Today’s post comes with a disclaimer. I don’t think this post is as much about practical tips for worship leaders as it is about my own personal “stuff.” I hope that’s helpful too.
Today was one of those days. Scratch that, the past few days have been “one of those days.” You know the ones. You wake up and it just doesn’t seem like your day. It’s not as a simple as a bad mood. It’s one of those days you’re just convinced that everything you believe in is just wrong and you’re a complete fool for believing it. I find those days usually have something that sets me off.
Today it was this weird trail that started with a picture of Frank Schaeffer, whom I’ve never met, but who wrote a book called “Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion” (affiliate link). I read this book about 10 years ago after reading some works by his father, Francis Schaeffer. If you grew up in a Protestant church in America during the 70s or 80s, you’ve probably heard of him.
I remember how I felt when I read that book. To sum it up, the younger Schaeffer left the Evangelical traditions of his family and joined the Eastern Orthodox church. The book told his story and made what I thought to be a very angry case for why the Orthodox Church was the one and only true Christian Church. This may be a sign of how impressionable I can be or have been, but I do remember for the first time really questioning my relationship with God and wondering if I simply lacked the depth I could have if I only joined back with a much richer tradition. After all, as Schaeffer put it, what the Orthodox church has going for it is an unbroken line of Apostles that can be traced all the way back to the original 12. I’m part of Vineyard, that apparently likes informality so much that it can’t call itself a denomination How could that compare with what Schaeffer found?
This is only one example, though. There are times that I’ve felt the same feelings seeing a book by Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens on the shelf at the book store, like it’s taunting me. I have less patience for those men and can’t say I’ve read a full book from either of them. It’s easier not to be affected by them when they’re so extremely militant in their views. I admit, though, that sometimes I just want to accept their arguments and give it up entirely.
Today brought back all those feelings – doubt, panic, fear, uncertainty – but at the same time, I was reminded that I don’t know everything and never will. In the end, it’s not even the most important thing. I’ve tried to make the case on this blog that worship is about a relationship with Jesus. In the end, that relationship has its ups and downs, just like my relationship with my wife and son and friends and family. There are days I’m convinced that nobody could possibly love me and that relationships are just too hard. In the end, I don’t have to justify my relationship with Jesus any more than I have to justify my marriage. I just have to choose to be in them and to come back to the table and engage.
In all fairness to Scaheffer, he seems to have let up a bit on his Orthodox dogmatism, although I think he can still be pretty harsh toward Evangelicals in general, and I think growing up with a genuinely over-the-top family can tend to sour your views on the beliefs you grew up with.
Anyway, I know enough to know I’m not alone here. I know there are plenty of other doubters as well. I’d love to hear more stories from the rest of you.