The Wrong Question

I have had these golden moments.

They are connected to others, sometimes.  Or something in me.  Or something about the world.  Often times, it is a combination.  A perfect moment with people who I love in a beautiful place.  Or a moment when I was doing what I know I must have been made to do, a moment when I forget my worries and my own petty limitations…

I know that you have had these moments, too.

For better or worse, we have had the opposite of these moments.  Conspiracies of our factors beyond our control our baggage, betrayal and hurt that runs so deep.

There is an obvious question about these extremes: Is it worth it?  Are those moments of good worth putting up with the bad?  Perhaps this implies a related question: Which happen more often?  It feels like this one is a no-brainer.  Certainly, the bad times some times feel a lot more prevalent, sometimes.

But these are the wrong questions, I think.  There is a more important question.

What is the universe?

Nebula Wallpaper, carina, ngc 3372, stars, universe

Is one of these extremes the fundamental nature of the world?  Is one an abberation?  Is the world just a mish-mash, of the good and bad all mixed up together?

Faith, for me, is trust that the good is the most basic part of the universe: no matter how deeply things have been broken and perverted, there is something beneath that is better.  Beneath the surface of our personalities, beneath the pettiness and anger and hate.  And beneath the surface of the world.  The created world is like a lottery ticket, there is this thin, grey covering, and it is hiding riches beneath.

The source of love, the author of mercy invented power itself.  The world sprang up out of his kindness.  He made us and placed his reflection within us.  This is not a denial of evil, not a minimization of your hurt or my hurt.  It is a proclamation that these things are not the last word.  There is so much more.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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