Why can’t we talk about it? Why is it so polarizing? Why does an opinion, a thought, or even just a ”share” end up as a forty comment post leaving someone sorry they ever clicked the mouse or left a comment. Why do we become raving lunatics in the comment section of a blog? The desire to engage in civil critical thinking often quickly becomes overwhelmed by a wave of escalated rhetoric leaving silence and regret in its wake.
It’s not hard to find statistics purporting that students are losing their faith after high school in great numbers. My first question is always “Are we sure they are losing their faith?” Maybe they are losing their parents’ faith – their church’s faith. Maybe, for that moment in time, when they are surveyed, they really aren’t sure what their faith is. They have lost a faith, but maybe they haven’t completely lost faith.
When I hear us, as Christians, talk about faith, I usually picture a wall. In my mind, that’s what my faith used to look like. It was a carefully constructed barricade of bricks, each representing a part of the strong wall that was my faith. Each one built on top of, next to, and connected to each other. Over time, as I matured, learned, lived and at times simply endured life, some of those faith bricks started to crumble. My shifting worldview released tremors that turned holes into gaps and gaps gave way to gravity as sections of my wall fell. I thought I was losing my faith.
But I wasn’t.
Faith isn’t a wall. It’s one brick.
It’s the cornerstone. (1 Peter 2:4-8) What is built off of that is simply your conviction about everything else. Conviction is good. Conviction with humility is better. So, build a wall. Build your house on the rock. But, be aware of the difference between the house you built and the rock that it is built on. Be aware of the difference between the bricks and the cornerstone.
So maybe college students aren’t exiting stage right on their faith in mass numbers. Maybe, their walls are crumbling. Maybe their house is getting dilapidated. But the rock, the cornerstone, it remains.
Our virtual vomit sessions of venom infused Facebook comments are often masked by the badge of “defending the faith.” Too often, we are simply defending our bricks as if they are equal to the cornerstone. Critical thinking or even humble questioning in search of dialogue gets misidentified as enemy fire seeking to destroy the wall of our faith. If we were to step back, we would see that we aren’t enemies, but neighbors whose brick fences share the same cornerstone.