I am perplexed at how many people seem to toy with a religion, while not really taking it seriously. In American society today it is a hot topic: “How do you connect with God?” and “Just what exactly do you teach your children?” and “How do you handle the parts you disagree with?”
It fascinates me how people pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. Is it based on what they like, or what feels good, or what their spouse does, or what church is in the neighborhood? Is a comfortable religion often selected by fellow believers based on a good report about the local pastor by word of mouth? Is it returning to the church you were raised in or going in the opposite direction because of your revulsion to that way?
Does it matter or is it just a way to inculcate basic decency in children in the face of a drastically decaying moral order? Nearly four years ago I read a series of essays in the Utne Reader on the spiritual quest of the American people as the biggest story of the next half-century. In some ways what I read was predictable and basic; in other aspects I was astounded. It was not surprising to read of the diversity of various quests to find God and the need to rely on him in some way as they face life on this planet. The astounding part was the simultaneous nonchalance at what choice anyone made, as if it was inconsequential, as if it didn’t affect God or the individual or the course of human history. The question I have is why bother believing in God or practicing a faith if it doesn’t affect anything? What keeps people going on that track?
I noted a blasé indifference on the part of one mother “who was trying to select which myth to teach her child.” She wanted to inspire a sense of mystery and awe. I asked myself, “How is she going to do that if she doesn’t believe it herself?” In the context of the piece, it seemed like my question was irrelevant. Then I read about another mother who “didn’t want to be dishonest with her children about God.” A noble endeavor, I thought, but it didn’t seem she had much confidence in what’s true about God. It seemed like if she really knew, being honest about it wouldn’t be a problem.
I wanted to instinctively herd all these people, mostly parents, into a big tent and say, “Hey, listen! If you’re in the market for God, hold out for the one you can really believe in. Don’t settle for anything less!. Don’t pretend with your children or put up a charade ... What’s the point?
The way I see it is like this: either God is real or He isn’t. I believe He is real. If He is, I believe He has a plan and a way. I wanted to find it; I didn’t want to pretend to find it. I wanted to do one of two things with my life: either find His way or do it my way. All I can say is that I am so thankful to have found His way and know that it is His way because it is obvious. The people I live with and share my life with have love. They have abandoned everything else to follow God. He comes first and it is evident — you can see it by how they are. The results are undeniable in the people, their children and in myself — I can tell He is changing me. I’m no fanatic, but I’m glad I was able to receive faith when I saw the truth before my very eyes.
Please don’t settle for less. Your life is too precious to the One who is real. He is waiting for you if it is in your heart to be His.