Although I have attended church all of my life, there was a long time that I didn’t feel like I was a “good Christian.” By that, I mean, there were lots of things I didn’t know about God, and things I didn’t know about the Bible, and I was, sadly, okay with that. I believed in His existence, I believed He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross as atonement for my sins, and I believed that He rose on the third day as proof of God’s amazing power. I didn’t participate in too many spiritual conversations because I didn’t know specific Scriptures. Additionally, since I knew my Christian knowledge was lacking, my response to any “gray area” was to flee.
One gray area was yoga. About twenty years ago, I attended my first yoga class. I knew it would cause me to stretch my muscles into positions that were not natural for me. I had heard it would make me stronger, but without the high impact movements of other types of group exercise. What I was not prepared for was the recorded Hindu music and the instructor’s repeated sayings that I knew were not Scriptures. I didn’t know how to get into “Chaturanga,” nor did I think the Lord would want me to. I didn’t know I had a “chakra.” And I wasn’t sure if it would be rude for me to say “thanks, see you later” at the end or if I should repeat, “namaste” as was said to me. I decided, about 10 minutes into the session that I would not be back, and I thought I needed to repent for going in the first place.
A few summers ago, the movie “The Shack,” based on the book by William Paul Young, was in theatres and I wanted to go see what the hype was about - but before seeing the movie, I wanted to read the book. I bought it, sat down to read, and was enjoying it even within the first few pages. Then I reached the part where Mack, the main character, received a note from God, summoning him to the shack. When Mack reaches the shack, sure enough, God is there, and He is a Black woman. I closed the book. I had just entered a gray area, and it was not like the yoga class where I felt obliged to stay and not be rude, if I didn’t want to read the rest of the book, I didn’t have to - so I stopped. A few days later, still puzzled, I went to Google to see if I could find out why the author had chosen this portrayal in the book. I read that he wanted to portray God in a way that was different from anyone’s expectations. (He definitely achieved that!) He felt that readers had all constructed God in their minds, and their constructs would interfere with what he was trying to show, so to disrupt the reader’s expectations, he portrayed God as a Black woman. I was not okay with that, but once I understood the author’s reasoning, I went back to the book. I read it with the mindset that there was no way William Paul Young would convince me that my construct of God was wrong, but I was interested in seeing how this story would end. I never went to see the movie.
So, needless to say. I have grown in my faith and spirituality, and I do know specific Scriptures and I now love a good spiritual conversation. I am enrolled in the Pastoral Care program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Institute and taking my first class this summer - Theology I. I have been asked multiple times what my goal is, and I don’t know. I will be obedient to the Lord’s will. The first step in obedience is to complete this program.
Because I have been studying the Bible, somewhat intensely, for the past few years I thought I was ready. I did not foresee the gray areas ahead. Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? I can answer that question in one word - NO. As a student in Theology I, however, I must read a book about this and write a paper. I do not want to do this. I thought about dropping the class. Is the Bible inerrant? Inerrant means without error and incapable of being wrong. I can answer that in one word. YES. Done. Oh, I have to read about it in 3 different books and write a paper? I’m dropping this class. Oh, but I’m trying to be obedient. “Lord, why do I have to read and write about things that make me question You?”
This is what He said. “It is because in life, Kimberly, you will encounter lots of gray areas. When you encounter them rather than running away, you need to have enough knowledge to fight for Me and honor My name. Read the books. Write the papers.”
Thank you for reading! Please share with someone you love.
Copyright 2019 Kimberly Griffith Massey
I am a wife, mother, educator, and author who, between other duties, enjoys writing. My name is actually Kimberly Griffith Massey. In this blog, I will share some sighting of God's light each week.
Author Photo by
Heather G. Rollings, 2017
Cover photo by Carlton Griffith Photography