Monday, October 23, 2006

Doubt vs. Conviction

"Doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite--it is a passionate exercise." - John Patrick Shanley

Sarah and I saw Shanley's play Doubt a few weeks ago but I failed to read the essay in the program. Jeff recently saw the play and quoted the essay on his blog. The quote above really struck a chord in me.
If you've been reading my blog, you know that I've been experiencing a lot of doubt. Doubt about God and what he's up to. Doubt about whether he really does love us all or even if he really exists at all. I don't know that I agree with the quote when it calls doubt courageous. I feel no courage in me these days...only fear. But I do agree with the idea of conviction being a resting place. For years I trudged though this world standing on the Southern Baptist convictions that were so entrenched in me. It was a bit of a resting place for me although there has always been a tinge of doubt residing in my soul. But the last couple of years have been a rocky, roiling turmoil of doubt. A storm at sea with few eyes for a brief respite. Despite all that, I am glad that I am not in a place of resting when it comes to my faith because that would indicate that I feel that I have arrived (as Paul said). Quite the opposite is true of me. I am constantly in a state of learning and also in a constant state of realizing that I know exactly nothing.
So give me the stormy seas of infinite doubt over the rock solid Sabbath of conviction. If, through doubt, I continue to seek answers, then that will encourage growth. That also means that I can expect growing pains. Instead of resisting, perhaps I should embrace this doubt and ride it's everlasting waves. Through doubt, perhaps I will regain my faith and find God again. And if so, let's hope it's a new level of understanding and not the old comfort zones I left behind. Growth hurts like hell but I guess it's time I accepted it.

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