Last week, I mentioned starting a series on the Essentials of Faith. This time last week, I said that the foundation to faith was grace in the post Grace Is Not Just Unmerited Favor. Today, I start out with the first thing I consider necessary to faith and that is an open mind. However, an open mind is something easier said than done as I think we’d all agree.
Church of the closed-minded
I think a lot of us would characterize the Christian Church in America this way. I wouldn’t openly argue with you. I think there are a lot of people white knuckling their faith. I don’t at all consider my faith journey typical, but I’ve only come across the opposite. Allow me to explain.
The mudslide of discovery
I was intent on finding something to cling onto upon entering college. Emotionally, spiritually, I was a wreck, but I’d grown up in the church and I’d heard all the stories and the right answers. I wanted desperately to cling onto what I thought was about the only thing left that hadn’t washed away in the tumultuous years preceding. I began exploring my faith in my dorm room, in Bible studies, church. It didn’t leave me more secure in what I knew. In fact, it tore down most of it. I felt like I was witnessing an unstoppable mudslide smothering my soul. The last bastion of comfort and familiarity was slowly, surely sliding out from underneath me and burying me.
The seeds of an open mind
Exploring my faith wasn’t comforting me. In fact, it was unsettling me. I became depressed, but I felt my heart being called to carry on. So, I trudged on with an open mind, and a heart following. Six years later, and I’m still discovering and rediscovering my faith. However, the depression I suffered has long lifted. The fact of the matter is: my faith is in an infinite God and I can never know Him fully.
Open mind and an infinite God
This isn’t daunting or depressing. In fact, it’s comforting. At no point will He fall short. At no point will He become stale or boring. There is always more. He is always bigger, stronger, more loving, more interesting, more amazing. God does not fail because He is always greater. I am understanding this more every day. At the same time, I realize I understand Him less every day. This is the paradox of the soul. I am content in Him, but I enthusiastically await the next time He will blow my conception again out of the water. This, my friends, is why an open mind is crucial to the life of faith. Without an open mind, our God cannot be more than the depiction on a stained glass window. And that is not our God.