role and my soul were eating each other alive. I wanted
out of the belief business and back into the beholding
business. I wanted to recover the kind of faith that has
nothing to do with being sure what I believe and
everything to do with trusting God to catch me though I
am not sure of anything." ~
Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church,
"I wanted out of
the belief business and back into the beholding
business." Ever felt that way?
Sometimes our efforts to explain everything about
God result in the minimization of His mystery and the
shrinkage of our souls. We demand answers and expect explanations,
only to find that our hearts wither while our
Sometimes our role as spiritual leaders
drives us to project a greater certainty than really
exists. We speak dogmatically, assuredly, and
insistently, leaving little or no room for doubt. It's
what people want -- clarity, certainty, and confidence.
And the more we bow to this pressure, the heavier the
burden grows; our role and our soul "eating each other
Few of us find mystery appealing.
We can't control what we can't define. We can't organize something without sharp boundaries.
So we tend towards the soul-quenching practice of systematizing
God. "This is how He works! This is
what He does!" We engage in this
shriveling exercise of explaining everything until a crisis (or boredom) hits and
we feel well-educated but utterly
One day, we realize that we have great
explanations, impressive systems, and airtight arguments
... and virtually no faith ("trusting God to catch
I'm not opposed at all to giving an
account for the faith within us, or having sufficient understanding to recognize and avoid heresy (truth
dressed in a lie). The apostle Paul urges
us to be diligent in these areas (2 Timothy 2:15).
But can we live so that our roles and souls nourish each
other? Only as we accept the wonder, rather than the
fear, of mystery ... of the loving transcendent
The faith that sustains us flows not
from study and systems alone but from silence and
solitude in His ineffable Presence.
May we grow "back into the beholding
business" this week.
In HOPE --