I'm not quite sure how to begin this... I guess I'll just jump right in, and trust that you'll keep reading.
From the first day we met, I've known what a wonderful person you are. You try to live your life the the best way you know how; you're always reaching just a little bit higher and running just a little bit further than those around you. You want justice in the world. You make it a point to tell people whom you love that you love them. I admire you. I could wax poetic about your upstanding character... But, for the sake of sparing you the malady that is a big head, I'll stop with expounding upon your wonderfulness.
Through the years in which we've known each other, we've had our share of discussions. We talk politics and religion. We talk current events. We imagine alternatives. We recap our days. We share our dreams and hopes for our futures.
In my being honest with you about my life, I've told you of my frusterations with my church; politics wear me out, and inaction discourages me. My heart aches for the possibilities that I -- and my community of faith -- have not realized. It pains me, and I've shared that pain with you.
In all of this, I worry that my candor and my sharing might have invited you to view us Jesus-followers in a negative light. Not that we don't deserve it, but I worry that I have not done my part in presenting you -- through my actions and my words -- the Christianity which I know to be true.
I must admit to you the wrong I feel I am doing when I smile politely, and nod, while you share your struggles with labeling yourself as an atheist or agnostic. I remain quiet. In doing this, I'm trying to love you. However, I'm not so sure that in doing so I'm loving you to the best of my ability. I'm sure you've wondered yourself why it is that I've not shared -- or at least not verbally attempted to share -- the Good News with you.
For that I apologize.
I remain silent, because I do not have all of the answers. And that, friend, should be no excuse.
You are a thinking sort of person... You say you struggle with the idea of faith, but yet you don't want to let go of the idea of God. So do I struggle, and neither do I want to let go.
I remain silent, because I know that my pathetic answers to your importunate questions will leave you with questions still. Though, I have learned that sometimes questions are more important than the answers; it is the questions which shape us.
God can and does work through words which humans speak, so I am not right to remain silent.
You say you cannot seem to make yourself believe all of this Christianity stuff. It is too far-fetched. It doesn't make sense. I would have you consider whether love ever makes sense?
You must have experienced love in your life. Perhaps you've fallen in love. Falling in love -- as you know -- is not a rational experience. You cannot will yourself to fall in love with someone. It just happens. Sure, sometimes you must work at love; you may know a person for years before you are able to truly say, "I love you."
Falling in love is similar to arriving at a viable faith. Falling love encompasses much the same experience as falling in faith. Without being open to the possibility of love, and without actively seeking to love, love is not possible in your own experience. Though someone could very well love you without your loving them. Such is the same with faith.
Without being open to the possibility of faith, and without actively seeking the experience of faith, falling in faith is not probable.
As for who Jesus is, I ask you to read the scriptures because they can tell you in a way which has been read and believed for a thousand years and more. Though, the Cliff notes version is that Jesus was and is the Son of God (fully human and fully divine -- crazy, I know), who died for us humans.
I tell you the same in regard to the Holy Spirit, and God the Creator (Father). Read the Scriptures.
I realize that this letter is long. And that it will become longer if I continue to attempt answers to your questions, so I'll stop with that and promise you that next time you speak I'll speak as well. We can together try and figure out the answers to the questions which are unanswerable.
I merely hope that this letter seems to you to be full of love, regardless of my bumbling words and poor answers to perfect questions. I merely hope that you now know that I do in fact think the church is holy and healing in spite of its difficulties and sore spots. I merely hope that you no longer feel as comfortable as you did five minutes ago about pushing the possibility -- the reality -- of Jesus aside. I merely hope that you might muster the courge it takes to fall in faith.
Jesus exists. . . Love exists. . . Faith exists. . . God exists. . . for you.
I thank God for you each and every time I pray.
Have courage to fall in faith, while I have the courage to attempt answers to your questions.
I love you.