Six years ago, as Easter was approaching, I read to the congregation in my sermon an unusually long quote written by a young man named Benjamin Moberg.

Mr. Moberg appears, since around 2016, to have vanished from the internet.

He used to write for Sojourners; but does not appear to have produced anything there since 26 June 2015: https://sojo.net/biography/benjamin-moberg

He once had a blog called “Registered Runaway” but there is nothing new posted on his blog since 2016.

I shared this piece originally because I was touched by the qualities of honesty, vulnerabiity and genuine search which Mr. Moberg demonstrated in his words.

I cannot locate anywhere online Mr. Moberg’s post that I quoted in my 2014 sermon, so sadly am unable to provide any link. If anyone has any information on the author, I would love to credit his work.

[nb: thanks to… of all people… my little sister librarian researcher extraordinaire: https://runawaywrites.com/2014/04/09/the-doubter-and-the-resurrection/  and: https://www.moundsviewschools.org/Page/8234]

In his post, Morberg refers to Easter as “The most holy day of the year”. He then goes on to say that, for many people it is also a day of struggle as they wrestle with what to make of this mysterious story. As I began this year to think about Pentecost which we observe this coming Sunday, it struck me that, Pentecost at least matches Easter for the strange and challenging story it tells.

So, here, in preparation not for Easter but for the equally mysterious Pentecost, is Mr. Moberg’s post from 2014:

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Nearing the end of last fall, I sort of left faith, which is different than leaving the Church.

This was not the first season of doubt for me. Just the latest in a long sordid history of rich and dark and holy times when I walk off into wasteland, dragging my difficult, but important questions behind me: The Bible, Real Life, History (both the world’s and my own), Hell, Heaven, Miracles, the Problem of Pain. The only conviction anchoring me was my steadfast search for something authentic. Not something I should do or something I feared for but something real. Something worth wrapping my whole soul around.

My doubts arrived after a series of painful events in the lives of those around me, and by the middle of January, the tragedy toll only seemed to skyrocket. That was when I became very afraid, and angry, and skeptical, because I can see what Marx was getting at when he said, “religion is the opium of the people.” I’ve seen how it can space out the most sensible people. I’ve felt like the last sane person amongst all this calm, against all this chaos.

As I set about in my searching, I heard folks repeatedly explain away my questions because of the mysteries of the divine, or my limitedness as a human, or that my doubt was a manifestation of sin in my life. Of course, all this did was highlight my fears that we were engaging in a kind Orwellian Double Think. Or, (chills), that I was simply blind. That I was the only one who couldn’t see it.

The most holy day of the year is coming soon, and I know from experience that it can be the most frustrating and frightening day of the year. Many Christians will wake up and want to fall to their knees, cry in their happiness, rejoice in the victory that he is risen, but they won’t be able to. They will feel paralyzed by the presence of those so sure.

I am nearing the edge of my own wasteland, but unlike so many times before, I’m not going to leave it. This is God’s dwelling. In the tension, in the honest practice of asking, searching, seeking. The place I wrestle with questions is the same place I find consecrated ground. I speak in unexpected hymns. Soul, mind, heart, authentic. I am not the first.

The true mark of faithfulness was never, ever about the certainty of the mind and heart, but the authenticity within them. And I’ve come to believe that is better to not play pretend here. God did not make us to be blind followers on behalf of the church. Love isn’t like that, so neither is God.

For some of the faithful this month, this will be a time of impulsive squelching, of cloaking and straining yourself to believe and finding yourself utterly burnt out on Monday. I pray for the opposite.

Speak the truth that is haunting you. Lay out all the questions and fears without edit or softening or excuse. If it is heavy, let it drop. This faith is for the scholar and the street smart, the burnt out and on fire, the jaded and the impassioned, the weak and the strong, and for you, too, sojourner, who feels like it will never ever ever make sense. Take heart: this faith is not about being certain. That is the opposite. What this comes down to is the authenticity of your shaking voice, asking the questions that scare you. Sitting, waiting, wanting.