As will be more than obvious by now I am only an occasional blogger. I figure it is only worth posting when I have something valuable to say and when life gives me the time to say it. even now, I have nothing original to tell you but I thought you might enjoy a meditation on faith and doubt. I have “borrowed” (stolen) an extended citation from Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams, Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is, (Minnesota: liturgical press, 2010)– available for immediate download on Kindle.
I hope it gets you thinking:
Faith in what we cannot control, do not see, cannot understand destroys the idle that is ourselves. It is only that deep down belief that we are not the be all and end all of the universe that can save us from ourselves. It is the awareness of being part of something vast and intelligent and well intentioned that gives purpose to life, that leads us to seek beyond the horizon of our smallness hope that tomorrow, warped as we may be today, we can all be better.
Faith is one long hallelujah sung into a dark night, the only end at which is another challenging dawn.
Unlike answers that presume the static nature of God and the spiritual life, doubt stretches us beyond ourselves to the guidance of God whose face is not always in books. Doubt is what leads us open to truth, wherever it is, however difficult it may be to accept.
Doubt requires us to reconfirm everything we ever been made to believe is unassailable. Without doubt, life would simply be a series of packaged assumptions, none of them tested, none of them sure, and all of them belonging not to us, but to someone else’s truth we have made our own.
The problem with accepting truth as it comes to us rather than truth as we divided for ourselves is that it’s not worth dying for – and we don’t. It becomes a patina of ideas inside which we live our lives without passion, without care. This kind of faith happens around us but not in us – we go through the motions. The first crack in the edifice and we’re gone. The first chink on the wall of the Castle and we’re off to less demanding fields.
Doubt, on the other hand, is the mother of conviction. Once we have pursued our doubts to the dust, we forge a stronger, not a weaker, belief system. These truths are true, we know, because they are now true for us rather than simply for someone else. To suppress doubt, then, to discourage thinking, to try to stop a person from questioning the unquestionable is simply to make them more and more susceptible to the cynical, more accepting of naive belief.
It is doubt that is the beginning of real faith.
The only real corrective for passive disbelief is passionate doubt. Our institutions are filled with people who never question whether or not the government and the Constitution are of a piece, whether our churches and the gospel are compatible. So we produce unpatriotic patriots and corporate believers, people more committed to the system then they are to following Jesus. We produce them at an alarming rate.
Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death … But in this case it is not the body that is dead, it is the mind, it is the soul.
selah, think on that.