18. mai 2018 av Eline
What do I believe?
My dear friend Kim Frost, gave an amazing talk in my church some weeks ago. It was so thoughtful, honest and wise. Having been through a «faith transition» myself, her talk resonated with me and gave words to many of my own feelings and thoughts. Kim is from USA/Utah, and has lived 3 (4?! 🙂 ) years in Norway/Oslo with her husband and 3 beautiful kids. Thanks for letting me share your talk, Kim! 🙂
«I believe having faith in God and a higher being has been good for me. This belief has given me strength, courage, peace, kindness, divine knowledge, and divine experiences.
I hold these divine experiences as treasures in this Earthly life. These experiences have given me peace, peace that I have only felt in relation to divinity. I crave these feelings and experiences especially when the world around me can be in such chaos. Years of church attendance through a Mormon perspective have given me spiritual muscles or awareness of my spiritual senses through testing and practicing prayer, faith, sacrament, lessons, and connections with others. Kids, this is why I think it is important to come to church. Church is one place that I learn and am touched by eternal truths.
My faith looks different than it did in the past. Faith to me use to look like a pretty package tied up in a bow, and you either had it or you didn’t, or you were fighting to get it. But today faith looks different. Today faith is a concept on a moving sliding scale, constantly moving up and down, never really settling and faith isn’t just one thing you have and believe in. Faith is many pieces to a whole puzzle and one piece or topic might be clear and defined and another piece might be fuzzy and lack shape. And I am okay with this concept of faith.
I come to church to connect with others that are searching for spiritual divine understanding. It’s been said that if you want to find water, you don’t dig six wells that are each one foot deep. You dig one well that is six feet deep. This church is my six foot well.
My testimony and belief in knowing truth is always evolving. As soon as I think I know something or understand something there is another deeper tunnel with more nuance to be understood. For example the role of Christ was so clear to me at one time, but now his role is not as clear to me, and I am trying to re explore a once core foundation I once held. By continually looking at beliefs and thoughts through different lenses I am opening the scope for understanding. As the concept of religion shifts in this millennial era, many people are shifting away from religion as the place for answers. They are still searching for the same things: peace, understanding, love, contentment, but are finding that older traditions are not answering all their questions.
I actually think that this is good for religions — it is time to shed some unhealthy baggage, and refine teachings, and do more to provide safe, empowering guidance in today’s complex world. We need to be able to separate out tradition from truth, particularly when that tradition is harmful or inadequate with our current context.
Google is the new prayer, with answers at the finger tips. It can provide facts, but it does not provide peace. This new prayer doesn’t exercise spiritual muscles and spiritual understanding. A person needs not just facts, but truth and understanding. Prioritizing access to facts has led to many substantive improvements, but often at the expense of peace and contentment. It doesn’t provide solace to the soul.
Coming to Norway has made me question my core beliefs. Beliefs I never thought would be questioned. Over the last 3 years my testimony has been dismantled and I have been working on rebuilding a new testimony, understanding. This testimony is not the same that I once had, the shapes look different the pieces fit differently, there are new pieces, and old pieces that didn’t make the cut. I am grateful for the tools I have to rebuild experiences that touch my heart and I felt the hand of God in my life, the power of prayer and communion with God, coming to a church meeting and having the spirit burn in my bosom.
I looked back on talks and lessons I have given in the past for inspiration that I could use for this talk. It became very clear to me that my thoughts and feelings have changed and evolved through each lesson and each year. Faith, beliefs, thoughts are not stagnant. And as I read each manuscript I was easily transported to that moment in time, my thoughts, feelings, life situation, feelings while giving the talk.
So I have a greater appreciation for the gray area — that things are not as black and white or wrong or right as they seem. It is in the grey area especially that faith is exercised. I hope there is room for this belief in this church. As I continue to build my belief system, I thank you all for being kind, understanding, a strength to me, a community for discussion and love. I want to close with a few of my favorite scriptures, which embody my understanding as of right now.
30 For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26–27).
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.»