[If you haven’t been following the emails I’ve been sharing between me and my friend Jenny, you can click HERE to read Jenny’s first email and then go through and read the rest in order (they are all linked together). You might notice from the time stamps at the top of each email that we seemed to stop writing after only about 3 days, but we have actually continued writing (although not as regularly) for the past six weeks, and we brought a few other people into the conversation as well. After struggling to coordinate schedules, four of us actually got together at a friend’s house last week to have dinner and a really interesting conversation about a lot of the questions in these emails. I sent Jenny an email a few days ago to thank her for bringing everyone together for a great conversation and ask her if it was okay to share some of our emails here (her response is below). I want to thank her for allowing me to share these with you, not only because it is a bit of a window into her life and faith (and that can be a scary thing to share with people, especially in a space like this), but also because I think her specific thoughts and questions express the way many people think and wonder about God’s role in their lives and the world. Although I realize I don’t have any of this figured out any better than the next person, I hope someone got something out of reading all these emails. If you have thoughts you’d like to share (or questions you’d like to ask) in response to anything in particular, or even about the conversation as a whole, please leave a comment.]
Subject: Re: Can I share?
Date: Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 1:22 PM
Hey Andy. I don’t mind at all if you use portions of our emails on your blog, and thank you for taking time out of your night to meet with us. I think one of the biggest things I came away with last night was the fact that faith is more of a journey, and not a destination. I think I kind of already knew that, but many of the things you shared really drove it home for me. I know life is very busy, so I really appreciate you taking the time to meet last night!
If you would like to continue reading or thinking about the questions and issues raised in these emails, I would highly recommend the book Letters from a Skeptic by Greg Boyd. Boyd is the senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and this book is a collection of letters between he and his father (who was not a Christian at the time). In the relatively short time I have taken issues of faith and theology seriously, I have found very few people who are as knowledgeable and understandable as Greg Boyd. If reading a book – or even buying a book and putting it on your bookshelf with the intention of reading it someday – seems like more of a commitment than you’re ready to make right now, I gave a 20-minute sermon on the question “why keep believing?” at Journey a few weeks ago (responding to several of the questions and doubts that often trip us up in our faith). You can listen to it here. (Note: In no way am I trying to imply that my short message summarizes Boyd’s book or even compares to his level of communication, but it’s just an option for anyone looking to think more about all this — I suppose it’s also a shameless plug to get people to listen to my sermon, but I can live with that.)
Whether you listen to my sermon or not, there’s something I’ve been wishing I had said in that message, and even though it doesn’t necessarily fit here, I’m going to share it anyway…
I believe God loves the whole world (John 3:16 says, “for God so loved the world”). I also believe God is present and active throughout the world; even in remote villages that missionaries haven’t visited yet, or nations where people aren’t waving the flag of Jesus Christ. God loves the world and God is doing the best God can do–given the current situation of the world and who God has to work with (us)–to make positive changes in the world.