People talk about it like unfolding doom, the beginning of something truly terrible. Once you start, you can’t go back. One thing will lead to another and soon you’ll find yourself so far from who you thought you were and what you thought you believed. The slippery slope.
I’ve been warned about this slope on several occasions. The cautions usually come in the form of, “Be careful, if you believe women can preach then soon you’ll be advocating for gay people” or “Once you go to Seminary and question the Bible, you’ll stop believing in God.” Sometimes I think these words come from a place of love, but most of the time they seem to arise from fear.
This fear isn’t unjustified. People are right – there is a slippery slope. But it’s not the one they imagine.
You see, my quest for equality for women and men did lead me advocate for life, dignity, and value of all people. Through my questioning of God and the Bible I did stop believing in God, at least the way I used to believe in God.
As I rode down the slope, the black and white abstractions about theology and the way humanity works became muddled with relationships with real people. I discovered that compassion and justice cannot be decided in rules and lines. Love isn’t something to be talked about in board meetings and doctrine. Freedom and equality remain ideals unless they are acted upon daily, in the ins and outs of conversations, fights, and grocery store visits.
Those who spoke of the dangers of the slippery slope were right. It’s difficult, messy, and extremely complicated. I know much less now than I did before. I have a great amount of questions and few answers. Living in the “grey” of life brings confusion, uncertainty, and vast amounts of misunderstandings.
But they were also wrong about something. I wouldn’t go back, not even if I could. Because in the middle of the mess of the slope, I’ve learned how to love more deeply, listen with present ears, and live out my values in small and meaningful ways. I’ve discovered that God isn’t at all like I painted her to be, but more beautiful and powerful and personal than I could have dreamed.
Is fear keeping you from exploring the questions of your heart? Are you willing to let go and experience God, even if it means exploring a slippery slope?