From the Vicar_October 2012
Posted by on Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Under: Vicar's Monthly Letters
Yesterday I was asked by someone, "What do I say to relatives of mine who say they just don't believe?"
That's extremely common now, isn't it. People very often tell me that they believe that there is SOMETHING, but they have no idea what. I also have people say to me, "I wish I could believe."
In times past they were often told, "Just believe. Don't question. You must just have faith." But I think its fatal to say that; we DO question and we need to question, and surely faith grows from questioning - if we do it in the right way. And it's no use just bashing people down with Christian dogma which, though perhaps true, just make them feel all the more on the outside. I like to ask them what they DO believe if they can't believe in a God, and then tend to say, "This is what I find to be true for myself . . .". People who are questioning also need to know that we question too, that we don't live in a happy goldfish bowl of utter acceptance. And then we need to let them question us if they want, rather than try to foist the whole gospel on them in 30 seconds. In the Bible I see Jesus giving an example of this: with the woman at the well he courteously challenges her but leaves her to decide whether or not to take up his challenge and to ask him questions. We can only try to point people to God, then give them the space to look for themselves. And ask God to be at work!
May God help us to say the right things and not to put people off!
With best wishes,
Vicar's Monthly Letters
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