written June 23...
So it’s been a long time, again, since I’ve journaled. Honestly it makes me disappointment because I know how many opportunities I have wasted when I could have been processing my thoughts and experiences. In most of those cases, I would have been much better off writing. But this week I’m given the opportunity to process my thoughts and experiences, as we are at a week of camp with our church. It’s a new experience for A* and I. We came mostly on a whim and a hope that this opportunity would help us to re-connect to people in the church, and find some new community that can be the foundation of something greater.
We have ended the first full day, though we arrived yesterday evening before dinner. I did not sleep well last night, so I thought that maybe I should stay awake longer, do some reading and writing, and hopefully tire both my body and mid to be able to fall asleep more easily.
Thus far the weather has been stormy, which doesn’t allow for as much relaxation or opportunities to be outside, which would help Amelia run around and find new discoveries. There are so many times that she can run around the dining room lodge or play on the bed before it gets old for both parents and child. But the storms stopped enough to allow an hour at the lake beach, which Amelia thoroughly enjoyed playing with other children’s toys and wading in the water. Tomorrow I told her that I’d wear my swim trunks and we would go out further. That should be interesting.
I also brought my guitar and practice with the worship leader and regular vocalist, along with another volunteer to help lead worship this week. It’s the first time I’ve played with a group in 7 years. That time gap is only significant in that it is how long A* and I have been married and I stopped playing on a worship team when it was clear that A* and I had no opportunity to just worship together. It’s a decision that I would absolutely make again.
But that said, I enjoyed myself more than I expected, and while I wish I still had my calluses on my fingertips, it is well worth it. I’ve wondered if the title of this blog has lost some significance since music has taken a hiatus in my life, but then again the tune of my life need not be set to actually music – or even in a certain key or defined by individual notes. Ok, that is too deep for my brain right now.
Our first activity for the topic of the week (which is journey) was to split up our life in 3 equal parts and define the significant moments that might or could define our faith journey. This journal blog highlights well the last triad of my life, even though I’ve only been journaling for a couple years. Not much has significantly changed in that time, at least in the journey of my faith. It may have shifted or changed lanes at times, but I’m waiting (hoping?) for the next exit to take me to the next significant path. I wonder if I’ll even be aware when that occurs. Yet the more I read and more I process what faith means to me, I do get a sense that it will be a road less traveled.
I started reading a book that I expect to be really challenging to me. It is Why Christianity Must Change or Die by John Shelby Sprong, who is a fairly controversial Anglican bishop in New Jersey. (Those curious can Google him.) I don’t mind controversy; in fact I relish it because it makes me think. I have no problem disagreeing, but I also want to be sure I know why I am disagreeing. The first chapter is about saying the Christian creed with honesty based on the modern revelations of science and reality. For the most part I think that Sprong is taking almost every argument to the extreme, but the beginning of the chapter totally hooks me in:
“We believe in God…”
Beginning with these words, the corporate faith of the Christian Church finds expression in the phrases of what it calls the Apostles’ Creed. That “we” who “believe in God” is made up of many individuals. I am one of them.
I define myself above all things as a believer. I am indeed a passionate believer. God is the ultimate reality in my life. I live in a constant and almost mystical awareness of the divine presence. I sometimes think of myself as one who breathes the very air of God or, to borrow an image from the East, as one who swims in the infinite depths of the sea of God. Like the psalmist of old, I have the sense of God’s inescapableness. I am what I would call a God-intoxicated human being. Yet, when I seek to put my understanding of this God into human words, my certainty all but disappears. Human words always contract and diminish my God awareness. They never expand it.
The God I know is not concrete or specific. This God is rather shrouded in mystery, wonder, and awe. The deeper I journey into this divine presence, the less any literalized phrases, including the phrases of the Christian creed, seem relevant. The God I know can only be pointed to; this God can never be enclosed by propositional statements.
The more I journey into this faith we call Christianity, or the Way as the very first followers of Jesus called it, the deeper, the less concrete, the more vast, and yes, more mystical, it all becomes. It is like, as Donald Miller spoke in an interview of his appreciation G.K. Chesterton’s viewpoint, like swimming in the infinite. I kind of like it, even though I know that I don’t really know a darned thing.