As a child I grew up in the Soviet Union. Without going into many specific details - allow me to simply say that there's so much about my culture and my point of reference that is great and so much that is not so great.
One of the things that I am being confronted with today is that I never learned to ask questions. There was only one true political system... there was only one way to live your life... your political leaders knew what they were doing and any difficulties you may have faced in your life were due to circumstances beyond their control.
Even after the Soviet Union fell - that mentality stayed. In over 20 years of independence my home country of Belarus has only had ONE (!) president who has been in office for the past 18 years. In the newly found religious freedom most Christians were taught never to question their leaders.
Why then I am sitting in front of my computer now... at 30 years old... struggling to understand some inconsistencies of my Christian experience... trying to find the real biblical truth behind Sunday School lessons?
Every time I found myself asking difficult questions I bumped into 2 kinds of people - the cynical hard-hearted disillusioned people or the gossipers... I want to be neither. I just want to find the truth.
I want to know what it really means to love your neighbor.
I want to know what it really means to submit to my husband.
I want to know what the duties of a pastor are... and how much say should a pastor have in my life.
I want to know what to teach my daughter about being a woman in this modern world (and as much as I hate to admit it - she'll do most of the learning by watching me so I better get to it).
I want to know what the church is... and what the service should look like... and if worship is defined as obedience then why is it equated to slow songs... and what would God want from our children ministry...
I want to know what evangelism looks like to Jesus... what God really thinks about legalizing gay marriage... or being gay in general... or sex outside of marriage... or gossip... and when is gossip a gossip and when it is not... or pride...
I want to know about grace... and where that almost invisible line lies between freedom to sin and do whatever my heart desires and being forgiven of my mistakes and letting go of guilt...
I want to know what "having a relationship with God" really should mean...
I want to know about decision-making...
I want to know about politics and God and whether church and state should be separate or not... what freedom really means and how to protect my freedom without infringing on the rights of others... and how not to let others to infringe on mine.
DISCLAIMER #1: I know many of you have a strong feeling about some of those questions and I know the responses will vary... I don't necessarily need to know your opinion - for it may be faulty [gasp]. This is my journey - I want to know the truth - straight from the heart of God... so even while I welcome an honest discussion over a cup of tea or coffee from those of you who personally know me - I do not want this post to provoke angry debates in my comment section. Can you please do me a favor and follow a simple rule every mom should have taught her children - "If you got nothing nice to say - don't say it at all"?
DISCLAIMER #2: I believe in God. I believe in Jesus, the Messiah. I believe in the hope, in the forgiveness of sins. Of that I am certain.
When you look at the beliefs you hold - why do you believe what you believe? Have you ever asked yourself that question? How much of your world view is shaped by your family? your church? your school? your friends? your social and cultural background?
Have you learned to accept your point of view as correct? Or do you find yourself asking some difficult questions... questioning the very truths you once held unwavering?
Today I resolve to think for myself. Today I resolve not to let myself build my opinions on what others (no matter how knowledgeable they may appear) say. Today I refuse to blame my culture, my church, my family or my upbringing. Today I promise to admit that I am not sure what I think on certain issues. Today I promise not to choose sides based on religious affiliation but to dig for the truth. Today I resolve to sift through my convictions and be responsible for the ones I choose to hold on to. Today I choose to be me.