As I perused the blogosphere yesterday, I wrote a rather lengthy response to one of the articles I read. I have been asked to share that response here and allow others to share it on their blogs as well.

I have yet to meet a believer who agrees 100% with the doctrines and theology of his or her faith community. Over the years of my own life and sometimes leadership in my faith community I have grappled with significant areas of theological disagreement and what to do (or not do) about it. Yesterday’s comment that I share below shares some of what I have learned from God about such struggles.

As you read I ask you do so without making any assumptions or conjectures regarding what specific doctrines or theology I struggle with. The lessons God has taught me around this are lessons of submission and love, not of who is right and who is wrong. I urge you instead to read this with a mind to how it might apply in your own life’s experience.

Be blessed! christine

Unasked-for advice from a 40-something fellow Christ-follower:
1. I am not the first person to experience this disconnect. Indeed, similar disagreement has come and gone for decades, centuries, eons. Some believers engage the disconnect well. Some do not. I must be in the first group (which you are so clearly working to do).

2. Although the divide in the present may appear fall along generational lines, I have always been surprised to find many older than myself who experience the very same disconnect. They just have been done talking about it (which is where you seem headed to some extent).

3. My theology comes from a place of devotion to discerning God, a great deal of scholarly study, and a strong commitment to living a life true to my theology. So does the theology of most of those with whom I disagree. I must honor that truth and forgive their sometimes ugly ways in expressing themselves to me. I hope they forgive mine ugly ways as well.

4. My theology is not perfect (although I do pretty much think I’m right). I am better off when I look for the truth present in the “other side” that may sharpen my theology.

5. In the presence of deep theological disagreement which results in significant disconnect in practice there often seem to be only two options: 1. Give in. 2. Divide. Yet there is a third option: 3. Submit to God, not man.

6. When I submit to God and where He has placed me to serve in His Kingdom, my discontent over the disconnect with my faith tradition fades. It never disappears, but fades.

7. My primary task in all things is to continually practice discernment as I follow God alone.

8. The best advice I have EVER heard regarding criticism in ministry: Avoid the temptation to defend oneself. Be who you are, listen for the truth in the criticisms you receive, discard the untruth, and allow the truth to surface on its own. Engaging accusations with defense often leads the accuser to dig in even more. Not engaging it while continuing in a godly fashion along the path God is guiding you is often disarming to the accuser.

9. All of this is incredibly HARD, often the opposite of what I want to do, and only possible in Christ. And even with all His help, I fail miserably more often than I prefer to admit (and likely more often than I am even aware).

I do not pretend to have all wisdom on this struggle. These are merely reflections from my own journey. Listen for the truth of my words, and discard the rest.

God bless you as you continue your entire journey of faith.