I was driving just a few minutes ago, dropping off a computer to be fixed so I can turn it into a router/firewall, and I turned the radio off. Maybe the season of Lent is burrowing into my psyche or something, but I turned it off and my mind began to wander.
Oddly, I started thinking about faith.
Or, rather, I started thinking about the way I write about faith. How do I represent it? I mean, I’m no theologian or anything like that. I write about theology sometimes, but generally I’m just echoing what a bunch of other people have said to me; I’m just talking about stuff that other people are talking about, stuff that resonates somehow with me.
But I’ve come to a conclusion. Though maybe not a conclusion so much as a place where I don’t really have a conclusion: either way.
Faith is this ridiculously mysterious thing. It doesn’t really make sense; is there any other concept that you can talk about in terms of having been given something and also in terms of having given?
I’m a Calvinist, part of that branch of the Christian faith that defines faith in terms of a gift. It’s something you’re given. And from God’s perspective, that makes a lot of sense, since if God doesn’t control everything, he controls nothing, right?
But on the other hand, in my head, I chose to write this post, and I am responsible for where the letters go and what it means and who reads it and gets all screwed up because I wasn’t half as lucid as I’d like.
Maybe you can wrap your head around that, but I sure can’t.
Then again, it’s so often like that with God, isn’t it? Take scripture. It’s inspired by God, but people got together and said, “It seems good to us and to the Holy Spirit,” and chose a certain number of books and letters while rejecting some others. Take the Trinity, as another example. It’s there in scripture, revealed as a concept but never actually stated as such; three persons in one being, co-existing in eternal harmony. Does that make sense? Yes. But no. You could look–and by all means do–and find ten or twenty more if you wanted.
I really don’t know where to go from here. I guess I don’t really have a way to end this post, except to say the reality of faith is that it lives, no matter how you look at it. But even that’s just another dry statement. It’s boring when you write it down on paper, which is probably why real people tend to be better at showing faith to their neighbors than, say, books and tracts and whatnot. Those things have their place, and have done great things, but real faith isn’t a matter of mere words, is it?
And I guess that means I should stop talking.