Not long ago, a Lutheran pastor named J. S. Setzer wrote a book with the provocative title, What's Left to Believe? It's based on the premise that people want something to hold on to in a world of science and technology, in a world that changes so rapidly. I agree with his assessment. Never before have I sensed among people a more intense quest for a meaningful and personal spiritual awakening.
It was a theology professor who made me face up to that. I took with me to college a faith that was secondhand, and that professor began to ask me questions I had never had to answer before. Like a castle of sand, almost everything I believed began to crumble. Through a long night of searching, prayer, and study, I struggled to build it back. For a long time, I was angry with that brilliant man because of the mental anguish he caused me.
But I now realize that, unwittingly, he had been my most valuable friend. Because I developed a faith that was real -- and was mine. I learned that it was all right to ask honest questions about the Bible and never to be afraid to subject our beliefs to the test of intelligent thought.
You see, sooner or later, life is going to force you to ask the questions. It may not be a religion professor; it may be some deep, dark, and overwhelming crisis that comes flooding in on your life. And if you have a bargain-counter faith, if you don't know where you stand, if you're not dead sure about your faith, then it will let you down. I've seen it happen too many times to too many people. Let me tell you: no one escapes the storm. And if our beliefs don't support us in the storm, then they're worthless. You need to develop a faith that's real -- and one that's your own.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas