My whole life I’d thought they had something I didn’t. Those men and women who stood up on Sunday mornings behind a pulpit or a podium and talked about where God is. For forty years, I’d wondered how they could catch it, bottle it up, define it week after week, and endlessly offer it to those of us who are “less believing.” But on a car ride home from Asheville last week, I had the stage. Amos was my captive audience, or perhaps I was his. Either way, forty years of burning questions were put out on the table. We sorted through them one by one piecing together a picture of what it means to engage in a relationship with God. There is a part of me that wishes I had been smart enough to hit the “record” button on my iPhone so I could analyze the exactness that led to the understanding that lingers now. As is so often the case, now that I understand - backtracking through how I got here isn’t easy. The details are hiding behind a new reality in my mind and my heart. So instead, I’ll simply share the before and after in hopes that somewhere in the middle of it, one of your questions might be answered too.
You see, I thought the point of this Christian journey was to gather up answers, to look to Scripture and people like Amos to help you believe in the answers. But what became clear to me as Amos patiently pondered each and every question I posed to him in the car that day is that faithfulness is not in the answers - it’s in the vulnerability of asking a question. Faithfulness lives in the awareness of doubt, rather than the certainty of answers. Faithfulness is a practice of showing up daily in your own life to look for evidence of God there. Faithfulness lies in the courageous truthfulness of prayer. Faithfulness lives in the small ways we offer a hand to a friend, a stranger or an enemy. Faithfulness is a practice that calls to us daily, with no destination and no estimated time of arrival. Faithfulness is a choice, an action, a commitment, a way of life, and a willingness to be vulnerable that requires curiosity and discovery.
To be completely honest, one of the reasons I needed to finally have this conversation that I had put on the shelf for 40 years was because of my new role at DOWNTOWN CHURCH as Coach in Residence and Director of Spark Coaching. You see, there was doubt inside me: Was I a faithful person? Did I know enough about faithfulness to be in this role? I certainly don’t feel like I have the “right” answers to offer.
But the place where coaching and faithfulness connect is in the questions. A coach guides you through the practice of faithfulness by offering you a question when your despair, confusion or busyness is too distracting for you to come up with one on your own. A coach stands beside you in your faithfulness as you embark on the journey of self-discovery to rediscover your place in the world, the place from which you can offer your gifts in meaningful ways. Coaching, like faithfulness, offers you the opportunity to find your place in God’s big world.