Thursday, June 11, 2009

Holding the mystery of the faith

1 Timothy 3:9: Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

Our life is embosomed in mystery, the universe is wrapped in a garment of mystery. The unknown infinitely exceeds the known; the incomprehensible outweighs beyond all comparison the intelligible. To some persons this is an unpleasant fact. Yet, properly regarded, it would give them great comfort. Religion conducts us to the borders of mystery. Whatever direction we pursue in our religious inquiries, we are soon brought to a pause by limits which we cannot pass. With some persons this is a special occasion of surprise, disappointment, and complaint, while it should, on the contrary, strengthen their faith and enliven their gratitude...

-from "heart opened in faith", Boston Unitarian blog

Obviously if your experience (directly or vicariously) of the meaning of faith is a weight on the heart or blinders to the mind, this passage and the rest of the essay it comes from will seem nonsensical. If you have at least heard of or considered the notion that faith is actually a dynamic vital energy and orientation that opens us to the possibilities of existence and of our own potential, a trust or grounding of the heart that is ever-blooming and isn't rooted in any fixed conception or view of phenomena, then the essay can be very challenging and rewarding.

I have, for example, argued that classic supernaturalism demonstrates the power of metaphor to open our minds and worldviews to new possibilities of existence via the tension between the seemingly mismatched elements in the expression (but not nearly as well as Gary Eberle does in his book Dangerous Words). I have also argued that other mysteries should not be automatically relegated to the being superstition (a false causal correlation/explanation). I have stated in various web postings (for examples see here and there) that what we know about the universe is almost certainly a tiny fraction of what is possible and that there are some things which we will never be able to fully perceive, grasp, or explain as human beings.

Yet it may turn out that of all my hangups and issues that I have (finished or still am) working through in terms of my former prejudice against religion, spirituality, surrender and transformation, etc, that this was a major hidden blind spot. I am thinking I am one of those folks, despite my shift towards generosity in respecting and appreciating the unknown, that somehow in other aspects of my life meet such mystery with disappointment and complaint.

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