Wednesday, July 13, 2011

believe it or not

I just returned from an energizing though exhausting spiritual retreat. For three days I listened to learned discussions of theology, to the witness of women of unshakable devotion, and to empowering meditation and prayer.  Will someone please explain to me why I am still torn between faith and skepticism…between acceptance and denial…between inspiration and constraint?
What more will it take to make a believer of me? A miraculous vision? A certain “sign”? Some inexplicable coincidence? Certainly reason and knowledge and experience have failed me so far.
The problem is that the Church contradicts itself, giving glory to God for the good fortune and healing that some of us enjoy while dismissing the pain and suffering of others. By placing understanding out of our reach. By insisting on faith while denying us knowledge.

Many of us strive to observe the teachings and tenants of our faith despite our doubt and dissent. Some rely on intuition, or personal preference, or individual interpretation to guide their faith journey. Some give up on it altogether. There is no sure proof, no infallible evidence, no tangible sign that cannot be explained away by an unbeliever. Nor is there any kind of suffering or sorrow or loss that can convince a truly dedicated believer otherwise.

And so some of us are left to drift, sometimes drawing closer to belief…sometimes shifting away from it. Some of us continue to search out the truth…some refuse to consider it. Some embrace the presence of God wholly and surely…some toy with the idea according to whim…some dismiss it totally.
If infallible knowledge of God is impossible for us, I suppose the fact that we bother to question, and continue to seek, and are motivated by hope is a good thing. It seems to be the force that  keeps me going. It draws me back and propels me along the journey that others already seem to have completed.
Where are you on your journey? Where will it take you?
“The true mystery of the world is the visible,
not the invisible.”
--Oscar Wilde--
I’m off to work At Our Lady of Hope Children’s Home in Spur Tree, Jamaica next week. Proof there is a God…


  1. The church comes across as contradictory because it consists of people and we are all frequently contradictory. I believe God is very consistent, but we don't see it all the time because we don't always understand his ways. After His ways are higher than ours and we understood it all then we would be God's equals.

    To me it would easier to not believe in God than to believe. Unbelief can be passionate, but it does not require any committed sacrifice and faith. Rejection of God or any higher power or authority is acceptance of self and the ways of man--pretty weak stuff to ground one's beliefs in.

    Thoughtful post. Have a wonderful and inspiring time in Jamaica.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Interesting post Jan. I am close friends with some passionate believers, and what concerns me at times is their unquestioning acceptance of their preacher's take on world events. They follow without deep thinking, without looking at the bigger picture, and sometimes it results in narrow, mean spirited denial of other faiths. "I doubt, yet I walk on the water"

  3. Arlee and Sue--organized religion baffles me...but I guess if I understood it, it would be referred to as knowledge...not faith.