“I don’t like pretending.” – Ben Beamering p. 117
Ben Beamering is a realist. He isn’t much into make-believe. We especially find this out when it comes to faith. At least we know that if Ben ever believes, it won’t be because he’s pretending.
I have spent a lot of time in Christian colleges where I noticed many students who had grown up in Christian homes ended up losing their faith. At least that’s what some said, but I don’t believe they lost their faith as much as they never really had one. They just found out, when they got away from the environment in which they were raised, that they were mostly pretending. Sometimes you don’t know how much you need God until later in life.
There is so much Christianity today; it’s hard to know true Christians from pretenders. However, I do know that when identifying with Christians creates some kind of gain, it makes it harder to tell. Those who are Christians because of political or social causes and winning culture wars may find themselves on the wrong side of the fence when the power shifts. Jesus said that “false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). There will be a time of reckoning coming that will thin the ranks. No one can pretend very long with a gun to their head.
The main source of real faith is coming to the end of oneself. It’s not just what you believe. It’s what you’ve experienced and experience every day in your continual realization that you desperately need a savior. It’s all about grace, and only those on the bottom rung know what grace is.
Ben wants to believe, but he will not pretend. Stick with the story, because grace will insure that he won’t have to.