I am part of the 2017 Cohort of the Living School, a 2-year program of (mostly) distance learning from Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation. The curriculum began in earnest in mid-September, and we are now in the second session of a program of intense reading. James Finley, one of the core faculty for the Living School, said this in his introduction:
“The process of contemplative lectio divina [sacred reading] involves sitting, pondering, reading and rereading, then returning to sit with seminal passages that blow you away and leave you unable to find closure in your present way of seeing things.”
“Unable to find closure in your present way of seeing things,” which he later says includes “the willingness to be perplexed,” may be one of the most important aspects of spiritual maturity, the necessary path to grow in faith. The ability to welcome and hold each other in perplexity, rather than dive right into pat answers that claim certainty, may be one of the most important tasks of a faith community. The questions that have confronted me have been the doorways to a deepening of my faith life, a signal that my old mental models were no longer adequate, that the Holy Spirit was inviting me into a deeper way of seeing. The Episcopal Church has always held me in my questions — welcomed them, probed them, and enabled me to grow in them — and I am deeply grateful for it.
A couple of months ago St. Barnabas’ printed up these magnetic bumper stickers.
Enigmatic as these stickers are, they are intended to convey our respect for the deep questions of our faith life, especially the questions that arise as we move from childhood to adulthood. It may be a question such as “what does Jesus have to do with my life?” or “what do the Bible stories of 2000 years ago have to do with me?” or “what’s with the Virgin birth, anyway?” “Is the wine at the Eucharist really the blood of Christ?”
Got questions? We believe God welcomes our questions. Bring your questions to the church, and let’s explore them together.