The Journey of Gray Beard

2014 was a year of continued transition for my family and me.  The end of 2013 found me moving from full-time pastoral ministry into a job as a service writer for a friend’s garage.  2014 found me settling into that role, struggling to adapt to life after full-time ministry, and enrolling in school as a full-time IT student.  I tend to think a LOT about my beliefs, and I think those transitions have really forced me to reflect even more deeply about what I believe, why I believe it, and how those beliefs impact my life.  As a result, the end of this year finds me a far different man than I think I was when it first began.

I can honestly tell you that I really struggle with my faith at times – even finding moments when I am not really sure at all what I believe.  There are moments when I truly think I keep expressing faith for no other reason than I can’t imagine my life without it.  Belief is the only reality I have ever known, and so to give it up seems comparable to severing an appendage – I just can’t imagine life without it.  I am thankful for that because, in those times of uncertainty, it keeps me from running full tilt off the cliff.

51cc33a700d53I see plenty of others who seem like they never waver in faith, who never question what is true, and who seem rock solid and unchanging in their convictions.  At times I envy those people.  To be so convinced and so unable to be moved off of what they believe seems like a place that is far less scary than where I often find myself.  For many of them, their faith is like being curled up under a fleece blanket on a plush recliner before a crackling fire.  It is a place of great comfort and warmth. Mine, however, can feel more like a midnight ride on a treacherous mountain road in a torrential downpour.  Sure, the views can be amazing, but getting there grays the beard. Yes, at times I envy those of the recliner ilk, but then again, I am rather fond of the gray in my beard.

The journey has changed and is changing me.  It has brought me to the brink of despair and the very nanosecond before giving it up.  It has led me see the world in new ways, broadening my theology, and increasing my desire for understanding.  It has given birth to a sense of raging inadequacy in my efforts to make sense of things, while at the same time breeding courage to question the unquestionable.

I have always taken the view that beliefs that do not change me are useless, beliefs that are not changing me are dead, and a faith that is not in some way developing/growing/evolving is not faith at all.  The older I get, the more I realize that I have been wrong on a lot things.  That realization alone is responsible for the lion share of changes that have taken place in my life in recent years.

My goal for 2015 is to blog at least once a month.  Each month I hope to present one list of important influences in my life.  These may be books I have read, songs, movies, or art that has inspired, or people who have impacted my life in good and bad ways.  The hope is to share bits and pieces of my journey with you as I become what I am becoming.

IMG_0264I can’t wait to meet the me that exists at the end of 2015.  I cannot promise you the journey will be a pretty one.  In fact, I can probably assure you that I will piss off my fair share of you, disappoint many, befuddle more than a few, and be the inspiration for a few hundred face palms in the coming year.  I share my journey though, because I hope that for some of you it will be inspiration and encouragement on the treacherous roads your faith travels.  May our beards grow gray together.

Symbolically speaking, ladies…

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