Category Archives: spiritual Evolution

We Are Growing Spiritually Until Our Last Breath.

An Evolving Faith

Pastor and author Molly Baskette describes how Jesus lived from a place of growth and inclusion instead of certainty and scapegoating, and calls us to do the same:

All claims to the contrary, Jesus did not preach from a place of rigid binaries and judgments but from a place of continual becoming. He befriended outcasts and lived on the margins of society while staying in relationship with wealthy and powerful people, some of whom became patrons and disciples. He lived in a patriarchal society, but let women correct him and expand his understanding of his mission. Innocent of the trumped-up charges, he allowed himself to be murdered by state violence to expose the injustice of that violence. He asked us to love our enemies, and to bless those who curse us [Luke 6:27–28]. He warned that those who lived by the sword would die by it [Matthew 26:52].

The churches I’ve served strive to follow Jesus in this “third way”: neither returning evil for evil nor caving in to it. Our God does not hate all the same people we do, nor does our God particularly want us to be rich or admired. Our faith, frail as it is sometimes, is also flexible. It is self-correcting as we have profound encounters with people who are different from us and are exposed to new experiences and ideas. If we are willing to be humble, we can continuously root out our own biases, the weeds of white supremacy that are deeply seeded into the soil of our culture, religion, and country.

Staying in the liminal place of holy uncertainty is deeply uncomfortable. But certainty in the life of faith doesn’t serve us well. At some point, the idea or theology or God-image we have adopted may become provably false. Then we’ll have to decide to double down on it or abandon it, which may feel like abandoning God or faith altogether, and leave us entirely unmoored. [1]

For Father Richard, evolutionary thinking and faith are inherently linked:

Evolutionary thinking is, for me, the very core concept of faith, where we trust that God alone steers this mysterious universe, where there is clearly much hidden from us and much still before us—and where “eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and the human heart has not conceived, what God has prepared for those who love God” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Evolutionary thinking is contemplative thinking. It leaves the full field of the future in God’s hands and agrees to humbly hold the present with what it only tentatively knows for sure. Evolutionary thinking agrees to knowing and not knowing simultaneously. It sends us on a trajectory, where the ride is itself the destination, and the goal is never clearly in sight. To stay on the ride, to trust the trajectory, to know it is moving, and moving somewhere always better, is just another way to describe faith. We are all in evolution all the time, it seems to me.