We had some friends from church over last night for pizza, dessert and discussion. We call it homegroup, but it's really more like friends getting together for an evening. The conversation generally turns into a lively back-and-forth about some aspect of faith that one of us is reconsidering. I love the freedom in our church to look at old ideas with new eyes; to see if those ideas still have value with what we now believe to be true about God. Ideas must be fluid, free to change and develop as we do. When we stay the same, we stagnate. Life is about risk. It's a risk to change aspects of what you believe (as a kid I was taught that my beliefs should be iron-clad and not change, so learning the freedom to alter what I thought to be true has been a long process) but a necessary one to keep life fresh and interesting.
Last night we wrestled over a variety of issues, ranging from why Jesus went away from crowds to be with his Father (was it taking personal time? Was Jesus peopled out? Did he want to be with the one who loved him most?) to asking if God knows every event that will happen to us ahead of time, or is there some freedom to make human decisions and does God react to some of the things we do? We had varied opinions on these questions. For me, the answer wasn't as important as the freedom to ask the questions, and still be secure in my faith and my relationship with God.
I love my small community of faith in Calgary. I can be real and true and not only be acceptable to others, but loved for who I am. We don't need to know the right answers, we just need to be open to asking new questions, consistently interacting in a genuine way with one another. It gives life in a way I haven't experienced before. My church and my homegroup have provided a safe place to jump off into the world with my soul intact and fully belonging to me. I own my thoughts, beliefs, frailties and strengths; they are mine. I believe God accepts me fully as I am, partly because I've felt that embrace from people and it rings true.