Thursday, September 1, 2016

OK, here's where I am today about 'belief'

I chose to say "where I am today" since I'm always in flux. Nothing much seems certain to me any more about 'believing'.

Maybe it was different before--earlier, when I was younger. Maybe I had some 'certainty' back then, but I don't think so.

I think I've always been vague about 'belief'. But this I know and know fare well, the older I get the vaguer I get about what is certain and 'true'.

I don't 'believe' much at all--and here I am, a 69 year old white man who is an Episcopal priest.

People generally expect me to 'believe' stuff and be 'certain' about things.

In my experience, they are relieved when I don't and am not.

It validates where they are, day  to day that their priest isn't 'certain' about what he 'believes'.

BLACK and WHITE stuff is pretty much lost on me. The world I live in and experience and ponder about has almost infinite shades of gray.

Theology, back in the Middle Ages, was considered "the Queen of the Sciences". You can look it up or Google it if you wish. Theology was up there with mathematics in those years because Theology was about 'certainty'--the literal interpretation of Scripture, the "Truth" of  'belief'.

What a joke.

Theology, to me, is interesting because there IS NO CERTAINTY. Theology, to me, is engaging and worthy of pondering precisely because it is so 'mysterious'.

Mathematics deals with Truth. Theology deals with uncertainty and confusion and wonder and mystery.

That's what I like--uncertainty, confusion, wonder and mystery.

I don't have to give a fig about TRUTH. I accept the facts of life. Facts are what they are and are helpful in negotiating the intricacies of life.

Theology is about what's left after we know the facts.

Theology is about what is unknown, beyond 'knowing', mysterious, dangerous, lost in shadows, daring us to follow.

"Belief" is about all that--not "TRUTH" or "certainty" or anything hard and real.

So, I wander out in the arena of uncertainty and mystery and wonder. That's where 'belief' and 'faith'
live for me.

So, when you ask me: "what do you believe?" don't expect Truth or Certainty or Facts. What I believe is swirling in the unknown, the dangerous, the mysterious, the never-to-be-understood.

Which is where I feel most comfortable, most free, most 'at home' and grounded. Really.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.