Friday, January 6, 2012

Glass Work and Questioning God

I'm not entirely sure of what happened to me between the time that I graduated college and the past few years. As I mentioned previously, after I graduated, I tried to avoid politics, or even difficult/controversial topics. I guess I got so caught up in working and starting a family that I went on auto-pilot and just held to a vague framework of the beliefs I'd been raised with. I have felt like it is only within the past two or three years that I really began to question my own views and sort out what needed to stay and what needed to go.

Yet, the other night while we were cleaning up the basement, I came across some old college papers I'd written. Many were for policy classes or other requirements for my Political Science major, but one was from my art elective -- Studio Experience in Glass. I actually gained very basic experience in glass blowing, which was absolutely amazing for a totally non-artistic person like me. I loved it and wish I could find a local glass studio to do it again. Anyway, why we even had to write papers for the class is a mystery, but we did. As I glanced over the essay I found, I kind of couldn't believe what I read. In my mind, I was pretty conservative -- personally, politically, and religiously -- in my college days. But take a look at this excerpt of the paper I found:

There are so many things of which I do not even pretend to have a vague understanding. My questions are at times disconcerting, yet I really want to find real answers or be left with my questions. I have reached the point in my faith where the religious cliches are not only inadequate, but they almost disgust me with the way they trivialize human suffering in the hands of an incomprehensible God.
It may seem like a contradiction to say that I believe in God and in miracles while having almost no understanding about either. I grew up in the church and I am very tired of expectations to know which Bible verses to quote when and for which answers. It seems to me that many churches perpetuate the idea that if everyone can be like the people on the stage, then our questions will melt away in the music and the prayers. However, I can't rid myself of the feeling that if I pretended to know the answers, I would really be pretending that my questions did not exist. To me, pretending that I have all the answers is much worse than clinging to unanswered questions.
I mean, what?? I don't know what the specific assignment was, I have no memory of writing that, and I was actually surprised at how similar that me was to the current me. I have no idea how I seemed to lose that for a bit, but maybe that is why the way I feel now seems SO right. The questioning, the not-conforming, the unintentionally inviting criticism.... It's not new. It's just me. I'm not perfect. I don't have all the answers. In fact, I have far more questions than answers. But this is is the real me. Take it or leave it.