Guest post Tuesday! What a delight to begin the journey of looking into Holy Curiosity this year. Today’s writer, Carri Kuhn, gives us a glimpse into her spirituality, and looks at how that big idea of Holy Curiosity became a part of her story. Read, share and enjoy!
There was never a time when church and the community of its people wasn’t woven into the fabric of my life. Sunday mornings we put on our best clothes and trooped off. I even had special Sunday shoes, only for wearing to church. All week they waited in their box, shiny and perfect, for Sunday to come. Church was a place for suit and tie and pretty dresses. I loved all of it, the special feeling of dressing up and singing and listening to our minister teach us about God and His ways. I believed it all, without reservation. It made sense; it worked. I taught Sunday school as I grew older and eventually led youth group, taking kids away on camps and passing on the lessons so faithfully learned over the years.
I met my husband in the same church I grew up in; we were married there. As the years went by, we moved houses and churches. We had babies and transitioned from young marrieds into the busyness and challenge of parenting. My husband grew his career and I home schooled our boys, once again handing down the faith of my childhood, this time to my own kids. My days felt full of purpose and even though life had thrown me a few curveballs, I still carried the convictions of my youth. Doubt was something I could respect in the journey of others, but my heart and mind were settled. I would never be one of those people who seriously questioned the shape of my faith.
A time came when that changed. A near constant battle with anxiety was part of it. The everyday challenges of relationships and parenting was another. My boys turned the corner into adolescence and I wondered sometimes who they were. I had questions, lots of questions. The carefully constructed theology of my childhood didn’t seem very good at answering those questions. Of course, there were neat explanations, tidy pieces of advice. They didn’t answer the struggles of my heart. They seemed inadequate, and left me feeling increasingly angry. A series of bad experiences with church leaders made things worse. We were lied to; we were lied about. The certainty and conviction that I thought I would never lose, was slipping.
I started to allow myself to ask the hard questions, say them out loud. “Is it true? Does it make sense?” I searched blogs and articles and read books, all the while going to church on Sunday mornings, serving in various ways. I came eventually to a place where I knew that I could no longer hold onto faith in the old way. There were things I could no longer believe. To do so would mean I had to walk away from all of it. There was no choice; I just couldn’t do it anymore. There was no integrity in it.
This is where holy curiosity comes into my story. I wanted to know if God was real, if I could trust Him, if Christianity was still my spiritual home. I dared to walk down a road that could lead me away from the framework that had shaped my entire life. I began to come across practices like imaginative prayer and Lectio Divina; I realised that there were others like me, not completely at home in the church, but still deeply connected to love for God and the Christian faith. People who asked questions, who spoke honestly about their doubts and uncertainties.
I was afraid; I feared that if I continued to travel down this path, that I would somehow be a traitor. A word hovered on the edges of my awareness: heretic. So I prayed. “God,” I said, “show me if you are in this. Am I following you, or am I losing my way?” We had dinner at a friend’s home the day after that prayer. Her parents were out visiting from the UK and I had a conversation with her dad about his faith journey, about how for the past twenty-five years he had been experiencing God through many of the same practices I had been exploring myself. I sensed God’s smile, his still small voice telling me that he was leading me.
I still have questions, and sometimes feel weak and fragile in my faith. But this does not trouble me in the way it once did. I am blessed to have been part of a church community who has shown me the love of Christ. I know that God is with me in the questions, even when the answers don’t come. And that is enough.
Carri is a Capetonian, born and bred, who lives near the sea in the shadow of Table Mountain. For the past nineteen or so years she has been a stay-at-home mom to two boys, who are now entering young adulthood. As this season ends, she is exploring ways to live into the next phase of her life. She loves reading, horses and the outdoors. She volunteers for a local non-profit and is writing as much as she can. She’s been published in a few magazines and blogs here. It’s Cara again: I love Carri’s story of Holy Curiosity because she’s not afraid to ask the hard questions. Regardless of your faith preference, how did her words touch you? And don’t forget, there’s still room in our submission queue for your guest posts!