Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

nurture my unbelief

Doubt need not be the death of faith. It can be, instead, the birth of a new kind of faith, a faith beyond beliefs, a faith that expresses itself in love, a deepening and expanding faith that can save your life and save the world.


          Brian D. McLaren, Faith after Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working

          and What to Do about It (St. Martins: 2021), 212 (As quoted by R Rohr)



I believe

Help my unbelief


Nurture my unbelief!


It suddenly struck me today that certainty can be the enemy of faith

If I have to know everything

If I have to possess all the little details

If I have to understand how it all works,


before I will believe in a product,

I wouldn’t buy much


If I had to have perfect knowledge in a person,

if I had to know them inside and out, and reach the point

where there was nothing new to be learned

no surprises to be had

before I would accept that person as a friend


I wouldn’t have many friends


If I have to know everything about God

How God thinks

Who, exactly, God is

All of the ins and outs of the Sacred

The way God works


If I have to have God all wrapped up in a

nicely wrapped ideological or theological box


If I have to be certain

And know that I know (and perhaps that you do not)




As if I can ever know God!

So if I try to contain God (which is somewhat like trying to catch the wind)

I of necessity make God small

at least small enough for my feeble mind to contain


If I try to define God

I limit God to the limits of my own imagination


That is bad enough


But what is really problematic

Is that my need to have total understanding,

Is also a need to have total control

Is also, fundamentally, a lack of trust


It violates the fact that we don’t know God (the devil is in the details)

As much as we experience God


We don’t believe in a set of theological constructs

As much as we commune with a powerful presence

That touches us and changes us


Knowing God is, to a great degree, about learning to be comfortable

About our unknowing


We know God, at an experiential level

While still failing to understand so much ABOUT God


But it works

Because we while we may not know

And there may be times we do know believe some of what we thought we knew

And times when we run across things we just can’t believe


we trust this reality

this Love

this One

we call God


and our ability

to have faith in this one

in the midst of doubts

in the midst of things that don’t make sense

in the midst of massive confusion

in the midst of all the pain and chaos of the world


that is what frees us

that is what opens our hearts


the less we have to hold on tightly

to deeply held beliefs

the more open we are to the infinite nature of God

to new lessons and new truths

to other people

to the immensity of God’s love


I do believe

but sometimes it is good and wonderful

the way God comes to me in my unbelief

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