My wife and I eagerly took in Donald Miller’s new movie, Blue Like Jazz, on our date night last week. Don probably doesn’t need a “save the date” for Oscar night, but the story was moving. Challenging. Sobering. And artistically well done.
(In fact, if any of my non-christian friends want to take in the film, I’d love to meetup for a coffee conversation afterwards. My treat. Seriously, call me).
Three days later, I met with a campus ministry leader here in Indy that vulnerably shared his own story of leaving the faith in college and returning only after a serious bottoming out. A massive crisis of conscience and faith that literally took him to the brink. It was eerily similar to Miller’s screenplay, and not unlike many of the stories I hear over lunches and coffee shop tables every week.
Church was forced on me.
Church people are (oblivious) hypocrites.
Church avoided the uncomfortable questions I was actually asking.
Church was just my social connection.
Church taught me information about God, but that’s about it.
For far too many, until the crap hits the fan, until the bottom falls out, until they make an absolute mess of things – until they have a crisis of faith – they never really know God for themselves. They may be connected to the culture, but they’re disconnected from Christ.
Personally, I never really had one of these Blue Like Jazz periods. Or did I?
I was a by the book kid. Don’t rock the boat. Play by the rules. So for me, a crisis of faith didn’t manifest as an 8-month rave party. (What can I say, even my breakdowns are safe). But just because I never spent a year sowing wild oats doesn’t mean faith and me didn’t duke it out.
And I’m starting to believe everybody should.
My daughter is 13. She’s starting to look more like a woman than a little girl. And to make things worse, she’s smart (she just won a school award for her cognitive reasoning skills…God help us). How can I, as a pastor but more importantly as her daddy, walk her headfirst into her own crisis of faith? Yes, I’m serious.
How can she start tackling the hard questions she’s inevitably going to ask?
How can she take on her doubts?
Together over the next 5 years, instead of alone in some college philosophy class.
So that her faith becomes more than a way of life I’ve hung around her neck. So that it becomes her own conviction and not just a mimic of mine. Her own thought through, lived out, real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That kind of strength only comes from stepping into the tension.
Is it possible to force a crisis of faith without creating a heavy bag of regrets you’re forced to carry through the rest of your life?
What do you think?