Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist (195

Just consider it.

That’s how we grow.  That’s how we become healthier souls and good citizens.  That’s how education works.  That’s growing more fully human.

One thing I hear repeatedly about Soulation is our commitment to honesty.  It’s a rarer thing these days, I find, with all the lines in the sand drawn over denominations, religions, politics.  Mix in marketing machines that pitch “this” church as more relevant than that one or “this” author or “this” brand is popular.  We choose sides, in part, because we want to fit in, be approved by a group.  We fear honesty will take us out of the familiarity of our cave and into the sunshine of the open fields.

That’s an allusion to Plato.  How do we move beyond the shadows with courage to see the light, confident in both what we believe and what we have chosen not to believe?

We want life as it is, not life as we wish it were.  We want hope as God gives it in our suffering, not a hope that avoids suffering by pretending it isn’t there.

Frankly, when we choose to live in the light, we discover its paradoxes.  We discover that no good answer is easily won.  We wrestle with the tension of the real and ideal, of scripture and experiences, of the drama of the world and hope of the Messiah.  I have found that choosing sides for safety has never been safe for anyone cultivating a spiritual life with the God of Israel.  Never does this God encourage us to seek safety, but to seek him. God is always the end.  His truth, love, and freedom are worth taking risks for, even if others in the cave reject us in our search.

SturdyAnswers seeks to keep our humanity in tact, body and soul, reason and feelings, the artistic and analytic, experience and scripture, suffering and hope… while pursuing this God living among us.  These all work together in even tension, like a tightrope, to help the humble walk.

Expect raw and gritty writing here, unminced words, living with questions, instruction and mystery working toward healing and love.

I know each writer on this blog.  We have disagreements.  But we also have consensus in a God who gives us the space to reason, love, and imagine in a messy world clouded by our frailty.

SturdyAnswers is a about contributing our perspectives, making a larger picture with our multiple voices.  This is, after all, one way the image of God plays in the world.

Each writer deserves your ear.  If you disagree with a writer, first consider if the disagreement comes from reason or simply from distaste.  Sometimes we react against new ideas because we are not familiar with their flavor.  Yet that’s an excuse but not a reason to be deaf. As Katherine Watson, the art professor in Mona Lisa Smile, says to her students viewing an abstract painting by Jackson Pollock,

Do me a favor. Do yourselves a favor. Stop talking and look. You’re not required to write a paper. You’re not even required to like [the painting]. You are required to consider it. That’s your only assignment today. When you’re done, you may leave.

If a post leaves you pondering, feel free to give no response but hitting the “like” or “tweet” button your friends and followers can ponder with you.  However, I invite you, even weeks later, to press your comments into these articles.  Interact with these authors.  We are here for you, for your considering.  This is a place for you to be honest too, to explore new thoughts, to expand your soul, to step into another’s shoes, to be heard so you can grow more appropriately human.

Most of us want to grow.  But we need safe places to grow with serious people who take us seriously.  SturdyAnswers is for that: a place to consider.  Nothing is off limits as long as your word choices are kind.

Every post is between 200-800 words.  We are not worried that the average blog on the internet is 300 words.  We think human thoughtfulness deserves to break the boundaries of a fast-paced, microwaved world driving by advertising sound-bites. A longer post may do more than just give you thoughts; it may slow your pace so your soul has time to catch up with you.

SturdyAnswers is not a devotional, though you can use it for that.  SturdyAnswers is to build your mind and heart so you can walk tall today, confident in your faith.  We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we do promise to do our best to give you answers worthy of your time. We give you the space to test the floorboards of your faith and see if they are sturdy enough for standing.