My Problem With Institutional Faith

It’s funny, what drove me out of the church was the institutionalization of faith (ie: rules, polices, procedures, etc). I always found it weird we develop systems to ‘get to God’ when I am not sure there is a ‘formula’ for that. There is something about making faith a process that just doesn’t work for me, seems cold and calculating for some reason or that God is like a debit machine, press the right buttons for the right responses from God.

Faith is a fluid process. It’s like water, it changes pathways to get to where it’s going and does not always flow the way it is expected. Faith embraces the unknown in the best way we know how – which seems to be through studies of the texts, history, mingled with our current experiences in the only life we have and know. So faith that does not change over time does not seem like ‘faith’ to me.

I think God is quite the enigma. I think basic relationships with one another is quite the enigma. We can know some things about God but what is it we really do know? How was it learned? How is built upon? Does it change or is it unchangeable? Is God going to answer us each time we pray? Does God become less active in someone’s life as time goes on? How much of what we know is based on feelings of certainty and not certainty? The greatness of faith is the mystery within it and how that mystery takes shape.

Truth is, my closest times to God are when I am really sincere about what it is I am invested in. For some reason when I need to reach out I am in the right place because I am totally a part of the questions I am asking of God. At those moments, there is no audible voice or anything tangible, but something happens that I cannot explain and things sort of come together. I sense I have also been heard even if no one understands what it is I am going through. That’s faith.

Where am I at with faith? I likely cannot do the church thing, and I don’t have problems with people that do, it’s just too organized for me…I see the mystery in it and this draws me in…if it’s alive and living then no organization can write a rule as to how that should function. I cannot say some hail Mary’s or read 9 chapters of the bible to arrive at something which has no qualifications pre-set.