I recently came across a new term describing a pattern
that the author claimed was often found in Christianity.
The Christian Atheist.
What the author defined as
Believing in God but living as if he doesn't exist.
It's nothing new to humankind...
failing to live up to what we believe.
We do this in life, believe in say, exercise.
A good brisk walk for 20 minutes to relieve stress,
tone and strengthen the body,
clear the mind; but not living it,
preferring to put our feet up and enjoy a glass of wine and the pause it offers.
I have often considered and taught about the difference
in what we believe vs what we value.
I believe in the walk but I value the relief
of that quiet pause, and so that is what I do!
Yet I need that walk!
And when I do head out the door and down the road it feels great!
But I do not want to write about exercise today...
about want or need,
or even about failure.
Though I do like Edison's perspective;
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
No, I am thinking about that new term - Christian Atheist.
I'm not buying it.
There's room for doubt in belief.
Yes, even room for failure.
We are a people on the way...pilgrims
We call it conversion.
It is the work of God's Spirit in us.
Remember this? Mark 9:24 - from The message
The father cried to Jesus, "If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"
Jesus said, "If? There are no 'ifs' among believers. Anything can happen."
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried,
"Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!"
I am hearing Tom Hanks There's no crying in baseball!
Picturing Tom in the role of Jesus There are no if's among believers!
I am blessed, as a friend recently wrote me, to spend my life giving away God's love.
Living what I believe about God's love and life in us
is the constant touch point in my living the mystery we call Life in Christ;
it's consideration at each days end shaping and reshaping my walk with Him.
It is my work, also, and yet, truth be told,
it is more about God's work on me and in me, and on occasion, through me.
I clearly needed more attention than most from my creator,
and so He has kept me close,
that I might have regular lessons on His grace.
Kept my feet planted on the hidden ground of love.
As Thomas Merton once wrote, reminding us what scripture reveals,
Spiritual work is done with disproportionately small and feeble instruments..,
Yet even kept close it is easy to lose sight.
Thank the Lord I am surrounded by prompts revealing the face of love,
or at least the occasional mud in the eye that opens my sight or hearing.
I once read "God is like a person hiding,
who clears his throat, so to give himself away."
and "Love and a cough cannot be concealed"
and this is how I often enough stumble upon divine encounters with Love.
But how about you, how do you stay close
so that you can live what you believe?
How do you wrestle with and live out the questions?
And what is church to you?
Where is Your Fathers House?
And what life and love,
what joy or consolation,
what goodness and truth have you found there,
not only in the rhythmic cycles of the church's community life
but in the rhythmic cycles of life's communion?
This is your invitation to bear witness to love.
Go ahead, post a comment...