Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Radio Dialogue - Day Four

Following is the manuscript for our WWIB "Reflections" show.


Remy; Okay, if you are joining us for the first time, I'm here with Christine Ruth and we are talking about why people don't attend church.

Christine, so far we've mentioned three reasons why people don't attend church. What are they?

1. People want to be engaged in a discussion or conversation and not simply told what to think.
2. People are busy and use Sunday morning to either relax or work.
3. People have had a bad experience.

Remy: Well, you told me that you quit going to church for a while. Why was that? Didn't you grow up in the church?

Christine: I think another way the church has done a disservice to my generation is to somehow making us feel like once we become Christians, there’s no room left for doubt or questioning. I grew up in a committed Christian home where my parents did everything “by the book” when it came to raising us up in the faith. But when left for college, I went through a very deep period of questioning and doubt. I began studying world religions, especially Buddhism and Taoism. One day, I called home to announce to my parents that I was no longer Christian, but Buddhist!

Remy: Wow. What did they say to that? Did you blow them out of the water?

Christine: No. They did something very courageous. For the next year, they just listened to me and asked me questions without overreacting, even though I’m sure they were terrified inside. A couple years later, I recommitted myself to my Christian faith in a much deeper way.

Remy: So, do you regret that time spent in Buddhism or was it a good experience for you?

Christine: I believe that time of doubt and wrestling not only gave my faith much “stronger legs” to stand on, but it has allowed me to get into very thoughtful and empathetic discussions with many of my non-Christian friends, many of whom seem to gravitating today more towards Eastern religions than Christianity. Frederick Buechner wrote in his book, Wishful Thinking, “Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don’t have any doubts, you are either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.” I think the church needs to be a place where people are committed, not to giving simple, black-and-white answers to difficult questions, but a place where we can come alongside one another as fellow pilgrims on a journey. It should be a place where doubt can open our eyes and lead us to a deeper reexamining of our beliefs.

Remy: So doubt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can see how God has used it in your life. Thanks for sharing that. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell my own story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God Bless The Whole World
No Exceptions