Saturday, March 31, 2007


Man Overboard!

One of bjk's friends asked about belief. It's a good question.

Somewhere between concrete and air is the real thing. Some people believe in nothing, and have nothing. Others believe in everything and still have nothing. Truth is hard to find in a code, or in theory. I can believe anything I want but if I jump off the roof of City Hall in the belief that I will fly I'll have about three seconds to consider the failure.

Yet belief tends to get lumped into one big pot. It looks messy. It is messy.

I don't like secrets, at least of the kind that are introduced with "You won't understand." Or, "Don't ask questions." I know truth is shy, but it's not that shy. If I want to know something, I'd like for that something to at least stay in the neighborhood so that I can learn of it. If I can't learn of it then I suspect that it's not real, not worth leaning on.

Concrete isn't it. I look for patterns, shapes, curlicues and colors in the wind that denote a reality one step beyond mine. Once the new thing shows enough shape I take the step.

Why do I believe in God? Because of the pattern of events in my life. I look back and see events that form a pattern I can't, in good Berean style, ascribe to coincidence. Everything had to come from someplace and I might as well believe God made it because the gracefulness of such an answer fits with the grace that has accompanied my mostly wasted life.

Some would say that belief is a chemical reaction. They're probably right. Inject me with the right chemicals and I'd probably forget all about God. What have you proven with this? The human body is a chemical factory. I stay away from needles and other forms of mindless brainwashing.

I demand that the curtain be pulled aside. I want to see God at work. Less so now than when I started, but I still don't want the wool pulled over my eyes; I want to know how faith works. God doesn't seem to mind. He answers my questions and then waits for a response. "OK, Mr. Mystic, what are you going to do next?"

In her response, bjk quoted 1 Corinthians at length. One verse is the cornerstone: "If Christ wasn't raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain." I've never seen anyone resurrected but have heard about plenty of near-death experiences. Are these real? I won't know until I've either had one myself or met someone who has. It does no harm to my own faith to lodge it in this particular tree. I can't prove that Jesus rose physically but if He didn't when my own time comes I'll just be worm food.

I just don't buy it. That would be an ugly end and would not fit with the pattern of my years. Why would God put so much effort into bringing me back from the edge of self-destruction if I were just destined for another hole in the ground, this one physical? I realize this is self-referential. Here's an exercise for you: work your way back along the path of your own life and try to find things that are NOT self-referential. Ultimately all of life is smoke and mirrors. "We see through a glass, darkly." We can reach through the mirror of Jesus and touch something that is subtly powerful but because He appears somewhat differently to each person--in accordance with that person's needs, but never deviating from the basic truth of His sacrifice for us--and that makes it hard to compare notes.

I don't talk much about my beliefs because I'd rather blend in. My faith looks pretty strange and I just don't want to have to justify myself to anyone else. I've been judged enough, by myself and by others. No, thanks.

Why write about it? Because out there in the world are more people like me, for whom the standard answers just don't work. As I've said before here, don't take my methods and ways as gospel. Only Jesus can save. From me, I hope people learn that God's ways are manifold. You have a need he can fulfil. You don't even have to ask nicely. Just go to Him in desperation even if you don't know what you need.

Sunshine enters the world reliably, predictably, somewhat understandably. Hydrogen atoms fuse in the hot heavy heart of a star and the energy liberated in that reaction eventually makes its way to a planet. Why is there a star? Where did it originate? Where did its matter originate? Reality fuzzes out somewhere around there. Take your pick of theories as you enjoy the apple made of sunshine and rock, while the light warms your shoulders. Facts are facts. They make a foundation for a castle that some think rises on air.

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