Tag Archives: crisis of faith

Why God Why? Faith in Coming Out (A Series)

When someone comes out, it’s world-changing moment for them, their family, and their friends. No matter what level of support there is in the coming-out process, it requires everyone involved to reflect on their role and relationship to the person coming out. For families coming from faith perspectives, this includes reflecting on their relationship with their communities of faith, to the teaching and values they’ve held, and to the God or gods in which they believe.

I recently led a conversation at PFLAG Twin Cities about the role of faith and religion in the coming our process. Here’s a little bit about PFLAG:

pflag_4c_nsFounded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy.[1]

While the Twin Cities chapter of PFLAG is not affiliated with any religious organization they do believe that people can make a difference and that treating others with kindness and patience are great virtues.

It was an open and respectful discussion about how religious beliefs change, adapt, or disappear in the face of coming out. To kick off the talk, I wanted to give the audience a different framework on how to look at religion. This was necessary to do before we delved into the way faith impacts the coming out process. I talked about three paths that the role of faith can take in the coming out process:

  1. Atheism – It was important for the people attending this talk to know that leaving faith is a natural, expected, and valid option of coming out. With this, we talked about the reasons why people leave faith and how to view it with the new framework I provided.
  2. Open, Affirming, Accepting, Embracing Faith – While some leave faith after coming out, others find it as a new source of transformation. These folks have reconciled various beliefs with their sexual/gender identity and found ways of integration.
  3. Queering Religion – I assumed that this would be new to my audience, so I took time to explain what I was offering. Basically, queering religion means that the fact of being queer means something for religion; it means a uniquely new way of looking at religion that comes ‘straight’ from the experience of queer folk. I offered questions to be considered if queering religion is really showing up in congregations, communities, and families.

So, I invite you along in this series of exploring the impact of faith in the coming out process!!!

 

[1] http://home.pflag.org/pagee8a0.html?pid=191

1 Comment

Filed under Why God Why? Faith in Coming Out

Part 1 – Intellectual and Existential Crises of Faith

If one were to survey the landscape of evangelical colleges, universities, and seminaries, and even churches, one might (just might) discover the phenomenon of many of the students having very serious intellectual and existential crises of faith. This phenomenon may occur in some institutions more than others. It will likely occur more often in an institution that is multi-denominational, with a great diversity of students from all sorts of theological (Christian or not) backgrounds. It will also likely occur more often in an institution that invites theological rigor and creativity in thought, especially in classroom discussions and in paper topics.

An intellectual existential crisis of faith is intellectual in that the theological presuppositions of the student begin to fall away or apart. The student begins to deconstruct his or her theology in the face of a developing one. This can be an especially painful time, for the very foundations or coherencies of one’s faith and theology is questioned. From this, the crisis becomes existential. In the wake of one’s theological worldview, paradigm, or system crashing down, one is left alone wondering the very purpose of life and one’s existence, for what else remains but oneself? This is a very lonely and hurting place for the young theologian whose questions have taken her or him “too far.”

But are crises of faith necessarily a bad thing? Could it be that intellectual and existential crises of faith are the steps towards a more robust faith and theology? Even though the process of questioning and answering may hurt, on the other end is the hope of a faith and theology that is integrative, holistic, and corresponds to reality better than before. The hope of a robust faith that emerges out of a challenging time of questioning can be found in Paul Tillich’s existentialist theology, his works and sermons, and in his own personal journey of developing the courage and faith throughout all of life’s many questions.

4 Comments

Filed under The Courage of Paul Tillich

New Series – The Courage of Paul Tillich and Intellectual Existential Crises of Faith!

Hey everyone!

It has been a long time since I have regularly posted blog posts (sure, I posted that parable, but my blogging has not been regular).  That was because this last quarter at seminary was an especially difficult one on many fronts; most of my readers will be familiar with some of those, but for those who are not I would be happy to share offblog.  Because of all that, I learned that to preserve what little sanity I had left, I would have to compartmentalize.  That meant no blog posts and no worrying; I needed to get the job done and end the school year well.

And now, I’m here, many weeks after the end of the school year!  I am ready and well to get back into blogging!  So, what should I blog about?  Well, I’m getting into writing parables, and so those will be posted (I have one on gifts coming up!).  However, what I think needs to be posted is a paper I wrote this last quarter. Not only did I get 100% on it (thank you Chris Armstrong!), but I think the topic is very relevant for today.  So, I will be posting the paper in sections, but I won’t be posting it verbatim.  Rather, I will rewrite the sections, and maybe add more to it.  Still, it will be a fun series, at least I think so.

So, I’m looking forward to you joining with me on this new series on Paul Tillich and Crises of Faith! We will start this Wednesday!

Oh, and let’s put in a random picture!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Courage of Paul Tillich