A few weeks ago I was talking with some pastors about faith, and the loss of it. We had all bumped up against those who had once believed in a loving God as described by the Christian tradition, but who had awakened to the realization that they had drifted away from that belief.
I’m not talking about angry people who had decided to reject God out of pain and disappointment with life, or depressed people who had lost any sense of connection. I’m talking about very thoughtful, reflective people who admit to themselves, “I just don’t think I buy this God-thing anymore.” These are individuals who often continue to attend services, usually because they enjoy the experience, and because this is where they see friends.
As a psychotherapist and pastoral counselor I run into this often. Ministers, I’m convinced, find themselves in these conversations much less often than I do. It seems that most parishioners simply can’t imagine admitting such a thing to the Professional-God-Follower (very few of my clients check the “you can contact my pastor” box on the intake form).
Well, in the aforementioned conversation with colleagues, I began to describe how I process this dilemma with my clients. I also realized I had never written any of this down.
For the next several weeks I will describe the thoughts and I ideas I offer my clients when “loss of faith” comes up. I would appreciate your feedback. I’m sure there are weaknesses in my thinking, and I have found that all of you out there in cyberspace who take the time to muddle through things with me end up providing invaluable assistance.
I want to begin by asking you to respond to a couple of questions:
- Have you, or would you, ever approach your pastor to discuss your own “loss of faith” issues?
- Why or why not?
Please take a moment to respond (anonymously, if you prefer). Several pastors keep up with this blog, and your thoughts could be of great help to them.