Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Letting Go And Letting God...Really?

At some points in our lives we have to let go and let (insert your chosen name for the divine or source here).

There. I said it.

Almost everyone who knows me knows my story about going from a fundamentalist conservative faith which believed that God knows everything and every outcome before it happens, and then to very little adherence to religion, and now to a more liberal religious view.

As Star Wars-like as it may sound, I believe in a Life Force that exists both around us and within us. However, I don't believe in a Supreme God who knows that a tornado is going to devastate a town or strike down a family member with an illness. This kind of God is not much short of an impotent, if not bastard-like sadistic creature (in my opinion of course).

So what, if anything, can we rely on when we face a difficult situation?

I believe this Life Force or Divine Spirit does exist and can be relied on, but that it is definitely much more about Mystery than we may be comfortable with. We'd like to say "I'm going to find the right mate in one year's time because I've prayed to God," or "My Uncle Frank is going to be healed from his fatal illness because it is 'God's will,' but we really don't know. This scares us because we want finite answers, but we just don't know. And then when our manufactured idea of God doesn't act the way we have commanded him to, we are miffed, disillusioned, or we may even abandon all religious belief.

This doesn't, however, mean that there isn't a loving safety net that is there, that is here for us, lovingly waiting to catch us during both the ecstatic and the traumatic times in our lives.

What's important, I believe, is that we take the jump, or as the Bible says, lean not on our own understanding all of the time. Our faith in Mystery cannot mature, cannot grow if we never ever use it. This may mean folding our hands in prayer, or throwing our arms up in the air and screaming at God with words we usually only hear in our minds or on an HBO series. But we must begin somewhere. We must test our faith. I encourage you to take a small step today. I'll try my best to do so as well.

Mark Andrew Nouwen


Jim McDowell said...

Well, this is interesting. In many ways, we are on the same page. I am reading a most excellent book now that acknowledges the many findings that challenge conservative faith, while maintaining a high view of God revealing himself. Enns, Peter. The Evolution of Adam. Brazos (Baker). Part way through, I am getting how amazing it is that God has chosen not only incarnation, but enmythination (my word) as means of giving us some insights into the His Mysteries. One of the best books I've picked up in some time.

I really like your challenge to test our faith in letting go. I suppose we need to be somewhat discerning in doing this. That is, we need to examine any assumptions that may lead us to inappropriate leaps of faith. Or are all leaps appropriate?

Jay Moore said...

One "assumption that may lead us to inappropriate leaps of faith" is your idea of "a loving safety net that is there, that is here for us, lovingly waiting to catch us during both the ecstatic and the traumatic times in our lives." What is the evidence for this? Are you willing to challenge that assumption, too?