Monday, March 2, 2009
A stitch in time saves nine...and maybe even a soul or two.
' I should have paid closer attention in Temporal Mechanics class at the Academy, Number 1. Just once...maybe we could avoid this kind of trouble!'
I took a trip back in time last night. No, I’m not flashing around through the time/space continuum like some of the characters on Lost or what seemed like every episode of Star Trek: The Pepsi Generation…my time travel was more an empathic journey back to a time in my life often referred to as the Dark Years in my writings.
After church services last evening, I was drawn to an open discussion among a group of 6 or 7 about the defined Biblical roles of women in the church. The discussion, however, took a drastic sharp turn when the central, commencing pperson began to question the validity of the Bible. The ‘If the Bible is written by man, and man is fallible…’ argument surfaced rather quickly and steered the exchange onto a completely different path.
My history with this person is fairly deep. I’ve known the young lady for most of her life, and I’m very good friends with her parents…best of friends. She is going through that period in life where, mostly as young adults, we begin to question things…seek answers on our own. I have a very healthy respect for this often troubling period in life. I could clearly see evidence of her internal strife…and it began to weigh very heavy on my heart.
Let me back up…I stated ‘mostly as young adults’…but that may not be accurate. There are a number of credible studies showing the drastic drop off in church attendance when young people get to a certain age, but I’m curious how the hypothesis applies to older adults in a period of spiritual struggle too. Today, there are far more sources of antagonistic information pertaining to Christianity. Some are subversive little digital invaders into our very homes. Although there are many, I believe one of the more inconspicuously dangerous sources in also one of the most popular…The History Channel.
(GASP)…’But I love The History Channel!’ Well, you’re not alone. Many Saturday afternoons have been served (or wasted depending on your point of view) by yours truly taking in several episodes of Modern Marvels or a Dogfights marathon. The shows I finding troubling, however, are the ones like Banned from the Bible, How the Earth was Made, and The Universe. There was also a lengthy fascination on The History Channel with The Da Vinci Code as well. The placement of these programs among shows of hard-fact, historical events lends a deceptive credence...though the shows are unfounded and opinionated.
For mature Christians rooted well in their faith, such shows rarely present a challenge, but for a person at a point of struggle in their spiritual walk… programs like these can be extremely undermining and dangerous. Yes…as Christians…we have the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help with discernment, but never underestimate the power of our enemy. Satan is powerful and uses moments of insecurity to plant seeds of doubt. Seeds that can eventually grow and completely disrupt the balance in our personal spiritual garden…okay that metaphor was a little too much on the Zen-ish side…sorry.
Faith can be hard enough without the constant tug of the world wanting us ‘to come out and play.’ I called this young lady after we left church and offered her a few words of encouragement. ‘You are not alone in what you feel. Doubt is something all Christians experience. You will work through this and be a stronger Christian.’ All of these came out…as you would expect…but maybe a few you wouldn’t.
I encouraged her to go back and look at how the Bible was canonized in depth, the processes involved in translating the versions we have today, and even the events around the Protestant Reformation (she seems to be struggling with differences among church denominations too).
I also steered her away while she struggled from the New Age thought that ‘we can all be right’ and prosperity gospels like Olsteen and Dollar with their ‘little gods’ messages. I warned her of the dangers of websites and television programs that could either be misleading or just malicious in nature. ‘Know your source’…that might have been the best advice I gave…unfortunately, I found that one out the hard way on my own.
Please pray for my friend…but also for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with their faith. And thanks… to those of you who prayed for me… during my Dark Years. My love and appreciate for you could never be overstated or enough. God is so great.