FROM THE PASTOR'S DESK:
“The more one tries to restrict it, the more power one gives it; for [doubt] is suspicious of nothing so much as attempt to quell it. It may lie low for a little time, but will come back all the fiercer [like a fiery blaze] for having been suppressed.”
“The worst kind of doubt is unexpressed doubt.”
~ David Kinnaman
This is my fourth newsletter to this great congregation—The First Congregational Church of Spencerport. I have been thinking a lot lately about a sermon that I preached on the last Sunday in April. If you recall, I preached a sermon entitled, “When Faith and Doubt Clash.” It was a sermon that was near and dear to my heart. Let me take this time to tell about when I experienced a great crisis in my faith—It was when I enrolled in seminary at Lincoln Christian University. I had grown up in a theologically conservative environment. So, when I got to seminary, I was surrounded by a lot of different theological views. When I was in seminary, for class I had to read Ancient Near Eastern religious documents that were parallel to some of the Scriptures that we have in our Bible. I also began reading and interpreting the Bible in its original languages. I have to admit all of this was a bit overwhelming for me. As a result, I began straddling the fence. It was an extremely challenging time. However, as the years went by, I continued to pray, study, explore (my spirituality), and even discuss my concerns with other pastors, scholars, and seminarians. It wasn’t until later on that I discovered, when I thought my faith was crumbling, it was actually being made stronger. When I thought my faith was crumbling, it was actually all coming together.
Additionally, I continued to see the fingerprints of God all over my life; and, He continued to be a powerful presence leading me along difficult paths. And, let me tell you, I have experienced some serious challenges in my life (some that I am not even brave enough to put on paper, yet); and, I can honestly say that if it had not been for that Supreme Being moving in the background (almost like invisible guide), I would have been lost.
Let me encourage those of you who continue to wrestle with doubt: keep praying, keep expressing your doubts (in written and oral form) to those you trust, and, keep looking for the fingerprints of that Supreme Being in your life. I guarantee you, if you look for those fingerprints, you will find them. Amen!
Pastor Michael L. Sloan