I have been thinking a lot about faith recently.
To provide some perspective, my faith story is probably similar to a lot of people: I grew up in the church and grew up believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that by His grace I am forgiven of all my sins. I went to Bible college because I did not know what else to do with myself, and I spent six years studying the Bible. Following graduation, I became rather apathetic about my faith. Honestly, I was confused by all the Biblical training I had received rather than enlightened. So many Christians are divisive about theology, and I did not know what to think about a faith that had seemed so simple when I was 7. I still believed, but I let my faith take a backseat to everything else going on. Only recently have I started making a daily habit of reading my Bible and praying again. I believe that faith is not easy nor for the weak-hearted. Sure, I still have a lot of questions and uncertainties, but I believe that part of what makes faith so beautiful is trust - a trust in God that goes beyond my need for questions answered.
Now that you have the background, let's jump to the present day.
Forrest and I were very unexpectedly witnessed to last night.
I knew it was bound to happen, we do live in Idaho after all; however, I was surprised by how unsettled it made me feel.
I don't know if I felt weird because we were in someone's home and there was no polite way to escape or because I was not expecting it and did not know how to respond.
What I do know is that when the gentleman started to read from the Book of Mormon and I saw my daughter watching and listening I wanted to clasp my hands over her ears. I was afraid. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was afraid.
I keep thinking about this reaction, this fear. My roots tell me that this reaction is normal because Mormonism is wrong, Christianity is right. Perhaps there is truth to that, but it does make me wonder how other people feel about my faith. When I have been so bold as to share my faith with some unsuspecting person, have I made them feel uncomfortable or fearful or even angry? I don't know.
Do I admire this young couple for sharing their faith even though I could tell they were nervous to do so? Yes, of course! Do I have the same boldness to share my faith right back? Unfortunately, no. I am fearful to share my faith (though I am doing it right now) because I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable.
Hm. I don't think that is a very good reason. It is a good excuse, but not a very good reason.
Life is full of people making people feel uncomfortable. So, maybe the heart of this matter is the heart behind the matter. Is it my intention and desire to make people uncomfortable because I'm right and they're wrong and they better conform to my way of thinking?! Hell no. Is it my intention to share my faith and my beliefs without any judgment of the other person? Yes. I want you to know me and that includes the very personal and uncomfortable piece of faith. But shouldn't that also mean that if I want to know you I should be okay with your personal and uncomfortable piece of faith? We can agree to disagree?
Forrest and I have talked about this witnessing experience quite a bit and we agree on something very basic - we like and admire this young couple and wouldn't mind spending time with them; however, they need to know that we're not interested in converting to Mormonism just like I'm sure they're not interested in converting to Christianity. It all comes down to respect, I suppose.
This topic makes me very uncomfortable. I realize that some of you reading this do not share my beliefs and might be offended by what I am saying. I don't want to offend you! Now that I think about it, the young couple who shared their faith with us probably did not want to offend us either...but they did it anyway. They did it respectfully, and I admire them for that. I only hope that I can do the same.
If you're interested in more details about what I believe, I'd love to share them with you. You can either leave a comment or email me at elizabethcheri (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thanks for reading my ramblings.