I'm a searcher. I grew up Baptist, I go to an Evangelical college, and I'm studying religious studies. Sounds like I'm set up to be a Baptist preacher, doesn't it? I went through a crisis of faith a few years ago, nearly gave up on Christianity, tried to find some sense of a foundation in the "emergent" church movement, but that wasn't doing much for me. Then I discovered the Catholic Church and for a year and a half really immersed myself in Catholicism. I nearly became Catholic. Then I realized I needed to look at Orthodoxy.
I cannot tell you how much I want to become Orthodox or Catholic. I can't stay in Evangelicalism. But I'm spinning my wheels and I can't make a choice. What's more is that I am very angry and fed up with God. I feel like he's been absent for much of the past few years minus a few months. But other than that, I feel like I've been hitting a wall, time and time again. And then when I think he's talking to me, I don't like what he is telling me, or I don't really know if what I'm hearing is really from God or if its my own scrupulos conscience. Here's a few things that are really weighing on me and I feel terrible because I feel guilty, I feel disobedient, I feel rebellious, I feel angry, and I feel confused.
I love theology. I changed my major just so I could focus attention on it. To be honest, it was my study of Roman Catholic theology that allowed me to give Christianity a second chance. I have found a lot of excitement, joy, and fulfillment in focusing my attention on understanding who God is. I've never been really strong on the "relationship with God" sort of stuff (even though I grew up in Evangelicalism). Its always been very, very hard for me to relate to him in personal manner that so many people say they are able to do. The school year has just begun and all of a sudden I feel like God is telling me to get rid of all my books and stop studying theology. I'm angry. #1 because I think if I stop studying theology, I may loose my faith altogether. #2 its my major and my last year of college #3 I've already committed in my heart that I want to use the gifts that he has given me to give back to the church (and I would love to teach theology one day). So I feel like God is trying to take away the one thing that I have that is keeping me a Christian and still interested in Jesus.
The other thing is, I wake up one day and the first thought that comes to mind is "Sell everything and give it away." I was so angry at God that morning that I didn't go to church because ironically the Gospel reading was about the young rich man in Matthew. So I did what I could and over the past month I've been divesting myself of stuff I don't need (extra books, clothes). But I feel so guilty because when that thought came to my mind, I said "No! I can't" I'm not in a position right now to do that. I'm still in school. I want to finish college. I love my college community. I need to honour my parents who have bent over backwards to get me where I am today. I feel selling everything would be foolish, and not foolish for the sake of Christ, but simply foolish because...then what?
The other thing is that I've often struggled with my sexuality identity. I'm not a homosexual, nor do I ever want to be. But there was a point at which I thought that the only way I could reconile my faith with my sexual identity was to be celibate. I was again, angry. Why? Because I know that I can't make it through life on my own. I need people and relationships in order to flourish because it is in relationship that I can love and be loved. I don't want to be a hermit. I get depressed when I'm alone. I truly desire to be married. I nearly was married (or at least gave very very very serious thought to it), but she and I broke up. But that relationship was the best thing that ever happened to me because I grew in godly love and no longer though about myself and I was so encouraged in my faith by that relationship. Unforunately, there were some irreconcible differences that slowly led to us deciding to part ways. But I truly desire to be intimate with the opposite sex in a marital context.
And on top of all this, I can't figure out what church is right? Orthodox or Catholic? I have no community that I can be a part of that I can truly express these frustrations because I'm not Evangelical, I'm not Orthodox, and I'm not Catholic. All I fear is that if I ever open up in one of theses communities I'm just going to be preached to and people are going to attempt to convert me. I'm kinda a lone ranger Christian and I hate it! I'm not baptized, I can't take the Eucharist, I can't go to confession, I can't participate in the sacraments or mysteries or whatever. So I have no foundation on which to rebuild my relationship with God and to reconile myself with him.
I'm this close to giving up on God, because I have prayed time and time again for him to show me the Truth and to guide me where I am supposed to go, but it doesn't seem like he's answering me.
I'm angry because it seems like God is trying to take everything away from me and that he wants me to be miserable. I'm sorry, but this is really how I'm feeling. I don't want to be a celibate monk who lives in a monastery. I'm sorry, I can't see myself doing that and I don't want to be a monk. A priest? Perhaps. I'm game for that. But it seems that right now God is just throwing all these difficulties at me and expecting me to own up and sell everything or give up on theology because I'm getting to intellectual or something, or that I'm supposed to be celibate.
And I can't do any of those things. I don't have any strength left to do it. I barely have enough strength to talk to God any more.
Sorry for the rant...this has just been sitting on my mind for a while and I've been lurking around theses forms as a reader and hopefully I can get some advice.