Reimagining a Ruptured Faith

When I was little, I was taught by the church that our beliefs led to the only true faith. Other people may have believed differently, but how I lived as a Christian was the only way to get to God. I never really got that. I mean Jesus was a Jew and Islam grew out from the same God as Judaism and Christianity. I also have some Native American blood in me and I have a deep affinity for the Great Spirit. I simply couldn’t process how God could be so small.

As I grew and met people, I realized how vastly different each of us is. I loved that diversity! When I was in middle school I liked a guy whose skin was darker than my own. He was a great guy and I really liked hanging out with him. But our being seen together made people uncomfortable and they weren’t afraid to say so. I couldn’t understand how skin color could possibly make us incompatible.

I went on to college for music. The arts brings a freedom to embrace your true self. A good portion of my friends were in the LGBT+ community and not afraid to share their true self. I saw their gifts and sacred worth and I couldn’t understand why the church called their sexuality a sin.

I went to seminary and had a professor who encouraged us to challenge the scriptures. I considered what it must have been to be a woman when the Israelites were nomads and treated women as property. I considered Mary Magdalene whose story has been so contorted that she was changed from being one of Jesus’ closest disciples to being falsely tagged a prostitute. Reading from a place of power only allows us to grow complacent about the marginalized.

Then I met people who had been taught how to believe in a specific way. “Do this and God will provide.” “Do that and good things will happen to you.” And when a crisis came the faith did not stand against the storms of life as they had been promised.

See, this blind, narrow faith is not how the real world works. When this false god did not deliver those good things, their faith was deconstructed – a veritable volcano of pain and hurt erupting from the outer shell like Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Faith is overcome by the lava of life and our understanding of this petty god who was supposed to protect us is swept away by the molten flow.

But in these moments of crisis, I believe God can break through the wreckage to carry us into a better understanding of God’s love, which far exceeds our own understandings. Our connection to the Great Spirit may be singed, perhaps badly burnt, but still that Spirituality nudges us, asking us to question and ponder the depth of a Creator who knows us more fully than we know ourselves – and loves us because of who we are. That Spirit longs to reconnect without the constructs of a fragile faith so many teach their children at a tender age. As the molten flow cools the Great Spirit gives us new insight and wisdom about relationship with the Spirit and with the community, as well as deeper understandings about ourselves. This is a precious gift! My prayer for you is that, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you may expose these rocks forged from cooling magma and consider your own faith journey this December.

What does Spirituality look like for you?

How has it evolved over time?

What might be holding you to God, even if it’s by a thin thread?

How are you being invited to explore, even if tentatively, how you might think differently to strengthen your connection to the Great Spirit?


Blessed are those who have been through the fires.

The heat may burn away any recognition of faith or self from the past;

But in the cooling, blessed are those who continue

To seek

And question

And wonder

If there may be space to reconstruct a better understanding of faith

When faith may have been violently ruptured.

May you this day claim and embrace your sacred worth.

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