FUMC New Albany | 207 East Bankhead | New Albany, MS 38652 | (662) 534-2206

The Pastor’s Pen

Sunday was incredible. It’s hard to describe just how wonderful it was to see 10 young men get their Eagle award at our 11:00 a.m. Boy Scout Sunday Service. And then they walked over to join the other men from our church who have previously attained the rank of Eagle.

Dozens and dozens of men lined the wall of our church as a very public witness of the positive values Scouting instills in young men and communities. On the way home, my son Jack told me he was going to do all he can to earn his Eagle award as well. I’m happy to be in a church that supports the Boy Scouts of America.

Of course, we had a packed house at 11:00 a.m., and at all services I addressed some pretty tough topics—from the violence in Charlottesville to how we behave when we disagree with one another. I had many good texts and e-mails from those present, often with some pretty insightful questions.

Here was one question: What about the times when I am unsure whether my personal beliefs line-up with the teachings of the church?  First, remember that doubt makes you human. God is patient with us, and his love is unconditional. Doubts and questions are part of the human experience. After all, it’s called faith and not fact for a reason.

Now, also realize that the teachings of the church in most cases have been formulated over several thousand years of shared experience. From generation to generation, core teachings have been consensual and conciliar, meaning that people in all places and all times have agreed to their veracity.

So what do you do if you are struggling with the concept of the Trinity or the church’s stance on this or that matter? I recommend that you ask God to show you how the teachings of the church are good and holy. Dig into scripture. Participate in holy conversation with a person you are certain has a close walk with Christ. Ask God to lead you to belief.

Also remember that God’s love is not contingent upon your understanding every jot and title of Christian theology just perfectly. T.S. Eliot has good advice for us here: “For us there is just the trying. The rest is none of our business.”

Trust that our God who is slow to anger and who abounds in steadfast love for us is moving in our lives even before we perceive him to be near. And for that grace, we ought to sing the doxology. Amen?