Friday, July 6, 2007

I Don't Even Like Math

"When we reduce Christianity to math, we defile the Holy... Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me. The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever." Blue Like Jazz, p. 202

I'm in love with my doubt. That's a line from a Copeland song that I love because it describes my relationship with God so perfectly. It's eloquent. I was almost becoming proud of it. See, it's not my fault I'm doubting God. I'm in love with my doubt. People do crazy things when they fall in love. They can't be held responsible for what they do during that time. Their head just isn't thinking right. I have been doubting God for a while now. The weird thing is, I don't shun church or anything. I work at a church. I still go except for when I really want to sleep in. I still read religious books. I just don't quite buy it all. I'm not sure when I became such a realist. It might have been while I was studying Religion in college, oddly enough. When I became so sure that being logical and intelligent was the most important thing. When I decided I didn't want other people, non-Christians, to look at me and think I am crazy or stupid to believe in things like a virgin birth, resurrection from the dead, the ability to be saved from hell by believing that Christ was the son of God who was sent to earth with the soul purpose of sacrificing himself for our sins. I was just becoming convinced that I was never going to be able to fully believe these things because it's just not logical. I just can't wrap my mind around it. I've talked to my husband about it alot. Our struggles in our relationships with God are very different. He is probably the smartest person I know and the logical argument doesn't make a lick of difference to him. "I just believe," he says. "You just have to have faith, and I do." That blows me away. I want God to fit into this box that I have label precisely for him. He will go here where I can see him and study him and understand him and how he works and hear him. But in my heart I know. That isn't how God works. If I spend my whole life trying to get him to work that way, I will never ever find him.
So this passage was inspiring to me. For some reason, it just made me see this they way I needed to. I am trying to make Christian spirituality MATH. MATH FOR HEAVENS SAKE! Math is so common, so boring, so scientific. I have been stripping God of his holiness and replacing it with MATH. I'm an idiot. Christianity isn't math. It's sacred. I understand sacred things. In fact, I love them. I love old, old sacred music. I can almost relate to it more that praise choruses. (I know, I sound like I'm 60... stay with me here.) Old sacred music make me feel like it is a time with only me and God. Like back before the world became complicated and things got in the way. It seems to me like you could be closer to God then, like there weren't as many distractions. But I'm sure those people found distractions just like I do. I also love old sacred buildings. I absolutely adore old churches. When I was in Britain and Ireland, I must have seen a hundred old churches. And I never got tired of it. I could just stand there and feel God. Just be in awe that these amazing structures were created to honor him. And I love sacred art. And traditional sacred practices. See where this is going here? I am an idiot. How can I love those sacred things so much and yet want to boil God down to a science. God is holy and divine and we're not supposed to understand him. It's not like I've completely had a 180 here. But I have the desire to have a 180 and that desire has even been missing for a while. It's time for me to feel God and trust God without holding him in my hand. It's time for me to let God go and be what he truly is. I hope I can do this and as a result he can show me who he truly is in a way I can understand while still simply believing.

No comments: