"We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light."
I was thrown back on my heels when I came across this quote from the 11th Century Christian Saint, Hildegard of Bingen.
Her warning is timely.
Many of us overly rely on pastors, seminary professors, or our favorite authors to interpret the world for us.
This isn’t an age specific mistake, but I attend too many conferences at which young people, in particular, appear to uncritically accept everything they hear from celebrity speakers on the stage.
Just once I’d like to hear a presenter finish a message saying, “But don’t take my word for it, these are my opinions. Take what I’ve said, wrestle with it, then come to your own conclusions.”
Here are three suggestions for those who want to think more critically about their faith.
1. Trust the Spirit of Truth
Respect the insights of gifted teachers but take responsibility to engage in conversation with scripture, tradition, reason and experience and determine for yourself, what you ultimately believe. Trust the Spirit, “he will guide into all truth.”
2. Accept You Might Not Get It Right
Truth unfolds. You will inevitably look back and decide that your initial beliefs about a faith-related issue weren't right. Accept that what you believe today may not necessarily be what you believe tomorrow. Don't worry, as far as God is concerned it's the right intentioned search for truth that matters.
3. Embrace the Terror
It’s terrifying “to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light." It’s much easier to blindly buy into what "Professional Christians" say we should believe about the world, the Bible, or the way we live.
Don't outsource your faith!
Embrace the terror that comes with taking responsibility for your own walk with God and the way you choose to interpret the world.
Then again, don’t take my word for it; this is only my opinion.
Ian Morgan Cron is the bestselling author of "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me...A Memoir...of Sorts" and "Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale." His latest book, co-authored with Suzanne Stabile, is "The
Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey of Self-Discovery" (InterVarsity Press, October 4, 2016). Follow him on Twitter @iancron.