What To Read When You Are Questioning God And The Church

I have written before about my joyous leap into freedom, into the truth that God is within us… always.  And yet, there are times I just don’t think I have articulated it well enough; the desire that is borne inside of you at that precise moment to shout it from the rooftops. You desperately want everyone to know about it. Freedom. Love… real and compassionate love!

When I read about others who are making this same journey, I find that they at times will pen into words the very thoughts and feelings I struggle to convey. So I thought I would highlight a few of them here for you and others who may be on this same journey, the one that finds you questioning and knowing there is something wrong, something… else. Know that you are not alone. Read, and then read more.

One of these is a blog by the name of BrandonChase.net; Brandon’s site is reader friendly and chock full of his journey, which as recent as just last month has taken him even further into the light. He is also a wonderful writer who conveys a message with clear, concise direction that will bring you back to read again and again. He, like many of us, is on a path to something that brings him closer to God than ever before:

“I’ve never known with such conviction that something was True, and needed to be shared – and yet struggled so much to come up with the word combinations with which to share it.”  

“Things are different now. New. Better. Good.”


 

I want to introduce you to a brilliant scholar, his name is Bart Ehrman, a James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (here’s his About page… yup, brilliant guy, that one!). I can probably thank Dr. Ehrman for single-handedly ushering me from believing the bible is somewhat inerrant but still somewhat-kinda-maybe-sorta divinely inspired to full-out concluding that the bible is quite simply a historical text comprised of many, many ancient documents synergized into the book we know today by various scribes and authors, mostly men (maybe a couple of women), most of whom are unknown to us and none of whom are probably who we think they are.

Most interesting is Dr. Ehrman’s own story of how he went from an evangelical, believing Christian who was educated at Moody Bible Insitute in Chicago, Wheaton College and then Princeton Theological Seminary acquiring his master of divinity degree – training to be a minister – and, eventually, a Ph.D. in New Testament studies to the self-proclaimed agnostic he is today. Let me say this, it is rare to find an unbeliever, non-christian who treats the bible and it’s followers – and yes, most evangelical christians follow the bible, seldom Christ – with as much dignity and respect as Dr. Ehrman. Although he may not believe the bible is the inspired word of God as the majority of christians purport, he has and displays an incredible form of reverence and respect for the book as an ancient text. (You can read about his journey to agnosticism via the free sample on his book God’s Problem on Amazon.com – I am reading this book now and it’s… Just. Wow! Review to come…)

Dr. Ehrman’s website is full of some of the best research and study on the New Testament available on the web. Most is available to everyone, but he does have a subscriber section that allows you his most recent active research to include debates and his thoughts on his upcoming books (I am currently reading his backlist). I am a member and I appreciate that the small (and I mean cheap) membership fee is 100% donated to charity! But even if he didn’t donate the proceeds I would still pay the price of admission, it’s worth every penny.

(The following excerpt is from the public portion of his blog post Symbolism in The Book of Revelation EhrmanBlog.org):

“The reason Revelation seems so weird and unusual to readers today is that they are not familiar with the genre. But there were numerous other books like the book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of John), in which a human prophet was shown the heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities.”

“The author was not writing for those of us living 2000 years later. He was writing for Christians of his own day, telling them to HOLD ON! – for just a little while longer. They needed to remain faithful…”


 

I like to refer to Micah Murray as a modern day King David, lamenting and repenting, out there for the world to see. I love how Micah has always been full-out honest in his journey to find God, losing Him, then finding Him again… it’s gritty, heart-wrenching and always thought provoking. He’s also poetic with his prose – seriously, he spills his heart all over his poetry, so beautiful – and his journey started with his strict evangelical upbringing that led him to the Institute in Basic Life Principles run by Bill Gotherd and homeschooled prior to that in the same vein. Micah talks very plain and blunt about the abuse with the IBLP ministry and all things related. If you have ever known the suffocation that comes form being an active member of a cult-like church and the agony of crawling and scraping your way out, you will appreciate Micah’s website (MicahJMurray.com):

“I hate the Bible the way one nearly drowned hates water.

It almost suffocated my soul.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to read its pages again without feeling the air disappear from my chest.

Maybe.”


 

I happened upon the website ZackHunt.net back when it was named The American Jesus, for which I loved it already 😉 it came across my Facebook feed (one of the very few things that made Facebook worth it) and it’s one of my bookmarked faves. Zack has rebranded his site but it’s still chock full of snarky wisdom regarding the usually errant church and its shortcomings. Zack still has his big toe not-so-firmly in the evangelical church but he too is on a journey. His telling of current events through the lens of the questioning christian is always thought provoking and he makes it fun which isn’t something you usually say about a website described with the words current events and christian.

In a recent post, Zack gives us 10 Reasons Jesus Would (Probably) Be An Outcast In Today’s Church – very good stuff!

“He didn’t just say he loved people, he actually loved them through his actions. But as famous as Jesus was for embracing people, we in the Church today have become just as infamous for those whom we refuse to embrace. It’s a reputation we hate, but unfortunately is all too often deserved because whether we realize it our not, we spend far more time arguing about who’s in and who’s out than we do embodying the boundless love and grace we claim to cherish so much.”


 

JimPalmerBlog.com :  Jim has a book, Inner Anarchy (love that name), that is on my to-be-read list. From his website (and, man, do I agree with this!):

“We need inner anarchy! There are mindsets and belief systems that are ruling us from within, and lead nowhere. Their day is done! They have to go. We must tear them down. Jesus demonstrated the way 2,000 years ago… that was until the Christian religion got a hold of him and twisted and obscured his truth.”

There are many more and I will start keeping a roll of my favorite sites that promote truth and enlightenment in my sidebar, adding to it frequently. 

Again, read everything. The pros, cons, good, bad and ugly. Don’t stop questioning, seeking the truth. And remember… you are not alone!

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