Before jumping into this post, let me first introduce myself. I find that people tend to be much kinder and softer with their words when they can put a face to a name. Or in this case, a face to the writer of the words. Hi! I’m Sabra. I’m a 24 year old wife, mama to a 7 month old baby girl, fur mom to a sweet border collie who recently passed away, honorary gilmore girl, coffee addict, and video game nerd. I have been walking with Christ for over 10 years and I am still learning how to be His hands and feet day by day. Okay, Let’s begin!
Recently I released my first blog post on Misfits. Let me tell ya, my nerves were shot at the thought of hitting the “publish” button in the top right hand corner of the wordpress dashboard. I wrote that post really late at night after watching the Netflix series Queer Eye. Was my emotional response dramatic? Probably. Were my feelings and thoughts valid? Absolutely.
I shared the post with my personal editor (aka my husband) and mustered up the courage to click share. I was terrified. How would my conservative friends respond? Was I too harsh on the church? Maybe I should take it down before anyone has the chance to read it. My husband reassured me that my post was not too harsh and that my friends weren’t going to hate me for being blunt. And if they did hate me, then they probably weren’t friends to begin with.
“As Christians, as followers of Jesus, you need to discover your core beliefs on your own.”
When it comes to my personal beliefs pertaining to the bible and the church, I tend to keep them to myself. I grew up in a more conservative environment and as a result I had a very conservative way of thinking. It wasn’t until college that this thought process began to deconstruct. I attended a southern Christian liberal arts university and expected the school to confirm my beliefs. However, this was not the reality.
My professors challenged me to think for myself. They taught me the Bible in ways that left my brain on a cliffhanger. I remember one professor specifically setting up a situation for us in the Bible. He presented two popular theories that addressed the situation. I remember thinking as a young college freshman, “Well, what do you think, Professor? Because what you think is what I’m going to think.”
Almost mid-thought my professor said, “And I’m not going to tell you what I believe. Because a lot of you will take that on as your own thought. As Christians, as followers of Jesus, you need to discover your core beliefs on your own.”
Talk about a whammy to my mind! All of my Christian life, I had allowed others to tell me how to believe. Honestly, that’s what I wanted! Things were so much simpler when I didn’t have to think for myself. I could relax and follow the black and white rules that were given to me. But the more that I played this statement from my professor in my head, the more I questioned what I had been told to believe.
Sometimes I came to the same conclusion as the things that I had been spoon fed. Other times, I didn’t. I began to realize that even though some passages in the Bible seemed black and white, others were very gray. It took me a while to find the beauty in the gray. Instead of being intimidated and avoiding the murky waters of unknown text, I slowly dived in and prayed for clear eyes.
When I would come to conclusions, I remember running off to discuss them with my fellow classmates. But to my surprise, I learned that if I believed even the slightest way differently from some of their theologies, I was shredded apart for those beliefs. I was shocked to find that some of my friends weren’t even interested in discussing the possibility of scripture being interpreted differently.
I have spent most of my time during and after university reconstructing my faith. It’s been a slow journey of piecing together my beliefs bit by bit. Luckily, I have had a wonderful spouse who discusses all of my thoughts and feelings with me without making me feel blasphemous and blockheaded. Tyler, if you’re reading this, thank you. You have been the greatest teacher and pastor to my soul. I am so grateful that God gave me you as a life partner.
“Dear Believer, I may not believe every single thing that you do about the bible.”
Now that I’ve shared a little bit of context with you on how my beliefs have changed, I’m ready to touch on the focus point of this post. Dear believer, I may not believe every single thing that you do about the Bible. Your deconstruction and reconstruction of faith could very well look entirely different from mine. And that’s okay!
I hope that we can have healthy, beneficial, and calm discussions about our beliefs. I hope that these conversations can be productive, kind, and honoring to our Creator. Yes, there are some things in scripture that we can both agree are not up for debate. Here at Misfits, we like to follow the Nicene and Apostles creed. That’s agreed upon by all of our bloggers. And that’s also the beauty of this blogging community.
We come from different backgrounds, different social classes, different races, different denominations, different political parties, and we have different interpretations of the bible. But we all believe in the same God who has saved our souls by grace through His son Jesus. Honestly, I find these differences so beautiful. If you put us all in a pot of stew, you’d have yourself a melting pot masterpiece.
Some bites may be a little bitter for your taste. And you may simply say, “Hmm I didn’t like that spoonful as much.” Other bites you may find tickle your palette’s fancy a little more. You don’t have to enjoy every bite. But could you imagine us in a restaurant, taking a bite of this meal and immediately spitting it out in disgust. Not only that, but we begin to spew our hatred for the stew. We are appalled that the chef would even dare to throw broccoli into the mix!
Maybe I’m taking this metaphor a little too far, but how ridiculous would it be if we treated the body of believers in the same manner? It is inevitable that in our christian walk we will come across others who don’t believe exactly the same way as us. Their opinions are not going to settle well in our “spiritual stomach,” so to speak. We cannot control that. However, we can control our response to those differences.
“Jesus loves His creation. Which fuels my desire to love His creation as well.”
Even though we are flooded by an age of “keyboard warriors” and self-righteous theologians, we still have the choice to respond like Christ. Sure, Jesus did respond by flipping a few tables here and there, but there are also countless times in scripture where He was gentle in spirit and kind in word. Jesus loves His creation. Which fuels my desire to love His creation as well. I cannot truly say that I love His creation while also calling them names over a Facebook comment section.
Now, let me swing this back around a bit and put on a more personal voice. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I released a blog about the LGBTQ+ community and their role within the church. Immediately assumptions were made about me, my faith, my relationship with Christ, and my own spiritual health. I am deciding to disregard those comments for just a moment and focus more on the hearts of those who shared their thoughts on my own character. Some readers of that post made assumptions about me that tore apart my heart. To have someone assume that I am not in relationship with God over one post is devastating.
I am not a perfect christian. I struggle with my faith daily. My flesh is so very weak and I feel that I am in a constant battle with it. But believe me when I say, despite my imperfections, that my deconstruction and reconstruction of faith was led by our Creator. Jesus walked with me (and continues to walk with me) through the hard questions that I had pertaining to His word. Some of those hard questions have yet to be answered. And that’s okay. I believe that there are other truths that He wants me to focus on for the time being.
“He quiets my soul and reminds me that my identity is found in Him. Not in what others define as gospel. Not even in what I define as gospel.”
Friends, I am not perfect at this theology thing. I still find it surprising that Misfits is allowing me to write for them. I am continually working on my attitude towards others beliefs about the bible and what they deem as truth. I feel my flesh wanting to respond with hatred more times than I’d like to admit. I have felt the rush of emotions that tell me to tear my fellow brothers and sisters apart. But, praise Him, as grace floods over my heart. Jesus whispers to me and tells me to rest in His truth. In His love. He quiets my soul and reminds me that my identity is found in Him. Not in what others define as gospel. Not even in what I define as gospel. Praise be to Him, our mediator and prize.
“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope at your calling- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”