Monday, September 20, 2010

In Excelsis Deo.

Today, I think I'll do something out of the ordinary. Lay my cards out on the table and talk about something personal. There are two topics I rarely breach - faith and relationships. But now is as good a time as any. Yes, I think it's time.

I've been taking a break of sorts. I wonder if that's even possible.. taking a break from faith. I suppose it's not faith itself though, but the institution and conventions of church. Of expectation. Mostly, from the nagging sense of disappointment that seems inescapable at times. You're not good enough. You're not doing enough. How many times I've felt this over the years.

This can't be faith, I think.

Yet I love. Love without fully understanding what love is. Still desiring after His heart, wanting to do right by Him. I can't help but wonder what the correlation between faith and church really is. A dotted line connection, perhaps. I suppose that depends on how you define church. I believe it to be community, of support - a body of believers inspired by Christ. At least that's what I want to believe, despite the image of the rigid institution that has been hammered into my head from years of LA Korean Christian churching.

I'm a closet Christian of sorts. I wonder if people know. It's not that I intend to hide it, but it seems to put people off. I'm not one of them, I want to say. We're not all ignorant; we're not all judgmental. And so I go out of my way to avoid cheesy Christian platitudes, purging any traces of lame Christian music out of my iTunes. Except not all of it is bad. Sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason.

I don't feel comfortable praying openly, and that's a shame. I hear people bitch about Christianity all the time, and I merely listen and nod. I understand though.

Why have you forsaken me? I don't know, God, I don't know. Maybe I'm just weak. I wonder if what I'm really compromising is myself. Or maybe I'm still figuring it out. I feel terrible about this, but I don't want to go through the motions. I think I love you. I wonder if that's enough.

Not by works, but by my grace. Somehow, I always get this wrong. It's infuriating.

How do we know what God desires, what the outcome will be? I mean, how do we really know? How can we possibly think it's our place to make that call?

I used to teach Bible study. For five years, I worked with kids from elementary school and up. Trying to drill into their heads the importance of grace, trying to live out grace - the one thing that eluded me all these years. I want so badly for them to know it, to experience it, to bask in it. And not tie Christianity with restriction, with condemnation and perpetual disappointment. I emphasize love. I secretly laugh along with the mischievous ones. I want them to know freedom that comes through Christ. I hope they know this.

That's what I'm here in New York to discover. Yes, of all places, the concrete jungle. I feel God the most viscerally when faced with uncertainty, in the midst of change. All blessings, I attribute to him. A couple years ago, I set out to unlearn all that I had learned, get rid of the head knowledge, the lifeless commands. I want to live out inspired verses, live a life worthy of God's calling. I don't know what that is yet, but I'm searching.


Rhymes with Planet said...

Keep searching sister. ;)

jo said...

Erika, you have no idea how much I relate to this right now. It might not seem so, but I do. I echo Rhymes. Keep searching sis. :) I'll be searching too.