On the Thursday afternoon before Easter every year the Southern Baptist Church I attended for the last twenty years constructs this cross of white and red gladiolus. It is erected in the darkness so that early on Good Friday it is in full display in all it’s glory. Many times I’ve helped to construct this beauty. It is still beautiful to me.
For the first time in at least the last fifteen years I didn’t attend church on Easter Sunday. In fact I probably haven’t been to church but once or twice since last Easter. That was an odd feeling for me. It was so strange to sit back and watch and listen, struggling with my faith, knowing I didn’t believe exactly as those around me any longer – yet not knowing what it was I did believe. It seemed surreal. I felt like an outsider even though no one else there had any idea of the thoughts running through my head.
I’ve noticed in many of the writings of my fellow travelers of this path of doubt and changing belief a theme that runs throughout Evangelical Christianity. There are those who litter their posts questioning, or better yet, diagnosing their condition. “You were never a real Christian,” they say.
What these naysayers cannot conceive of is that there are folks like us. People who were dedicated to the Cross of Christ. Those of us who were Sunday School teachers, preachers, music ministers, deacons, and devout lay people who ate, slept, and breathed our Savior. We studied our Bibles, prayed without ceasing, listened to sermons, home schooled our children, took every Bible study course we were offered and sincerely chased after the Christ. He was our Christ and we were His.
That is, until we weren’t. There wasn’t one cause, one event, one disappointment. Most of us weren’t even disappointed or hurt or disgruntled. It was a crack in the claims of Christianity here, and gaping hole there. It was a process of accepting what was staring us in the face and grieving the loss of what we’d once held so dear. Even if we haven’t completely decided there is no God, we’ve learned that Christianity isn’t as black and white as we believed and we’ll never be the same. Christianity wasn’t just a part of who we were, it defined us.
What I’d like to say about all of that is that I know what I believed. I know that I loved Jesus. I was sure that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and raised on the third day. So you doubt whether or not I was a real true believer. *Shrug* If your God is real He knows what I believed.
If I wasn’t saved, how can you be so certain you are? I was certainly convinced. Was it a deception of Satan? How do you know you aren’t being deceived? Maybe that’s what makes you so uncomfortable with the idea that there are those of us who insist we were Christians and that now we are not.