Surety is a nice idea, but it’s highly overrated.

There’s a dangerous hubris involved in claiming any kind of moral authority or precise theological clarity, other than “Here’s the best guess I can make based on the available information – though I very well may be wrong.” (I’d love more Sunday sermons like that, and I think most church people would, too.) That’s all we can really offer one another anyway, whether we’re willing to admit it or not: our suspicions in this moment, knowing we’ll likely feel differently tomorrow. What some people call moral inconsistency, I call personal growth. We see that in the Bible: people like Moses and the Apostle Paul, who in different ways all became traitors to their old tribes and heretics to their former selves. I take great joy in arguing with who I was yesterday because I know twenty-four hours more about living than that guy did. Maybe that’s what it means to pray for your “daily bread:” sustenance in the present and fuel to propel us into the coming day, when we’ll have a little bit more life to draw from and a whole new set of questions. For two decades as a “professional Christian,” my work and livelihood were invested in the illusion of knowing God-stuff; in having ironclad answers at the ready in matters of the greatest consequence. People would (and still do) come to me carrying their muddied thoughts, persistent questions, and nagging terrors, expecting me to bring some clarity that had escaped them – and for a while I did my best to embrace the myth that I could. It took me a long time to realize that wasn’t good for either of us. I’ve slowly outgrown my sanctified surety, semi-retired from being a theological know-it-all, and said farewell to some beliefs that once seemed impossilbly permanent. If you’ve evolved or matured or progressed in some fundamental way, you know that there’s a grieving in that growing and outgrowing: in losing some of the old story, the security of that story, the sense of self that story gave you, and sometimes, even the people from that story. As you stretch to become a more loving human or faith community, there will be losses along the way, people who will find your expanding perspective uncomfortable. That’s an occupational hazard of being a human or a community trying to grow.

From “If God Is Love, Don’t Be A Jerk: Finding a Faith That Makes Us Better Humans” by John Pavlovitz – Westminster John Knox Press