Thursday, May 21, 2009

Confessions of a discerning sponge

I don't know if I could exactly call myself a "questioner", even if I do remember one particular instance when I was about twelve years old when I did ask a question. I think that I remember this particular incident as in retrospect I realised that I was in the process of forging my own beliefs, rather than just accepting what my parents said. Nevertheless I have not spent my life questioning things, or would even have been characterised as particularly curious. Interested yes, curious no.

Rather I have been a bit of a, well, for lack of a better word, discerning sponge. Well you may wonder what on earth I mean by that! Well, I seem to have spent my life imbibing information, some of which I have rejected, and some of which I have not rejected. This unfortunately means that some of it has been based on my limited understanding or perceptions of things, which I have internalised, and have subsequently struggled to disgorge. It also means that I have beliefs which would definitely not be considered mainstream, considering my conservative Pentecostal background.

I can honestly say that at no point in my life have I considered not believing in the basic Christian fundamentals: that there is one, personal Creator God, and that He made Himself human in the form of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who lived and walked among us, was crucified, bearing the sins of the world on Himself, died, is risen from the dead and will return again to the Earth, this time fully displaying His true colours. My life experience (both good and bad) have brought me to the point where I am past the point of return - I cannot ever reject this. I am very, very lucky in this respect, as I do appreciate that there are many who either have given up, or have never had the opportunity to truly understand what I am talking about here.

Having said all of the above though, I have realised in the last while that I like to have an answer to life. (Apparently the old Christian adage that "Jesus is the Answer" is not good enough for me, as has been the riposte: what is the question?). This may also be why I was intrigued to discover not so long ago that a key element of Judaism is asking a good question may be more important than the answer :-)

The point however that I am getting to though is that during the last few days my plans have been thwarted, and in a manner which I consider to be unnecessarily cruel, especially if my God is a loving Father. Of course it is all just basic human nature in the end, where we're messed up and treating people with respect and consideration is just not the norm. But somehow I blame God. Now, thankfully I think He is big enough to take it, and I hope that there will be no bolts of lightning heading in my direction courtesy of Him. Well at least no literal bolts of lightning. But at this stage, the questions I seem to be asking are getting no response. What comes to mind is how can the pot ask the potter, why did you make me like this? Which means that I am wondering if somehow I have to find a way to let go of the questions, or let go of the insistence of getting an answer to the questions.

That is surprisingly hard when my life tells me that something is broken, and I don't know precisely what it is, and so how to fix it. I suspect, intellectual that I consider myself to be, that something is me.

This posting is much more honest that I had originally intended to be on this blog, but it occurred to me that at least for me, this is part of the challenge of being an intellectual (and thus trying to find answers and understand everything - as if knowledge and understanding in itself is enough) and yet a Christian. I hope to further explore this further down the line.

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