When I was in seminary, I remember my Church History professor telling a story from when he had served in traditional parish ministry. He had preached on the humanity and divinity of Jesus. He told us that a woman, as she left the service, shared with him her view of the man Jesus walking the Earth with his Divine Self hovering close behind and above him, always present and ready to act through the man Jesus as the situation might require. He then shared with us how he had pointed out to this woman that this perspective of Jesus’ divinity had been refuted by some council or another that I suppose we had been discussing in class.
As I have reflected on that story over the years, I have imagined that woman having a confident demeanor as she approached her minister and proudly sharing how she had resolved in her heart and mind this mystery about Jesus. Then I could see her deflating as she received this “insight” from whichever council it was. Then I’ve also imagined her responding, “Well, they’re entitled to their opinion, aren’t they.” And walking away with her head held high knowing her own truth in her heart and mind.
Curiosity is a wonderful thing. Our imaginations can work out so many things, and when we can’t find resolution, we go to someone who we assume will know. And then that curiosity can be so quickly dashed by that all-knowing person of authority who might say something like, “Just have faith.” Or “You ask too many questions.” Or who offers unfulfilling, but widely accepted, answers that they have been told and which they pass on having accepted them with little personal reflection and verification through their own heart and mind.
Of course, there are individuals who refuse to accept some answers and they either go to another person or do their own research for a satisfying answer, or they draw their own conclusions. For some, this may lead to them leaving the faith or at least that church to find one that is more open to differences of opinion.
But what of those who come to their places of worship and sit and receive the “teachings” from their ministers, priests, rabbis, or imams and hardly have a conflicting or original thought in their heads about the “truths” being taught. Perhaps they have learned to submit to the teachings. Perhaps they lost their own curiosity by being countered and given the pat answers so frequently they decided, rather than leaving, to stop going against the accepted teachings. They become sponges to the teachings, and when you “squeeze” them, all that comes out is what they have soaked up from some other source, having few original thoughts of their own.
I speak with some degree of authority on this matter because I have been both the sponge in the pew and the source of the accepted teachings, until the day I just couldn’t give the accepted answer to a question posed by one of the members of my youth group. The first ever moment of hesitation and confusion I had ever experienced in relation to my faith.
I have had to work very hard to gain back my curiosity, to not always accept given truths, to question and look for answers in multiple areas and then…to speak my truth. Healing From Spiritual Wounds is my truth. If you resonate with what you’ve read here, or in previous posts, check out the Healing From Spiritual Wounds program and see if you think it might offer healing to your own wounds.