J. Douglas Harrison. The Patient
In the next few weeks I will occasionally be posting some reflections on what it can mean to have faith in a time when the Christian faith may seem, at least to many people, quite unreasonable.
I won’t try to provide irrefutable evidence in favor of the Christian faith. I will not be presenting argumentative ‘facts’ or try to show that Christianity is obviously intellectually superior to everything else as others may have tried to do. I have nothing here to prove. I have nothing here to buy or sell. Instead, I believe there are different genres by which we come to see what moves people to live as they do.
What I plan to do is simply share faith. I think sharing is the right mode here because the Christian faith is not something someone can have. The story of God is not something someone can possess. The Christian faith is like storytelling because stories are something that really only exist when they are being shared. The Christian faith really always exists, not so much inside, but between us.
Or you might also say that I mean to share in the same way as one shares at a dinner party. I want to welcome you to come on in past the threshold of my my faith where we can sit down and break bread together. I’ll tear off little pieces of this or of that which you are welcome to keep and do with what you will.
To be clear, I have absolutely have no interest whatsoever in bashing atheists, agnostics or any other religion or spirituality. I begin with the assumption whether people are Christians, Republicans, choose-your-own-adventure-spiritual people, Red Sox fans or Neoplatonist Gnostics, people believe and practice what they do for reasons. Some of those reasons are better than others, which is why I think this is worth looking at together, even just to ask ourselves about our own reasons. I write this in part, to ask this of myself again.
Mine is a hard earned faith (if it one can speak of faith like that). But this is faith nonetheless. It has moved me places I never hoped or imagined I would go. I mean this metaphorically as well as literally. My spiritual life is a geography, an itinerary, or a wilderness that I have tried to navigate, but which I have never been able to tame. Nevertheless I have found companions – fellow bread breakers – on the way. That alone is one reason I keep going.
Who ever you are, you are welcome here. And yes, that does scare me. I actually hope it scares you a little too. When we ask hard questions together, we often come up with hard answers. Some things may have to change. We might end up somewhere else, somewhere with a new geography or a broad wilderness with nothing to hold on to but each other.
I hope that, whoever you are – atheist, spiritual, Christian, or barely hanging on- you will happen upon something beautiful as well as reasoned as we go. There is nothing being offered here as anything but a gift. If nothing else, if just by telling stories and breaking bread, we will all go home fed. We shall see. Until then…
How My Relationship with Jesus is, and is Not, Personal
Is a Train Trip To Dallas Considered a Religious Experience?
End of the Story: Most of the Truths We Live By are Things, Like Love and Beauty We Cannot Prove.