Sunday, 7 September 2014

A bastard child of faith

My beloved brother-in-law, Nat, sent me this quote recently (6 Sept 2014) from Karen Kilby, a Professor of Catholic Theology: "The logic of the Augustinian tradition leaves the question of theodicy unanswerable." This basically deals with the struggles of men with faith, hope and God and finding no answers to them that are particularly intellectually and emotionally satisfying; except to accept everything by faith as a stop-gap measure for what our human understanding cannot reconcile.

My reply? Here goes…

Thanks for the quote Nat. The soft power of an illume nudge eh? It somehow squares with what a professor of Hebrew Scripture once said, "The beginning of true wisdom is asking the questions for which there are no answers." (Harrell F. Beck)

Here's my returning the serve (and favor) with this poem by minister Cynthia Langston Kirk entitled "Stripped by God".

What would happen if I pursued God -
If I filled my pockets with openness,
Grabbed a thermos half full of fortitude,
And crawled into the cave of the Almighty
Nose first, eyes peeled, heart hesitantly following
Until I was face to face
With the raw, pulsing beat of the Mystery?

What if I entered and it looked different
Than anyone ever described?
What if the cave was too large to be fully known,
Far too extensive to be comprehended by one person or group,
Too vast for one dogma or doctrine?

Would I shatter at such a thought?
Perish from paradox or puzzle?
Shrink and shrivel before the power?
Would God be diminished if I lived a question
Rather than a statement?
Would I lose my faith
As I discovered the magnitude of Grace?

O, for the willingness to explore
To leave my tiny vocabulary at the entrance
And stand before you naked
Stripped of pretenses and rigidity,
Disrobed of self-righteousness and tidy packages,
Stripped of all that holds me at a distance from you
And your world.

Strip me, O God.
Then clothe me in curiosity and courage.

And here's my take on the angst and my groping forward nevertheless...

I am a bastard child of faith
That's how I feel sometimes
Left to suckle for myself
From the breast of a surrogate's source
Hoping to catch but a glimpse
Of the one whose devotion I am indebted.

I am a bastard child of faith
Waiting by the pound, wondering
When will he come or has he even left?
Sometimes the subtlety turns to subterfuge
The hiddenness turns to fore-longing.
The mystery turns to opacity.
And the anxiety churns and churns...
Into a souring mix of doubts, hope and restlessness.

One day, maybe this illegitimacy will shed
Maybe the vaulted gates will swing open
But just a little to reveal his face
Or just the posteriority of eternity.
Maybe then he will whisper a prayer
To remind me of Calvary's adoption
To remind me that I am blood-related.

But until then, this is where I stand
Overlooking the tortuous existential terrains
Seemingly insurmountable.
Seemingly incomprehensible.
Slavishly following the crumbs he had left behind
Always hungry but no less hopeful though
Provoked by the taunting of faith
This narrow and dreary road.
I guess it's mine to trek.

I am a bastard child of faith.
I am also an adopted child of the most high.

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