I just finished reading Rob Bell's "Velvet Elvis", which was probably one of the most controversial Christian books of 2006. Part of the controversy lies in Bells theory that challenging and questioning faith is the way to growth and greater spiritual happiness. Many Christian however follow the belief of "Don't rock the boat."
They believe Christianity should be Brickianity.
In Brickianity, people have a rigid set of beliefs that are essential to their faith - a system with no compromise. Read Bell's definition:
"Each of the core doctrines for him is like an individual brick that stacks on top of the others. If you pull one out, the whole wall starts to crumble. It appears quite strong and rigid, but if you begin to rethink or discuss even one brick, the whole thing is in danger.
God is bigger than any wall. God is bigger than any religion. God is bigger than any world view. God is bigger than the Christian faith.
...one of the things that happens in a brickworld: you spend a lot of time talking about how right you are. Which of course leads to how wrong everybody else is. Which then leads to defending the wall.
You rarely defend the things you love. You enjoy them and tell others about them and invite others to enjoy them with you.
The problem with brickianity is that walls inevitably keep people out. Often it appears as though you have to agree with all of the bricks exactly as they are or you can't join."
I run into a lot of people who believe in Brickianity but it is not the system for me. For some reason, I also meet a lot of Catholics who have left the faith never to return. Most say it is because of the guilt and rigid dogma that surrounds Catholicism. Although I am not Catholic, I went to a Catholic School and I found myself also questioning some of these "truths" later on in life.
For instance, did you know the word "Holy Trinity" is not found anywhere in the Bible? It is a phrase that was inserted somewhere in Christianities history and now is believed to be core doctrine. This is an example of a Brick.
A lot of people grow up in Brickianity Churches then go off into the world or college and have some of their bricks challenged or even proved historically inaccurate and all of a sudden their wall of faith comes tumbling down.
But Bell goes on to explain another type of faith as well. A faith he compares to a trampoline. In this faith, Jesus is the foundation or mat and the mat is held up by flexible springs or different sets of doctrine and belief. If your doctrine is flexible and you don't always see yourself as being right, you are not threatened when others challenge your doctrine.
In Part II we will look at some of these challenges and why basing your faith on Jesus as the foundation will actually help answer questions and help you grow in your walk with the Lord.