Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Musings on Faith...

Dear ones, with the on-going tragic news from Japan, more deaths, continual aftershocks, the meltdown at the nuclear plant, i have heard any number of people reflecting that "God" should do something...wondering why "God" caused the earthquake and tsunami to happen. And it has made me wonder yet again about this thing we call "faith"...what it is and is not.

This morning, i began a thought-provoking little book by Sister Joan Chittister and Archbishop Rowan Williams, Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All that Is and found that the very first chapter was entitled "Faith". The words of Joan Chittister rang so true with me as i read that i happily share them with you with the hope that they will provoke thought...reflection...discussion.

   The fact is that it might well be that deep down we are still substituting a kind of magic for faith. God we make a cornucopia of human desires, a vending machine of human delights. We coax God to be on our side and call it faith. We cajole God to save us from ourselves and call it devotion. But those things reduce God to some kind of popular puppet...

   The truth is that faith requires the awareness that God is and that God is holding all of us responsible for the other...We do not have the right to loose havoc on the rest of the world in the name of the God we have made in our own image. It is not getting the rest of the world to think and worship as we do that qualifies as real religion. It is giving ourselves for the welfare of the rest of the world to which we are called...

   Faith is belief that God is leading us to become in tune with the universe, however different we see ourselves to be.
   Faith is belief that the God we call "our God" is either the God of all or cannot possibly be God at all.
   Faith is confidnce in darkness, for the willingness to trust in the deep-down humanity of others as well as in our own may be the deepest act of faith we can possibly devise.
   Faith is the willingness to see God at work in others- in their needs and ideas, their hopes and plans- as well as in ourselves.
   Faith is the certainty that God is working through others just as certainly as God is working through us for the good of all humankind.

   ...faith is not about understanding the ways of God. It is not about maneuvering God into a position of human subjugation, making a God who is a benign deity who exists to see life as we do. Faith, in fact, is not about understanding at all. It is about awe in the face of the God of all...

   Faith is about reverencing precisely what we do not understand- the mystery of the Life Force that generates life for us. It is about grounding ourselves in a universe so intelligent, so logical, so clearly loving that only a God in love with life could possibly account for it completely...
   Faith in what we cannot control, do not see, cannot understand destroys the idol that is ourselves. It is only the deep-down belief that we are not the be-all and end-all of the universe that can save us from ourselves...
   Faith is one long alleluia sung into a dark night, the only end of which is another challenging dawn.

Writing which gets to the heart of the matter...writing which comes from the heart of the matter...writing which speaks to and from my own heart. And tomorrow's chapter is titled 'Doubt', an invitation for me to meander along the spiritual path with one of my favorite writers once again, musing...reflecting...writing...

from Life Lines
We judge and punish based on facts, but facts are not truth.
Facts are like a buried skeleton uncovered long after death.
Truth is fluid. Truth is alive. To know the truth requires
understanding, the most difficult human art. It requires seeing
all things at  once, forward and backward, the way God sees.
                                                              -Greg Iles

questions without answers
Differences without divisiveness-
   shouldn't that be possible?
Shouldn't it be possible to
   agree to disagree?
Why should it be a necessity
   that one opinion or set of beliefs
   wins out over another?

And yet, there ARE issues which matter...
   issues of peace & justice & respect for
human dignity & the care of this earth...
            and how do we back off from those?
How do I honor the beliefs
of someone whose position on matters                                    
          which go to the core of
            my beliefs is diametrically             opposite mine?
How do I refrain from taking
          a stand which to some might seem
          naive or foolish, even heretical,
          when my heartfelt beliefs call
          me to do so?

What is the price of silence?
                          of debate?
And whose "truth" is true?
                                  I don't know...
                                  I'm just asking...

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