Gungor just released their latest album I Am Mountain, a beautiful stripping down of faith to it's most basic elements, a question with a living answer. All italics on this post are from their song, Long Way Off.
If the sin of post-modernism is incessant questioning, the sin of modernism was over confidence in an ever updated list of facts.
The smartest men
They saw a world with
Corners and endings
Far far far away
When they drew it out and searched it
They were a long way
Were a long
We're a long way
While Columbus and most of his contemporaries absolutely knew the world was round, it works as great metaphor for a host of other biblical/scientific items in church history. Galileo for example was declared a heretic for believing that the entire universe revolves around the earth rather than the earth orbiting the sun. An idea based on interpretations of psalm 104:5:
He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
Eventually it became painfully obvious that we were not only orbiting, but tilted and spinning.
Not that science is the answer either.
The erudite composed a thesis.
Everything we see is
all all all there is.
But as an apophatic mystic
we're a long way...
The reality is that while my faith may be based on actual and defensible reasons, the human element (me) taints the legitimacy of my own belief. The same voice that questions the arrogance of modern science echoes in my own head. "But what if you're wrong?"
It may seem maddening, to entertain such unknowing, continually wondering out loud whether or not I believe. Sometimes yes, but in the same way that it's often maddening to question my marriage. "Do I love Courtney? Do I believe?" While I may be able to display it, I can't prove it, even to myself. And on some days I don't believe. But the reality is I don't have to prove it or even believe it at all times to walk in it, to be joined to it in the deepest human bond.
A comedian once said of his close call with failed marriage that fighting isn't the bottom of the barrel, but rather indifference. When I recently heard some young married friends finally having a spat in front of the rest of us, I thought to myself, "Yes–they are going to have a long and illustrious message." They were no longer concerned about an image, putting on a face for friends, they were fighting with and for something that meant the world to them.
The same is true of faith. Whether it's fair or not, I don't have much trust in those who have never spoken with unwavering and unquestioning confidence in their construction of belief. My suspicion is that they either don't have a relationship with God honest enough to handle questions, or they just won't admit it in public.
Those who claim unerring confidence are claiming ultimate knowledge. In other words, omnipotence.
To borrow sloppily from an older folk tune, "my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus...." If what I believe about the legitimacy of my faith is true, then I also believe that Jesus is called the author and finisher of my faith. My faith is not a list of dogma, it is the honor of joining with Jacob renamed Israel, one who wrestles with God.
The questions, the doubt, the fight, it is a sign that there is something worth fighting with and for. And much like my physical marriage, there are some days that fights end with unbridled passion, and others that end in silence when all we can do is keep holding on as I wonder what this is all about.
But each day is a new chance to speak and wrestle with the answer to my never ending question.
I'll give Gungor the last word.
With my castles gone
To the constant sea
Would you stay with me
Stay with me