Tagged: doubt

Two Reponses: On Love, Belief, and Doubt

Last post I assumed you knew what Paul wrote about love. To be clear, Paul defines love as follows: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NIV). For myself, I cannot make sense of things without comparisons. In this discussion of love, then, I have to remind myself that nowhere does Paul mention fleeting sentiments or reactions to stimuli. Love is a matter of the will, it appears. This is why we recognize Paul’s writing as the inspired Word of God, not merely a precursor to Webster’s dictionary.

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Why do I write about faith?

After my second home printer broke some years ago, I vowed to never buy another printer. I told myself I would just head to Staples or illicitly use the printer at work if I ever needed one. Now that I’m living on campus, I just walk over to the library and use the printers that are sure to work.

Why do I write about faith?

The other day when I was at said library I couldn’t help but notice what I normally notice while I’m surrounded by Christians.

Why do I write about faith?

Maybe it’s because I’m used to being around Air Force pilots, or maybe it’s the impression that the manliest men of all–oilfield roughnecks–made upon my person.

Why do I write about faith?

I once worked in a high-end litigation support company who supported the best attorneys in town; maybe it’s that experience.

Why do I write about faith?

You see, at the seminary’s library, I immediately noticed a person because they were obese in a comically disproportionate manner. They were so lumpy and their clothing was as unflattering as imaginable. Their condition was such that they couldn’t rightly walk; God forbid they ever need to get anywhere quickly.

Why do I write about faith?

Next, another individual approached and I was sure to break my stare as their eyes settled upon mine. This person had some sort of physical handicap that resulted in a pronounced limp and what I perceived to be a healthy dose of embarrassment.

Why do I write about faith?

I am not proud of these reactions. I find them repulsive, repugnant, and reprehensible.

Why do I write about faith?

The fact remains, however, that when I take note of the Christians here on campus–the very Christians preparing to lead the faith–I often cannot avoid making the cynical judgement, “These are the people of God? The future does not look bright.”

Why do I write about faith?

Because these are the people of God. Because I can find no greater hope than what is promised to those who respond to God’s relentless pursuit of loving relationship with his creation–you and me.

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So that I can faithfully count this post as contemplation of humility, let me add that Christian humility involves emptying yourself (myself) of self. Not emptying because self is illusory, but emptying in order that the very real God “may be all in all.” Staring at the coming crucifixion, it was Jesus the Christ who exemplified humility when he prayed, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

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God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Sounds of Life

His fingers slid along the front side of the envelope.  He recognized the sender as one capable of bearing no news or bad news.  The fear of bad news might be why he heard his fingers as they slid, a sort of low hiss.  He was near his breaking point.  His body was on full alert.  Finding a slight opening near the seal, he heard the envelope tear as he wondered why anyone would ever buy a letter opener.  He unfolded the pages, hyper-extending the crease with a pop.  Next, the sound of paper against paper filled his ears as his left hand unveiled the second page.

Then, there was no sound.

In that moment, in that void, he did what any good soul does when receiving bad news.  He used the limitless silence to escape.  He filled the silence with questions, with doubts, with denial.  That led to him filling the silence with Lawrence Fishburne’s voice.  “You have to let it all go Neo.  Fear.  Doubt.  Disss-Bee-lief.”  Finally, he filled the void with a smile.  Because the truth was–the truth was that from rock bottom there is only one way out.  Up.

Then, as always, laughter broke the silence.

A Hike’s End

The woods are

Always darkest first, I remember.

It’s just the two of us.

He says we need to hurry because

It’ll be too dark to see

Soon.

Each step directly in front of the last,

The trail’s raised edges keep my vanishing course sure.

Darkness encroaching, he says to go faster.

Nearly running,

I am struck by terror.

It is dark,

We’re separated from the group,

We are alone.

He is big,

I am small.

Could I out run him?

The plants are coming faster now,

Like my heartbeats, thoughts,

And him.

I want to sprint,

But can’t.

Campfire voices announce the end.

I stop.

He approaches.

I look into his eyes.

He says he’d rather not

Be out so late next time.