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When Faith Isn't the Opposite of Doubt

There is an opposite to doubt that isn't faith but rather is humility. When we experience life's cruelty (as we all will at some stage or another) faith isn't an option within easy reach of most people. It's hard to 'keep faith' and remain optimistic when everything seems so chaotic and meaningless. At those times a response that many believing people are tempted by is doubt. For many the issue of suffering is the conclusive objection to faith in a good God and one that gives people permission to not just disbelieve but to disbelieve very loudly and stridently. This is a response to pain that I'm fairly familiar with myself. It seems only too natural and reasonable to avert my gaze from God in the face of pain, to decide to stop myself from going to a god at all. However that seems to me to be the least reasonable way to behave since it's when life is difficult and confusing and full of pain that I need God the most. When there are crocodiles circling b…

Awe and Friendship

I have noticed that there is a difference between being amazed and in awe of God and actually getting to know him.

It's not that awe and wonder is an emotionless experience because it isn't. I read or I think or I hear, and I exult. And the exulting is good for something. It causes me to want to submit to God more, to distrust sins advances more and it enables me to hold my head up higher in a secular society. There are times when I'm so pumped on wonder and so convinced about God's goodness and intellectual viability that I could look a mouth-frothing neo-atheist in the eye and lovingly remind him 'Jesus loves you.'

There is great joy and confidence in exulting in God, but that doesn't necessarily lead to deeper levels of actual friendship, emanating out in actual conversation in the form of actual prayer.

Take an example from just the other day. I dropped Amy off at the dentists and I could tell she was feeling anxious about the trip, that she was in pain…

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Kissing or microbe exchange?

The Bible is honest about the nature of reality and about the nature of faith. It doesn't hide the tension that exists between faith and doubt. In doing so it acknowledges that miraculous moments can also just as easily be explained rationally, if one would prefer. When I look at circumstances and coincidences I often wonder, 'was that God or was that me?'. I want to be sure that it was God who answered my prayer and not just capricious chance. But then maybe I needn't force a distinction between the two. 

Events can have a physical and a personal explanation. Or, one friend of mine puts it, we don't have to choose between kissing and microbe exchange.

When someone brings an insight into my life and prefaces it with the words 'I believe God might be saying...' I wrestle with the question 'was that God? Or were they just good at reading my mood?' Did God just speak to me or did the extra dairy they ate make them a little bit more creative?

Do I need to…

the problem with narcissism

is that you can't see the beauty in front of you and all around you.

Significance

I am intrigued by the significance of significance. Many of us seem to be engaged in an all consuming, never-ending search for satisfaction in this area. We want to believe that we matter; we need to believe it.

Personally it surprises me how much of my inner life has to do with the pursuit of feeling worthwhile and valuable. It's as though somewhere along the line my will made a secret pact with my emotions to work together to manipulate and manoeuvre every thing I do to basically be about serving that end.

I watched The Truman Show when I was a teenager and was convinced for a while that it was true of my life. I stared into a marble once at home saying 'hello!' to the people behind the camera. It didn't seem much of a leap for me to believe that I was the centre of the world's attention, that the world basically exists to watch me and make me a star. Urgh I cringe even to write those words, but if I'm honest I can still see those same sentiments lurking.

I bl…