least that guilt came with a clause whereby I could utter a few half-hearted hail mary's and be on with it (not meant to be an accurate depiction of the Catholic faith, just my own experience).

The last semester (or last 8 months I suppose) God and I took a little break from each other. It had come to the point where I couldn't remember what having faith felt like and I was tired of trying to reach God. I still had all of the head-knowledge but couldn't say whether I believed it. Strangely enough I can say that I believe that if there is a God then it is the Christian God and that Christ came to earth to save us from our sins but it really is true that knowing it intellectually isn't the same as knowing it 'in my heart'. It has taken some time but I can see that a large contributor to this time of disinterest in my faith stemmed from extreme guilt. This guilt was surrounded by performance guilt. Sharing my faith was not something to do because it changed my life so wholly that I could not help but tell others but out of obligation. Failure to do so with my family caused great distress, especially when I would go home and instead of focusing on improving my relationship with them and showing them God through my life I would be looking for chances to slip in the whole gospel but each time shying away.

Assurance of salvation, another concept that I could teach but not accept. The guilt of teaching it to others and even the shame of being involved but constantly doubting my own salvation made me ask God why he would give some the ability to accept this gift and not others.

Another confession: I dislike Christian literature. THe early Christians had the Bible and the teachings of elders and others but they didn't need to emmerse themselves in John Piper to make their faith relevant. But everyone is constantly reading all of these 'how to be more effective at sharing your faith' books and the guilt would set in because I didn't feel like I could be a good or productive Christian unless I got joy from reading these. I have so little time to read, what if I just want to learn about science and art and history too?

So I have taken a step back. I thought that I would just get over this lull and continue mostly where I had left off but that wouldn't have solved any of the questions I have or reassured me. God and I are starting to talk again, slowly. I am not going to actively seek to share my faith, I may not even yet refer to myself as a christian (should a christian not represent Christ? I do not wish to misrepresent him while I am seeking myself), I am not going to try to read books on evangelism or tithing or anything else except the Bible. I'll go to churh. I may not worship, I may. I am seeking a relationship with Christ. If and when this becomes a reality in my life, if and when I can say that I love Christ as my saviour (I never could say this, thus another source of guilt and questioning) then out of that love I will call myself a christian and I will share my faith with those around me.

Here goes the great experiment. I will be standing at the door, knocking.

1 comment:

Heather MacGregor said...

Katie,
after reading this entry by suggestion from someone, I found myself feeling raw. your desire to know and meet Christ on your own terms, not those of an organized religion, brings me to tears. i am eager to hear what it's like when Christ opens the door to your knocking and you come into his presence. i'm proud of you katie. don't give up!