In the summer of 2015, I was in the most dangerous situation I had ever experienced. I was a pastor’s wife, a youth leader, a lifelong evangelical Christian, and I wasn’t sure what I believed anymore. I couldn’t reconcile what I had been taught with what I knew about God. You can accuse me of hyperbolizing the danger of the situation, but at the time it felt life-threatening in every sense of the word.
In that same season, I was introduced to the writings of Richard Rohr. I eventually discovered the CAC’s Daily Meditations, and I subscribed to what would become the daily healing salve and fresh water my sore and thirsty spirit needed. I began reconciling my uncertainty with the Christian tradition I thought I had to leave behind, and my initial fear grew into a wonderful curiosity. It felt like watching my own child delight in something that I had been taking for granted—like a rain puddle, where I was simultaneously both the splashing child and the gazing parent.
Reading those first meditations didn’t answer all my questions and solve all my problems, though. Instead, Fr. Richard gently taught me that faith isn’t about having all the answers and living a life free of trials. Rather, it is through the wondering and wandering that we find God, love and salvation, and our connection to each other. I’ve personally heard Fr. Richard state many times that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certitude. That’s not New Age thinking; that’s straight from the Gospel.
Over the handful of years after 2015, I would leave the church, sell my home in Tucson, and move to Albuquerque to work for the CAC. My spouse and I got divorced, and now we peacefully co-parent our two young daughters. I’ve learned to be comfortable with having many more questions than answers regarding my faith, and I’m also mostly okay with calling myself a Christian again. Perhaps following Jesus today means looking less like “a Christian” and more like the Christ. I find I do this by letting go of security blankets; being in loving relationship with others; healing and restoring; recognizing that while the law and the cultural norms may state one thing, we’re invited to explore an alternative and holy path; and wrestling with really good questions.
I could be wrong, though. I’m trying to be less certain these days.
Jenna Bourland has worked for the CAC since 2018, providing administrative support and project coordination across several teams. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her two daughters and a dog named Scruff. Jenna enjoys the exhilarating pastimes of reading, working on jigsaw puzzles, and going for walks in the desert sunshine.
The following reflections appear in the Spring 2023 issue of the Mendicant, our quarterly donor newsletter.