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My friend Matthew Paul Turner posted a review today of O Me of Little Faith, written by his friend Adam Ellis. (Disclaimer: I know Adam, too, having interviewed him for a Daily Beast article last summer.)
In his review, Adam brings up a very good point. Personally, he identifies strongly with the subject of the book. “On one hand,” he writes, “[Jason] seems to have unknowingly written this book about me. I am a confirmed doubter.”
But on the other hand, “…not everyone is like me. I’ve found that some people aren’t given to such incessant questioning, and that the things that are issues for me aren’t issues for them.”
So Adam is stuck with a problem: the book is helpful and encouraging to him, but he realizes that, for people who aren’t already doubters, “this book could be devastating.”
Devastating because I bring up questions for which I don’t always have answers. He’s right. In the book, I’m not defending the faith or offering much in the way of resolution. Instead, I’m sharing my journey and asking fellow doubters to share in it, too, because I hope it’ll help us return to honesty and community rather than the isolation of spiritual uncertainty.
So if you doubt, this is a book for you. If you don’t doubt and would rather not be exposed to some of the questions we ask, this may not be a book for you.
Which leads me to a question I’d like us to discuss: As believers who have questions, when we ask our questions about God out loud, do we run the risk of introducing uncertainty to other believers — who might have been just fine until we started bringing up all this hard stuff? If we express our doubts, might we unintentionally be causing other believers “to stumble” (to employ a way-overused biblical phrase)?
What is our responsibility in this situation? Or to put it more graphically, is it better to air out our wounds so they can heal? Or by exposing them could we be unleashing a potentially harmful bacteria into the air?
Anyway, I’m working through these questions and would love your take on it. How do doubters achieve a balance between honest questioning, personal transparency, and concern over the spiritual well-being of non-doubters?