Tuesday, 25 March 2008

8 non-sequential ruminations on faith

  1. When my priest first approached me about baptism and confirmation (which was three priests ago- we go through them quickly) I said I wasn't ready, and thought to myself that with my difficulty in learning things by rote I would likely be ready at about the same time that I had the Nicene Creed memorised. Today as I scrubbed the grouting in a client's shower I realised I knew the Creed by heart.
  2. I both enjoy hearing of people rebelling against a religious upbringing and turning atheist and hearing people joyfully speak of the comforts of faith.
  3. When I pray, I pray for faith.
  4. I am resentful of the suggestion that faith can be a choice. If God does not exist, faith is a sugar pill placebo and I am one of the control group that know it is just sugar. A little packet of empty calories that will not cure my headaches or clear up that fungal skin infection. But its emptyness is beside the point to the placebo group that value its role in their life and its ability to soothe their troubles. That is actually a more comforting thought to me than the idea that if God does exist he is just choosing not to give me the gifts that he gives believers. In God's family, I am the black sheep.
  5. What's so great about blind faith? If God really wanted everyone to believe he could just appear in the sky, whisper in your ear or make a cameo appearance in next Tuesday's dream. Why does he want to play hard to get?
  6. Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I have always loved the simplicity of that, and it is this passage that has given me glimpses of faith, lying awake at 2 a.m. when I can't sleep. It helps me drift off, and in the final moments when I know I am already halfway asleep I pray that I will still feel that certain when I wake in the morning. I never do.
  7. I feel closest to God when I am planting seeds in my garden. There is an old gardener's phrase: One for the birds, one for the weather and one for me. You wish your little seeds the best but know that as soon as they leave your hand and are covered in dirt many of them will fail just on the whims of nature, and while you are helping them in all the small ways you can, for the most part you are simply a spectator. I wonder if that's how God feels most of the time.
  8. Maybe I expect too much, and that my 2 a.m. glimpses of God is all that any of us get. The believers are just better at pretending than I am.

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