When I was sixteen, I sat on the floor of the hallway in a stranger’s home, back against the wall, next to the Youth Minister, similarly situated. Asking him the hard questions.
He didn’t have any answers, of course, (he was barely older than I was,) but he insisted upon repeating the same handful of questions: “Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? Are you active in Bible-study, both personal and corporate? Have you been baptized? How often do you pray? Have you asked Jesus to answer your questions?”
So on and so forth for about an hour, while all my peers were playing pool and foosball and hanging out in the backyard on the dock over the water and eating chips and pizza.
At age thirteen, I had said the sinner’s prayer and was baptized into my family’s faith. Throughout my junior high and high school career, I spent every Sunday and Wednesday at church. Frequently seeking a compassionate ear. Always asking those same hard questions. Always, always getting the same trite responses to my desperate inquiry. And almost always having my honest doubts dismissed, belittled, rejected.
It got old.
It’s still old. I just try to avoid those scary conversations with true, sincere believers. Especially those of the Protestant persuasion. Well, sort of.
Anyway, I read something encouraging recently (emphasis mine):
Doubt and silence has been written out of the Western view of God.
Protestant and evangelicals not only like to speak about God, they also like to assert about God. Doubt it not a part of our paradigm; thus, when somebody begins to doubt aspects of Christianity, it’s frowned upon, whereas in some Christian traditions – especially Orthodox and in some cases Catholicism – doubt is an accepted form of worship.
Holy Saturday is the Holy Day where doubt and silence is the PROPER POSITION of worship. Holy Saturday is the Holy Day between Good Friday and Easter. It’s a day when we attempt to understand what the Disciples of Christ were feeling during that dark day of death … the day Jesus was in the tomb.
A day when we try to understand, as the disciples had, the crucifixion WITHOUT the knowledge of the resurrection. When death and tragedy has cast a dark shadow on life and God, I remember Holy Saturday.
As odd as this sounds, I’ve learned to worship while doubting both God’s existence and the afterlife.
-Caleb Wilde, from Ask a Funeral Director…