Friday, 12 July 2019

A Subtle Shift

I don't know what I think.

I've sat down to write but don't know why, nor do I know exactly what it is I want to process in this writing. I could let loose a stream of consciousness on the screen and stand back afterward to see what unfolded (another blog sat in 'draft' stage forever perhaps?). Or I could try and say something. But sometimes 'saying something' feels contrived and my mind doesn't think as freely as it otherwise would. I can set out to write sometimes and appear as though I'm exploring and musing and 'fellow travelling' but when I do this, I know all along where I'm heading; and so the journey isn't as free and loose as I'd like it to be.

I've returned home from another evening's discussion in which a diverse group of people expressed a diverse range of beliefs on a (you guessed it) diverse range of themes. I've come home trying to filter through what I've heard and I'm now trying work out what I think about it all. Nothing I've heard unearthed any evidence that Jesus isn't alive and that the Christian gospel isn't the fullest version of truth we have, but a lot of what I've heard has unsettled me. Confident, strident naturalism that has a lot of emotional and moral force to it always creates a level of revision in me and often I stand at my fireplace and stare into the middle distance (long enough that Amy asks what on earth I'm doing - to which the answer is often 'wondering what I'm on earth to do!'). 

As I pulled out my laptop with a sense of 'I must write something' not knowing at all what I ought to write, the title of this blog came to me. It came to me because of some work I've recently done in the room I'm sat. I laid laminate flooring where there was previously carpet. Sat here, at the table on this laminate floor, I am still aware now (a week on) of the feeling I first had upon completing it; that of being 'higher up'. The room feels different to be in because I'm higher up than I was before. Things look different, I see them differently and that is very noticeable. In real terms I am higher than I was before, but since it's is less than a centimetre's difference I'm surprised by how long lasting the  feeling of height is.

Wrestling with what I am tonight after the night's discussion I've had, it's this thought that gripped me as I sat down to write: new ideas raise us up to see things differently, and that takes getting used to. The size of the impact on us is directly related to the challenge it forces upon the foundations of a particular way of seeing the world. Whether that's good or bad of course depends entirely on whether you like the new perspective on the world you've been given, on whether you think we're meant to live in the mountains or make our peace with the valleys.

I am also left with an awareness that the world needs (and the church does too), more saints who are able to grapple with the same ideas and things the world does and at the same level that many of the professionals and academics that the world does. The world needs to see a church that isn't happy in its stupidity but is instead able to show that Christianity is not incompatible or unable to engage thoughtfully with the issues it raises. It needs also to present to the world a group of rationally very rich but also spiritually and experientially and philanthropically very deep people as well.

That's all for now.

God, send us those men and women and enable us to release them to equip the saints and give an answer to the world. Amen. 

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