I just saw this image on my friend Kelley’s blog… it’s a line of lyrics from the song “Wrecking Ball”, sung by Miley Cyrus.
This past weekend, I hosted a confirmation retreat with about twenty 9th and 10th graders. On the final afternoon of the retreat, each student spent a couple hours journaling about their faith, their doubts and fears, and where they see God at work in their lives. It was during this weekend that I actually listened to Wrecking Ball for the first time– a song written by 7 talented writers.
Here’s a version of Wrecking Ball mashed up with Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man” (for those of you unwilling to admit that anything Miley Cyrus sings has merit on its own):
The emotional depth to the line, “don’t you ever say I just walked away, I will always love you” has absolutely been hitting me as I’ve read some of the faith statements the confirmation students have been sending me.
This week has provided me with some really wonderful opportunities to engage in incredible conversations with young folks about the doubts and questions in their musings about faith in life. These conversations are sacred moments to me; the opportunities I have to listen to their reflections on life experiences and share about my own? I wouldn’t give them up for the world. I’ve been reminded over and over again about my own questions and doubts– both from when I was younger as well as right now– and that you can either have these conversations and wrestle with life’s big, unanswerable questions in a community of people with whom you share a mutual love, or you can try to take it all on yourself and allow fear to lead to loneliness, anxiety, narcissism, or whatever else.
“Why does God let bad things happen? If bad things happen, does that mean there’s no God?”
“I think I believe in God, but not the devil.”
“Maybe hell is here on earth, and we get little sneak peeks of heaven while we’re alive.”
This kind of stuff is just absolutely golden. And I’m reminded that the direction in our relationship with God is always from God to us. I really dislike the whole concept of “blind faith”, because it requires us to ignore the questions and doubts we have. Blind faith doesn’t encourage conversation and intellectual growth within a community. Blind faith allows us to become very insular people. Being encouraged to “just have blind faith” probably turns more people off to the idea of Christian community than it does strengthen faith.
When we have an engaged faith (as opposed to a blind faith), we ask questions. We share our doubts. We encourage each other. We become community– the kind of loving, connected people I think God probably calls us to be. When we have an engaged faith, we begin to see that life isn’t a test, and God isn’t some sadistic master puppeteer, but rather a loving spirit constantly reaching to us:
“Don’t you ever say I just walked away– I will always love you!”