Stepping off the straight and narrow

Stepping off the straight and narrow August 25, 2020

(In these first Grace Colored Glasses posts, I’d just like to briefly talk about how I went from law colored to grace colored glasses.)

Where were we? Ah yes, the cliffhanger.

What do you do when suddenly everything you thought you knew turns out to be a lie? I mean, I was taught that when trouble comes, you gotta pray harder. God will make it all better if you have enough faith. This did not feel like one of those times.

God was one of the things that I thought I knew. Prayer was another. But now, both seemed very distant and unfamiliar. I’m not saying I didn’t believe in God anymore – I did. I just didn’t know what to believe about Him. And prayer? Hard to do when you are bewildered about God.

I spent several weeks I think – it was all a blur – reading Richard Rohr (see last post), thinking, and talking to the dog. This Christianity that Rohr described, I never knew it existed.

This new-to-me Christianity is not about sin and salvation, knowing the right answers and doing the right things. It’s about connecting with God and others in a way that isn’t about me getting it right.

A Christian friend posted on Facebook around this time – dead serious –

I woke up this morning and immediately stepped into cat puke. And I said, “O Lord, what else do you have in store for me today?” 

This is, in a way, the narrative of my old life. God orchestrates it all, lines up the details elegantly, so that it all works together – somehow – for my good. If stepping in cat puke doesn’t seem “good,” my faith must be weak. God only gives us what we can handle, so obviously I should be able to handle cat puke.

If real tragedy strikes, that’s God’s will too. I just need to have enough faith to get through it.

Well, I started losing faith in this narrative. I took a tentative step away and was not struck by lightning.

Then I did the opposite of what I’d always been taught. All the “liberal” Christian authors I was told to avoid, those who dare to disagree with my conservative professors (at Christian college), I sought them out! (I mean, I’d already read a Catholic book, so…) I actually read Amazon reviews and ordered the books that conservatives gave one star. If they said, “don’t waste your money on this book,” I wanted it.

To be continued….

Featured photo: “Path” by Guerito is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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