matthew - hudsonville, Michigan
Entered on January 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

When I was six I believed in a chalk board religion. Every time I sinned, every time I did wrong it was written on a chalkboard by–I guessed–an angel. But when I confessed my wrongs my sins were erased. I would sin; it would get written down; I would confess I did wrong; it would get erased. I believed this cycle would keep going on forever, and that when I died if my chalk board was clean I went to heaven, but if it was marked with sin I would go to hell. When I was eight years old I came to the conclusion that this interpretation was wrong, that my idea of love was wrong, and that God was bigger than my preconceived view of his love. This was a huge relief

When I was eleven I was a sincere Armianism. Over the past year I have started to believe that trivial things like Calvinism vs. Armianism doesn’t matter that much; that what matters is the basics. The basics of love.

I have come to believe we are not meant to understand everything, but I believe we’re meant to understand. I don’t understand rape, or war, or abuse. I don’t understand racism, or suffering, or murder. I don’t understand how water mixed with powder makes Jell-o. I don’t even understand love, but I know it exists.

This knowledge, this knowing I call faith. This is not a blind faith but a faith based on the facts I have so far. And when new facts come I wrestle with them, I check to see if they add up, with an open mind I make a conclusion, an interpretation, only to come back and repaint my conclusion another day. This painting and repainting has led me to believe that we are not meant to understand everything, but it always leads me to believe we are meant to understand. I am not saying that the truth is relative (there is absolute truth) or unimportant, just that some truths are more important than others. That the world being round is less important than people being equal.

There is a hierarchy of truth. At the top of this hierarchy sits love. I have faith that when you mix a particular powder with water you get Jell-o. Similarly I have faith in love. I don’t think I was meant to understand everything; I know, I believe that I was meant to understand enough. Enough for me to have faith in love. And, “God is love.”(1 John 4:16)