The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


ID, please

Doubt doesn't have to mean a total lack of faith

In my neighborhood, the utility company reads the meters by slowly cruising down the street and picking up a signal from the transmitters they installed in them two years ago. But I still remember when having your meter read involved letting someone into your basement once a month. And I remember how we were warned to always ask for the official company ID when someone claiming to be one of their representatives came to the door.

The utility company knew some people would pretend to be servicepeople in an attempt to get into our homes to harm us. As a result, they encouraged us to demand proof that the person in the coveralls really was sent by them. For our safety, they encouraged us to doubt.

Remembering that, it always bothered me that Jesus seemed so angry when the Pharisees and Sadducees asked for a sign that he really was the Son of God and called them “an evil and adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39; 16:4). It seemed to throw a lot of guilt at those of us who are honestly wondering and struggling. And it didn’t help that others may have used those exact biblical passages as bludgeons to try to force us to accept things without question.

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