About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

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« Get Rid of God | Main | Sinner »
Sunday
Apr142013

If you don't believe like I do, you are going to hell

I watched Life of Pi two nights ago.

I know, I should be telling you I read the book.

The truth is, I've had that book on my bookshelf for years, and I never got past the first chapter.  And then the house fire fried it crispy, and it got thrown out in the front yard with my burnt up Ikea bookshelf and my scorched jade plant.

Fast forward almost two years.  Now my husband can ride his bike to the Redbox, rent Life of Pi, and we can watch it on our laptop while sitting on our couch drinking black tea in a house in Colorado while a light snow falls outside even though it's mid-April.

Who could have predicted it?

 

Without giving away the ending, my favorite thing about the movie is that it asks this question:

"Which story do you prefer? The one where we choose to believe in the unbelievable? The story about mystery and accepting that something is bigger than ourselves? Or the rational story. The one of self-determination and fact?"

Believing in God means I choose to believe in the mystery, in the inexplicable.  

 

I believe in a huge tiger that can live on a boat with a boy without eating him.  I believe in farmhouses that burn and make a way for a family of six to move halfway across the country to a turn-of-the-century bungalow.

Believing in God means believing that a lion and a lamb could lie down together.

It means letting things lie side by side, even if those things seem to contradict each other.


I love when Pi, the main character, says, "As for God, I can only tell you my story. You will decide for yourself what you believe."

Wouldn't it be amazing if, instead of trying to convince people to believe the way we believe, we just told our stories?  

Because if we were going to tell our stories, we would want to have a good story to tell.

Which means we would start to LIVE a good story. 

My hunch is that if we were trying to live a story worth telling, the truth would reveal itself in its own good time.

We wouldn't need to stand on street corners proclaiming TRUTH that actually alienates and polarizes half the people who might be listening.

 

 

The older I get, the less I believe in absolutism.

Brene Brown says that absolutism is a refuge from vulnerability.

Instead of having to live with the exposing sensation of not exactly knowing how everything's gonna shake down, we "make the uncertain certain."

She says, "religion is a belief in faith and mystery."


But living with faith and mystery is really uncomfortable. 

It's much easier to just decide what we believe, and stop the seeking, the asking, and the listening.

We pick sides.

And then we defend our position. 

Which means, of course, that we end up fighting each other to the death in order to prove ourselves right. 

 

Get out your pen.

Circle which one you are...

 

Saved or Unsaved.

Pro-life or Pro-choice.

Republican or Democrat.

Justice or mercy.  

Judgment or grace.

Law or love.

Pre-destination or free will.

Logic or faith.

Locke or Plato.

Tabula Rasa or the Doctrine of Recollection.

Science or Spirit.

 

I don't think we have to live with either/or.

Although it's more difficult, I think we are asked to live with both/and.

To allow for a spectrum for growth.

I think we are asked to live within the tension of things that seem to be irreconcilable.

 

How could Jesus be fully God and fully man at the same time?

How can we be told to seek with all our hearts, and then to be still and know?

How can God say, If you love me, you will keep my commandments, and then, love covers over a multitude of sins?

Because in Christ is the reconcilation of all that seems to contradict.

 

Figuring out what "in Christ" means, is your own journey. You might use different words than I do.  

It's not for me or anybody else to tell you what to think or which camp to join.

The hardest thing is to think for yourself.  

To work out your own salvation/transformation with fear and trembling.

To resist going along with the vast majority or the martyred minority. To resist allowing other people to tell you what to believe or what not to believe.

It's a fine line to walk.  It's so much easier to fall off into total relativism or total absolutism.

The hardest thing is to walk forward into mystery and faith and the great cloud of unknowing.  

 

Those who believe they believe in God,

but without passion in the heart,

without anguish of mind,

without uncertainty,

without doubt,

and even at times without despair,

believe only in the idea of God,

and not in God himself.

 

~Miguel de Unamuno 

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