There is comfort when we deal in absolutes and certainties. We seekers often think we must be certain about things. But our reality suggests that we are not certain at all and this becomes the beginning of the loss of faith! It has happened to me. To assist us the Church feels its job is to make absolute truth claims and feels very fragile when it cannot. So, faith and our religious organizations are crumbling beneath this impossible and false goal, it seems to me. What if the church is imperfect—there is nothing wrong with “not knowing” as Richard Rohr says—there is beauty and faith in imperfection.
I understand the need for clarity, some basic order, and identity but absolutes don’t work in God’s creation as I see it. The Church then needs to abandon this need to be perfect—but from the inside by using internal resources (leaders and parishioners) to self-correct. A beginner’s mind filled with humble, patient, wordless unknowing, combined with sincere curiosity, is how I have learned to restart my life. Only then was I truly teachable. Otherwise, we only hear whatever confirms our present understanding. I have had to become teachable in my own life to begin my quest to be the much better version of myself. A human being that I can love. From the bottom of a deep hole, I had to stop digging, become a beginner in life, and learn how to live at the age of 62. The Church is not too old to adopt a beginner’s mind. In fact, many spiritual thinkers are giving new meaning to the Christ and I am hopeful that unlocking the door will allow this message to enter.
Without much humility, religion has cried “wolf” too many times in history and later been proven wrong. These mistakes could have been avoided if the requirement for perfection had been abandoned. Twisting one line of Scripture to prove a point was an unjust usage of the word. The biblical text was not allowed to change us as much as many Christians would have preferred but was used to exclude and judge other people. A new way of thinking is required. I want to be part of the whole.
I choose to believe what Richard Rohr says: “God’s presence was poured into a single human being, so that humanity and divinity could be seen, then and now, to be operating as one in him—and therefore in us! But instead of saying that God came into the world through Jesus, maybe it would be better to say that Jesus came out of an already Christ-soaked world. The second Incarnation flowed out of the first, out of God’s loving union with physical creation.” He loves me and He loves you and He loves all of creation.”
When I realized that God loved me and I was like everyone else in the Spirit, I was united with everyone and everything, even a blade of grass and it was okay not to know, I began to see myself and the world differently. I was loved and I could love even with all the imperfections that abound. I see that it truly is as St. Francis said about loving: “It is better to love than to be loved.”
I want to be loved but loving someone else and that blade of grass is much better. And all love is unconditional. At one point in my life I detested the phrase “I don’t know.” But not knowing is preferable and my burgeoning faith keeps me in love with God and Christine and the blade of grass.