Church is a place, a community, in which to celebrate belief, to grow in the faith you have. That is both necessary and blessed. But at its best, church is also a place, a community to work one’s way toward belief, or to acknowledge one’s lack of faith.
One of my favorite writers is Christian Wiman. As poets go, he is famous--he edited Poetry magazine for years. He has been an intellectual and academic--at Northwestern, Stanford and now Yale. But after being diagnosed with cancer, he also became a Christian believer . . . sort of, some of the time. Wiman’s is not a faith of certainty but of seeking, not of doctrine but of experience. He writes: “My old ideas simply were not adequate for the extremes of joy and grief that I experienced, but when I look at my life through the lens of Christianity—or, more specifically, through the lens of Christ, as much of Christianity seemed (and still seems) uselessly absurd to me—it made sense. The world made sense.”
Faith, for Wiman, is not believing this or that about God. It is a receptivity to God, a response to God’s mysterious presence. One poem begins: The more I think the more I feel Reality without reverence is not real. My favorite Wiman line is:
“I need a space for unbelief to breathe.”
That is what church can be! Sure, a place to celebrate belief and grow in the faith you have. But also a place for unbelief to breathe, where you will find patience and kindness as you search, struggle, and practice reverence.
If what you need is a space for unbelief to breathe, come and find it here, and patient companions for the journey.