Monday, March 24, 2008

Just A Few Questions

If you wanted to learn how to play soccer, how would  you go about it?   If soccer became your passion, how would you go about engaging in it?  How might that same question apply to any other activity, sport or discipline?  There  are, of course, many stories about self-taught persons (Abe Lincolns galore), but were not most of them drawn by their self-education into the company of other educated persons in order to hone their skills?  When I was a young teenager my friend Jim and I tried to teach ourselves Judo and Karate out of a book as we practiced on each other in his yard.  Only our gross incompetence and dumb luck prevented us from doing some serious harm to each other..  So how is it that we can feel so comfortable with the idea that living into a relationship with God requires only a willing mind, a heart that asserts its own brand of spirituality, an affirmation of belief in the higher power of one’s own choosing, and possibly the reading of a book or two?  We Episcopalians tend to come down on the universalist side of the salvation argument, so can we say, with a straight face, that a faith built on that sort of foundation is enough?  Enough for what?  If it is enough, is there any value in looking into the two thousand year old argument over salvation and learning anything from those who have had their say?  If ours is a faith built on Scripture, Tradition and Reason, should we in any way assert the need and value of disciplined formation in knowing what Scripture says, being guided but not governed  by Tradition in our understanding of it, and developing our abilities to Reason it all out?  Scripture seems to suggest that there is something important about coming together to discuss these things with one another, and, through prayer, with God.  Scripture also suggests that there is something essential about developing our relationships with God and one another through some rather mysterious gifts given to us in the sacraments.  Is that still true?  Now here is a really tough question?  Does God care, and if God does care, is there any evidence that the touted power and presence of the Holy Spirit to do great things beyond our understanding  has been doing anything but resting these one hundred years or so? 

7 comments:

Geezer Dude said...

Whew! How does a lay person respond that those questions? Well, here is my feeble attempt.

The evidence of God's activity is visible to the eyes and hearts of those who look for it, just as it has been through history. For some, it may come in a lightning bolt, car crash, burning bush, or unexplained healing. For some of us, the evidence is that unexplained rush of feeling of support experienced while lying in a hospital bed at 4:30 a.m.; and the confirmation of a friend who says, "Yea, I thought about you when I got up to go to the bathroom about 4:30 a.m."

Certainly study, fellowship with believers, and directed thought are important for the growth of faith, just as for growth of intellect. However, it seems that Mystery remains. Persuing the answers, looking for evidence, and expecting the Mystery to abide are current elements of my journey.

Country Parson said...

Good morning Geezer,
You have some pretty good thoughts going here. They are worthy of hearing more.
CP

SUNRISE SISTER said...

"expecting the Mystery to abide" - that expectation is a positive for me also. Although, I believe that expectation can sink us some times when our expectations are met with equally faint responses. For me, the expectation can also ebb and flow - when I'm "ebbing" is the time I usually am putting the least effort in my attempts to continue and to stretch my knowledge of whatever in the world the Mystery is....

lucy said...

those are heady questions for this time of day (or any time of day)...i love what geezer dude says and believe his attempt is more than "feeble"!

letting the mystery remain...the ebb and flow...and, SS, how about acceptance rather than expectations? "expecting" or demanding that anything is absolutely, positively, undeniably true usually doesn't get me very far with anyone.

do i believe in God? absolutely!! is he/she/whatever still a mystery to me? absolutely!!! can i live with that AND will i still continue "to look for" and seek answers to the unexplainable?? you bet!!!

love chatting with each of you :-)

xoxoxoxoxoo

Country Parson said...

I might try to link these questions together with three or four older posts related to the meaning of church and evangelism to produce a full length essay for submission to some journal with low standards.

Geezer Dude said...

LOW STANDARDS! That sounds a bit elitist. As I explore that thought, the "low standards/non-elitist" journal might be the place I would want to participate.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

You better be careful not to insult your truly loyal readers by suggesting that we would allow you to use our comments in a "low standard" journal - we're used to very high standards and of course very low wages:(