Thursday, December 17, 2015
Advent 2015 December 17
My last line in the last post may have seen strange. Hesitation can be wise, but there is some point at which we take a step of faith and move. I won’t use “leap of faith" because it originated with Kierkegaard and he did not mean by it entirely how we mean it or use it now. A step forward will do; I am not sure God expects leaps (as in steps into total darknesses) of faith. Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." I see a gentle guide saying “take the next step in faith despite your lack of full knowledge” rather than a voice saying, “jump off the cliff into a crazy unknown.”
Christianity is not a superstitious religion, despite some of the miracles that stretch human credulity, and this brings us to a second kind of doubt. The first, what I was trying to get at in the first paragraph, is existential. The second is intellectual. Although I think some personality differences make us gravitate toward one or the other, I don’t think anyone is immune to both. Sometimes we doubt God’s will in our lives and where we are going and circumstances (that’s the existential); sometimes we doubt God’s Word and the record in the Bible (that’s the intellectual). And of course they are not separate, but overlapping.
Doubt, and admitting to it, can be a faith-strengthener if it leads one to further discovery. It does matter that continual practice of spiritual disciplines (although I can find fault with that term, we’ll go with it for now) of study, prayer, worship, fellowship, and giving through time and resources are followed, because they support the journey of faith strengthening. Disavowing those things will only make doubt stronger and the accompanying habit of self-deception deeper.
Today is my 60th birthday. Praise God.
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