Middle Ground

–Daniel S. Ferguson

I am the quintessential doubter and church critic. When people ask about my spiritual experience, perhaps the most common response is “That’s just like me.” While I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that I’m not alone, what hasn’t stopped surprising me is the look of relief on people’s faces when they tell me that. It’s like watching a burden suddenly fall of their shoulders–they’re not alone.

You see, people like me often feel displaced. There’s this one group called the church that is, at least seemingly, absolutely convinced of its faith. Then there’s this other group that is, again seemingly, absolutely convinced of its doubt. In both groups, there appears to be little room for a person who has both faith and doubt. Not just at different times or in different phases of life, but actually both.

Christians and non-theists are eerily alike in that both have spent a great deal of time trying to talk me out of my both-ness. They seem to want me to pick a side and be on their team for good. My expressions of faith in doubt-groups and those of doubt in my faith-groups are met with equal measures of bewilderment, distrust, and scorn.

If other people’s experiences have been like that, it’s no wonder there’s relief on their face when I tell them that I have both faith and doubt all the time, together. If they’re like me, they’re so used to feeling pulled toward the ends that they felt alone in the middle.

But the middle, I’m convinced, it chock full of some pretty wonderful people. They’re the people I’m most interested in with this blog and, really, my life. If you’re in the middle, I’d love to hear your story. You’re not alone. There are lots of us, and we love you.


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