A recent post by Methodist pastor Chad Holtz got me thinking again about feelings and faith.
As a kid, I was always nervous when it came to my being a Christian. I grew up in evangelical and Black Protestant churches where there was a lot of emphasis placed on emotions. I didn’t understand it then, but I was having to deal with being autistic and understanding my faith. Because so much was placed on how one felt, I was always wondering if I really did believe. I didn’t always feel anything. I knew certain things. I knew Jesus died for me. I knew about heaven and I knew that God loved me. But I was always told that knowing things isn’t enough. One has to experience God, which meant one had to feel God, which was something that was hard for me.
I can’t speak for everyone that is on the spectrum, but I do wonder if other people have a hard time with faith. Since I can’t see God, I have to just trust that something is there. Thank God for imagination, which can help give some flesh to faith and allow someone like me to understand everything. My love of all things supernatural, talk of zombies or vampires is a way of understanding that there are some things that don’t make sense.
I believe it was Martin Luther that once placed a marker of some kind that served as a reminder that he was saved by faith. It was a visual and concrete reminder. Now that is something I can grab on to and make sense. In fact, it is a window on how I’ve learned to come to some peace about faith and feelings or lack thereof. I might not always feel “strangely warmed” but I do know that God loves me. I’ve learned to trust God even when I can’t feel God. I’ve learned to be religious but not spiritual.
Hey, it works.