I’ve been thinking a fair bit recently about the large variance in how individuals respond to going to Church and the various topics that are discussed. I struggled for quite some time with enjoying my Church-going experience (and to be honest still do on occasion). Yet, I continue to go because Church was never a social or primarily fun activity for me. At first, I went out of habit, developed by my family regularly attending Church for as long as I remember. However, I gradually began to go as an outward manifestation of my love for and commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Church was a place where I hoped to commune with the divine, a piece of grabbing on to the holy and keeping it with me throughout the Sabbath.
However, this was sometimes frustrating, when I would go and felt that the lessons or discussions were superficial or went in a direction that I disagreed with. I suppose that is the downfall of strongly holding the minority opinion. I would come away from Church frustrated and irritated, wondering how people could think the things that they do or not even consider anything beyond the surface. As I faced this continued struggle, I had a moment of inspiration, partially inspired by a fantastic piece of Eugene England’s titled, “Why the Church is as True as the Gospel”.
I realized that everyone has unique talents and perspectives and that together we can come closer to the truth. As much as I would like people to see things a little more broadly or openly, perhaps that’s not what they need from the Church. It’s also not what they bring. Yet, to find the truth, the full picture, we need to bring ideas into conflict, to feel out the contradictions and the oddities. We need to use what each of us was given for the good of everyone else.
Perhaps a fitting explanation of my belief that truth and beauty lies in conflict is in a short poem I wrote a year ago to define beauty (it’s intended to be beat poetry, complete with bongos accompanying).
A QUEST FOR TRUTH
The moonlight breaking through the clouds
The sun peaking through the gray mist
One man running through many crowds
Ambiguous as a clenched fist
A sign waiting up in the sky
A bright spot amidst the darkness
One man ready to jump and fly
Conflict asserts her agelessness
The joy of first discovery
The pain of not fully knowing
One man deep in recovery
The Search is forever flowing
A quest for truth
A search for life
Conflict brings us
Beauty in strife
If I can help provide a differing perspective than most have and provoke some thought causing individuals to think about why they believe what and how they do, then I have helped build the Kingdom. If others can bring me to question and deepen my own convictions and understanding, then they have built the Kingdom.
The thing is, all of us are needed. I need to remember that not everyone loves to question and dive into theological speculation to enrich their spirituality. To reference an overused, but effective analogy, as the body of Christ, we can’t all fill the same function- if the eyes tried to do what the hands did or the feet wanted to be your mouth, everything would fall apart. We all have a role to fill and together we make a whole. Not everyone rejoices in ambiguity. And that’s the way it needs to be. For all of us.