It was during another day of scrolling through Instagram, pretty mindlessly, when something caught my eye. I follow many people who are on the theological spectrum, so I can hop from content that some would consider heretical to another bit of content proclaiming Jesus as Lord pretty quickly. This is how I stay away from the duality: I listen to many voices, bless and release the things I don’t agree with, and engage in the things I do or that are a question mark for me.
Do I always do it perfectly? Absolutely not. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the carrot in front of me that says, “Well maybe if I said it this way they would get it?” Don’t judge me too harshly, I’m a work in progress.
Back to this particular day of scrolling when I stopped on a creator who is a former Christian Contemporary Music artist turned hopeful agnostic, speaking about his acceptance of the title Content Creator at a local church and discussing it. Was it a comment or something he said? Honestly, I can’t remember, but the idea of a Pastor of Doubt came about and it smacked me right between the eyes.
Churches, Jesus followers, love their pastors. We even have Instagram pages set up to look in awe at their sneakers. It’s a whole thing. We love to have pastors of different areas too because, why not right? Pastor of Children, Pastor of Worship/Music, Pastor of Communities, Past of Diversity. So many people with the title of Pastor are meant to help the flock in whatever way they are designated to. So with all these pastors, why do we have no Pastor of Doubt? Or if they exist, why are there not more?
READ: Brian McLaren, Doubt, and Decoding
The life of those who follow Jesus can be beautiful and amazing, and that beauty almost always includes doubt. Doubting Thomas forged the way for us, allowing us to see Christ lovingly reveal himself. Jesus always allowed for doubt because he knew this life is ridiculous, beautiful, messy, awesome, fragile, broken, and put back together. It’s all the things. Jesus knew to leave room for doubt because he knew what it is to be human.
And I will say from the experience of living for a while in a certain no-mans-land of being too Jesus-y for the non-Christians and too weird for the Christians, I believe doubt is a beautiful faith-grower. Without breaking down everything I held onto by sheer force of will because I didn’t want to pull that thread, I would not have discovered how abiding Jesus and love truly are. Doubt made me see the forest for the trees. Doubt made me question and come back to what is seminal for me.
Sure doubt made me doubt everything for a time, but what kind of faith is too flimsy to withstand doubts held by others and ourselves? If faith can move one to die for it, can it not hold through some doubts and be renewed and maybe even become stronger? All of the ancient leaders in faith had doubt, moved in and through and came to the other side with more faith in what mattered. Many call it the “dark night of the soul.” What is the soul’s night, if nothing more than doubt and deconstructing something that may have been built by human thought or bad theology or just misunderstanding the Jesus of the Gospels?
I realize “deconstruction” is a hot topic right now, and many people in the church are feeling like their way of life is being called into question. But there is no need to fear those who are deconstructing – we are just figuring out our faith here. Working it out in fear and trembling. And, if I may be so bold, having a Pastor there to help us and sit with us in the ashes of our burned down faith, would probably help more people see Jesus through those ashes instead of leaving the whole pile burned and gone.