More than once I wondered if I should abandon this blog while in seminary. Already when I started it last year, I wasn’t much for dogmatics. I appreciated a faith of mystery; I sought Christ through means beyond formal prayer. As it happens I still had some structures of belief, which have finally crumbled as I’ve studied liberals and Karl Barth and Christian Atheists. A theological education is a flurry of notions, and I imagine once things settle I’ll be able to see God again. Until then I’m liable to write things on here I’ll sooner than later regret. Or perhaps the focus might need to shift at various times to circumvent my heresy of the month.
For what it’s worth, my first assignment was a one-page confession of belief. As a spiritual kook without a firm grasp on anything related to God, after one week of classes I was at a loss. I know now there’s an old, beautiful tradition that declares any spiritual grasp untenable, but I wrote this theologically ignorant. It isn’t what most would consider Christian, or even gay—except that it grants faith to gay men. I think all theology should grant that, which is a theological statement in itself, and proof, I suppose, that in crumbling my belief structures are likely, even desperate, to be rebuilt.
I’ve never understood how people could bicker over the earth’s age and which prayer released a holy rope to lift them up from Hell. Who understands God best seems irrelevant if God isn’t understandable in the slightest—one of the few theological notions I can definitively believe. The other is this: However mystifying, however elemental and invisible the divine may be, it remains the worthiest pursuit of the human mind, body, and spirit.
What if a personal God entered the world as a man of impossible grace? What if an immanent God pervaded this earth, its forests and ocean caves, its marble sculptures, its wars? What if God was the source of goodness, those fruits of peace, joy, and love? Or the consciousness we transcend to when writing plays and holding lovers and smiling the moment our hearts stop? So be it. Fundaments calcify and confine God to the paltry limits of the human mind. To allow even God’s antithetical manifestations may offer a fleeting, precious glimpse of divine reality.
Any glimpse is fleeting, precious¬—and necessary. Appraising the world as it stands could incite despair and psychosis. Maybe logically it should. Amidst 200 daily extinctions, global poverty, and sociopaths we contradict ourselves with hope. Whitman was right. We are large and contain multitudes. The Führer loved his dogs. Matricidal humans can handle wounded songbirds so gently. Explaining this any other way than a concession to the miraculous strikes me as profane, blurs our divine reflection, which I understand it to be. Maybe for the rationally-minded a theological answer would afford real peace; or to paraphrase Hass maybe particulars erase the general idea. For my part, I can only confess my unknowing.