Yesterday I read this article. For all of its clear insufficiencies (chief among them being its view of gender roles), something about it resonated with me. It’s like something just clicked. This transformation I’ve been undergoing finally makes some sense.
I’m tired of the hodgepodge. I’m tired of the cafeteria faith. I’m tired of narcissistic spirituality. I’m tired of ideologically driven readings of the world and the people in the world. More than ever I believe that all is Grace. I believe that Love Wins.
I believe that all of this is real. And, if it isn’t, I choose to believe it anyway.
Because I realize now the narrative of Faith cannot be accomplished singularly. There is no such thing as me and Jesus against the world.
There is only the Grace of God mediated by people of the world.
The beauty and the darkness and the stories of the world all of a sudden have more meaning for me because of the reality of faith. C.S. Lewis once said something like “faith is the light that brings clarity to the objects of the world.” Without faith, we wander in a dark and cluttered world.
I’m so weary of the self-imposed exile. I’m tired of dragging myself through down the road of unanswered questions. Life is not a trial to pass through, nor a test to finish. Life is not even a journey as a journey implies a goal, a final end, a moment when the journey is complete and the business of the ordinary can resume.
Life is a web of journeys and adventures, to be sure. But life only ends as the systems and complicated interrelations that preserve it degenerate into dust. Death is not an old friend to meet at journey’s end, the inevitable finality. No. Death is a grotesque enemy, the final degeneration of life. The Faith proclaims that Death has started working backwards. That at the last day—the consummation of all things as we know them—Death itself will be destroyed and the vibrancy of life alone will remain.
And, in the meantime, we are told how to cheat Death of its effects. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are guided in the Life of Love, the Death denying creed of our slain-and-risen-Lord: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength; love thy neighbor as thyself.”
And so I long for prayer and worship and fall retreats and small groups and relationships at church and lifelong friends. I long to be swept along in a church with real people and corny events.
I long for the honest labor of work matched by commitment to the people right in front of me.
I long to spend my life teaching and writing. I want to raise children with Amanda, showering them with a glimmer of the love we have known. I long to live life with my soon-to-be wife as she heals and loves and teaches. I long to be free from the burden of answers and solutions and ideology. All people are precious and deeply loved. Can not that be the life we live?
I long to pray and read the scriptures and serve and love with Amanda all the while affirming all people—every individual—as uniquely loved and beautiful.
Let us find the beauty in the ordinary and thus follow our Lord in his incarnation.
As St. Paul reminds us: aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.