Monday, January 09, 2006

Tired of theory, yearning for practice

I think this title could sum up a good part of the way I have felt in the past few years. My journey of faith has had its ups and downs, and I know I have grown a lot in the downs. But lately, it seems that I have produced so much theory and speculation about what I know about God, the culture, and the way we should respond, while being completely void of any practical application to my own life. Early on in my faith I spent probably about two hours a day reading and praying to the God I was learning to love and admire. My passion was amazing, and it was a complete gift from God. But as I continued in my studies, I became rigid in my spiritual disciplines, to the point that it was not longer love that drove me, but rigid patterns for the day. So, I have gone back and forth, longing for the personal devotion I once had in the beginning, while still wanting to maintain the importance of the community of believers that I am a part of. I do think our "personal Jesus" mentality is detrimental to the Western world, but I know I have over reacted to the individuality of the faith in America by denying our Creator a personal relationship with me on a deeper level. Just writing the words "personal relationship" makes me want to cringe at the individualized faith I have abhorred for so long, but I know I have lost out in the meantime. As I have struggled to build a faith and theology centered on the love and work of Christ, I have narrowed it down to the topic of Social justice. Somehow I have come to think that I have God figured out, when I really know nothing at all. I long to encounter God in a new way, changing my life as I know it and filling me with a deeper love and care for the world around me. I long for an incarnational lifestyle that integrates my personal faith with the public world I am a part of. I do not want to box this awesome God in, thinking I can somehow have all the answers when I really just need to shut up and listen to God. I long to love and know God more than I ever have in the midst of a community of believers who see their faith as not a private matter, but as a part of the family of God. I long to approach God in the way described here....

"Religion has not tended to create seekers or searchers, has not tended to create honest humble people who trust that God is always beyond them. We aren't focused on the Great Mystery. Religion has rather, tended to create people who think they have God in their pockets, people with quick, easy, glib answers. That's why so much of the West is understandably abandoning religion. People know the great mystery cannot be that simple and facile. If the great mystery is indeed the Great Mystery, it will lead us into paradox, into darkness, into journeys that never cease...That is what prayers is all about."---Richard Rohr

Now all I can do is jump in to this Great Mystery with fear, excitement, and amazement, knowing that our God is faithful and loving...even to a nerd like me.


Maria's Biggest Fan said...

I'm with you brother. You might as well copy and paste that post from your blog to mine.

nick-o said...

right on, Kevin. great post. i'm with you in this journey...and many of your words could have just as easily come out of my mouth.