The one that got away….

My husband read some of my posts last night and after the usual sort of comments he said, “Oh by the way, you didn’t write about faith when the title said about faith”.

Errr, umm, yes, well.

Faith is probably the hardest to write about, really. Faith is very hard to define outside of a dictionary and I guess that’s why I “forgot”.

Faith is about absolute trust and certainty and knowing that something is real. I have faith in gravity, for example. Under normal conditions, if I jump up, I come down again with an earthshattering thump; I jump without even having to think if I will come down. Gravity is a theory proved by experience and evidence. It works, simple as that. Even in low gravity conditions like the surface of the Moon, it works according to the conditions present.

But Gravity is simple by comparison with God. God is tricksy in so many ways. We don’t know the mind of God terribly well; that I guess is what most theology is about, trying to suss out God and understand how He works. Some swear by the Bible, but I find that only confirms to me the tricksy nature of God, because of the contradictions. Personal experience and discovery are for me the way to understand God and even then just when you think you know where you are, wham, things change.

I don’t think it’s faith that allows the snake handlers to play with venomous snakes without (allegedly) being bitten. I’m not sure what it is. To me, that’s testing God. And sooner or later, He’ll have a lesson for you. There’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity, and you cross it at your peril.

I’ve never had an unshakeable unmoveable faith; I spend much of my time doubting. Questioning everything. Trying to test and prove things for myself. That’s just me. I envy people with true faith, rather than the tattered rags that are mine. But every time I discover something new, and wonderful for myself, I realise that my rags are not  rags at all.

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4 thoughts on “The one that got away….

  1. Oh, the beauty of doubt. The Apostle Thomas doubted and, so, in time, the “doubting Thomas” was a term used to malign those of little faith. The interpreters got it all wrong.

    Thomas was so loved by Jesus because he was authentic, vulnerable, honest, and insisted on proof. Rather than fall prey to magical thinking, he wanted data. Faith can lead to laziness: a way to ignore the paradoxical, the contradictions (as you say), the dilemmas that pull us in two or more ways, the ambiguities, and uncertainties. Is blind faith a virtue or an excuse for not struggling with mystery? We are children of mystery blessed by the Beloved with the intellect and consciousness to inquire. Why would that same Lover then expect us to put the gift aside and act, instead, as if blind.

    Glory be to the Spirit for doubt as the refiner’s fire through which we approach with intent to touch, rather than worship from afar. Thanks so much. You write beautifully and give me much on which to reflect.

      • It occurs to me that what makes doubt so onerous, so painful, is that we prize certainty. The “law of least effort” says it’s more efficient to take the short path, preferably one already paved. For most of the time, we proceed based on established conventions, well-worn and proven frameworks, models and theories.

        Stereotypes exist because it’s easier to stereotype and place things in broad categories than to constantly have to be attuned to the exquisite uniqueness in all things. But, then along comes the “black swan.” The thing thought to be impossible that then shows up to prove us wrong.

        It is deeply troubling to have a model of thought dashed, or a well-trodden path suddenly found to be in error or at least incomplete. We perspire, get agitated, suffer a time of confusion and sense of being uprooted. Yet, as history shows, those times of greatest ferment lead often to the birth of something new. As in normal childbirth, no birth without the pains of labor.

        Such a mystery isn’t it: to learn we have to unlearn and we tremble, things refreeze around new learning and then all over again. ironically, we are only truly free in between the moments of unlearning and new learning.

        Thank you.

      • To become fixed is to become fossilised and much as I love fossils, I don’t want to be one while I am alive.
        The more sensitive I become the more painful life is; so that the touch of certain cloths or the noise from a different engine causes actual pain. But shutting down is not really an option. Half alive is not worth living.

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