Saturday, 30 July 2011
"The Latin credo means literally "I give my heart." The word believe is a problematic one today, in part because it has gradually changed its meaning from being the language of certainty so deep that I could give my heart to it, to the language of uncertainty so shallow that only the "credulous" would rely on it. Faith...is not about propositions, but about commitment. It does not mean that I intellectually subscribe to the following list of statements, but that I give my heart to this reality. Believe, indeed, comes to usfrom the Old English belove, making clear that this too is meant to be heart language. To say, "I believe in Jesus Christ" is not to subscribe to an uncertain proposition. It is a confession of commitment, of love."
-- Diana Eck, Encountering God, quoted in another book I'm reading.
This seems at first a comforting sort of quote. I don't have to defend the cold hard historical facts, I don't have to say "This definitely happened." Belief is about love, about commitment, not about what can be proven to be objective reality.
But commitment is exactly what makes this sort of belief difficult. Commitment requires action. Every Sunday I go to church and I say the Nicene Creed along with the rest of the congregation, and I'm not so sure of the cold hard historical facts, honestly, but I say it because I have given my heart to this concept, to the concept of God-with-us, of God loving us more than any of us can ever imagine, of love triumphing even over death. And that's all well and good. Then at the end of the service the Reader says "Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord" -- with all that entails in terms of serving others, loving others, even when it is not easy -- and I know I will fail before I've even walked out the door of the building that houses one part of the community I now call home.
But I keep trying.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
--Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
How can I not keep trying?
Sunday, 3 July 2011
The old demons I was fighting last week are... well, not conquered, but I've done all I can for now, and my brain seems to be letting me have a rest from that until I find out what the next step is.
Meanwhile everything else is still shifting, and I wait.
I went to Evensong at a church in the next deanery, and was asked if I'd read. I did. Afterward the organist mentioned, after we'd chatted about other things, that during the reading he'd thought I "really should be ordained".
This keeps happening. It's disconcerting that others see this so clearly in me. It's disconcerting that so much of it depends on others, on circumstances, is beyond what I can even try to control.
I mentioned a new spiritual director, a while back. She is excellent; slightly daunting, perhaps, but in a good way. And very near by, which is such a relief when so much of my life involves commuting in one form or another.
The radishes have bolted in the garden. The flowers are so pretty I haven't quite had the heart to pull them up, even though I know the sweetcorn needs the light.
I've been writing more music recently, not a great deal more but some. It feels important, and I've had some encouragement from unexpected directions.
I am terrified by the politics in this country at the moment.
I'm not sure yet what I'm using this blog for now, or where it is going. When I started it I needed a place to try out ideas, a way of interacting with a community I couldn't easily reach in person and didn't know I needed to seek, a space to reflect. I've made some wonderful friends as a result. But the real heart-on-sleeve stuff feels too precious now to put online, even somewhat anonymously. Other spaces to reflect have become more comfortable through being less guarded. I have got "stuck in" to various church communities locally, to the point that I think it is the non-church communities that I need to make an effort to engage with. I no longer have a daily commute which lends itself to reading blogs.
But I still have a feeling I don't want to leave this abandoned, I don't want to break contact. So I post a sort of "still alive" thing every once in a while.