DTS Magazine

To the Fellowship of the Uncertain, at Christmastime

Jen Hunt sent her poem forKindred Spirit with
her Christmas letter last year with the following explanation:
 

The poem began in my head when I received a TIME magazine
article a while back. The basic point of the essay was that those with
strong faith are to be feared; that earthly peace will only be realized
when religious people relinquish their claims to certainty. It even
went so far as to propose that our human limitations require us to deny
conviction. Because God is so much bigger, the reasoning went, He
cannot be completely knowable. So, we mustn’t get too carried
away. Unless you’re living under a rock you know these themes
have become axiomatic in Western culture.
 
Sound reasonable enough, don’t they? Yet, while I’m
all for humility in discussing my faith, after a year or two of the
kind of challenges* we have experienced, I have no desire to trade in
the comfort of orthodoxy for the cloak of  uncertainty.
Apparently the TIME
writer confuses peace with anesthesia. While God may by definition be
bigger than our minds, it doesn’t follow that we are
permitted to reject what He has opted to show of Himself. The One who
is beyond all knowing is also the One who took great pains to show
Himself as all holy, all loving, all powerful, and all present. This is
the God who revealed Himself to us on that first Christmas long ago.
 
“Cafeteria Christianity” may be experiencing a
comeback, but it is, like Garrison Keillor’s apt description
of a Lake Wobegon church potluck, a rather risky event. I hope I
won’t be around when the hymn, Blessed Assurance,
becomes “Blessed Agnosticism.” Even if I am, you
can be sure I won’t be jamming to the CD. While others
challenge it at the philosophical level I’ll do my part to
challenge it at the experiential level. It just won’t hold up
when the rains come.
 
*My letter later goes on to summarize some of those rains:
“faith challenges, financial setbacks, emotional hurdles,
career changes, health issues, scrapped moves, hasty moves, ministry
refocusings, altered school plans, and even the greatest loss of my
dear mother—none of this slated in our Palm Pilots, so to
speak.
 
Writing the poem helped me process the feelings of sadness I had in
receiving an article like this from an unbelieving loved one, someone
who had just gone through the death of his wife, as I had the death of
my mother, but without the comfort I know in Christ. Though it
certainly meant something to me personally, I thought the reference to
a mother’s death an appropriate way to universalize the sort
of real issues contemporary thinking is inadequate to address.
I’ll go on and state what I hope is obvious—that
the reference to Prozac and burnt fuses was my way of suggesting
evidence that our culture is broken and lacks answers to questions of
mortality, meaning, excess, and so on. Oh, and I really did have that
moment of conviction last year as I was busy decorating for the holiday
when I realized I had covered every flat surface in our duplex with
Christmas paraphernalia and had made room for everything but the
crèche.

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