So I have written on my personal struggle of confusion, uncertainty, and how the future seems often unclear.
What I have learned from this is that I am not alone…there are many of us.
I think there are a growing number of people (mostly young adults) who are going to bridge some gap between the old and the not yet.
Now, I don’t assume to have the answers, but I have heard from several people within the last several weeks that I am a bridger. At first it didn’t really mean much, but this week I met with someone who brought this up for the third time and something stuck.
I don’t know what it means specifically for me, but I have some hunches on generalities and what it may mean for many of us.
My hunch is that there is a growing number of people who are frustrated with the way the religious and cultural landscape has been and currently is. We are not ok with simply accepting a belief system that has been handed to us – we are finding many answers lacking and would much rather converse with someone who thinks differently than be taught precise answers to predetermined questions (oh, I should also add that many of these are answering questions that few are still asking).
I think there is a growing number of young Christians who resonate more and more with the spiritual but not religious group and have personally experienced places where religion was used for violence, coercion, domination, exploitation, marginalization and oppression.
There seems to be a growing number of young people who care more for what they stand for than what they are against and want to work for peace, reconciliation, healing, equality, and justice. I would much rather work with an atheist or a Muslim for peace than to debate why I think I am right and they are wrong – it’s just not that interesting to me.
What about church?
I think many of us bridgers are still drawn to an understanding that there is something more – there is a God, Divine, Reality, Creator, Energy (whatever word you use) and we are drawn to this. We tend to see beauty and sacredness in all kinds of places and that includes outside of the church walls.
I think most of us still have a desire to build rhythms and patterns in our lives, to engage in rituals, prayers, meditations, spiritual readings that cultivate an awareness of the Divine and a sense of awe and wonder.
The problem is church has often (though not always) been either a social club or a lecture hall which either invites one to be a member (with a membership card, group language, and group dress codes – I have heard from so many that oftentimes church has clicks that are hard to break into) or teaches one what to think and believe for the purpose of convincing everyone else around them of these things.
I wonder if it is not religion, God, and church that we are ultimately turned off by, but it is how religion, God, and church have been handed down to us.
In other words, I’m not ready to forsake all these things, but I do think many of us feel the way these things have been packaged no longer works. We appreciate the many great things that have been given, yet we cannot simply continue to pass them along as they stand.
I see two choices
1 – ditch the whole thing because it’s a mess
2- build a bridge
Build a bridge from our experiences, thoughts, knowledge, and desires from what we have been given to what can be.
Build a bridge from an exclusive, self righteous, anti science, pro violence way of being to an inclusive, humble, non violent way of being that seeks to be as intellectually honest as possible.
Build a bridge where faith is not about having all the right answers but where doubt, questions, and uncertainties are welcome and reflective of a mature spiritual life.
Build a bridge with people of different religious affiliations, different religious traditions, and those who claim no religious affiliation – not to “convert” them, but because this is what we want to do and find life in doing (i.e. loving the other).
Build a bridge from the past traditions, rituals, prayers, books, sacred writings, to a way of speaking, seeing, and being that makes sense to a post modern 21st century people.
The main struggle of course, is that the future is unclear – it’s unclear because we have yet to create it!
Does this make sense?
If so, maybe you are a bridger.