We live in a world that esteems certainty, of knowledge beyond doubt. But the arrogance of Enlightenment reason has been shown to be, in so many ways, naive.
None of this makes knowledge bad; quite the opposite, knowledge is beautiful. But like beauty, knowledge is not easy to pin down.
Faith is, in part, an acknowledgement of our inability to really know many things with certainty.
Now when I say faith I don’t mean mere belief, Read the rest of this entry
Is it problematic that it is so often impossible to distinguish the social visions of most Christians from their political party of choice?
Over the weekend I went on retreat to heaven (i.e. Cudgee) with friends from Melbourne. One of the things that we discussed at a number of points was the story of Jesus’ wilderness temptation in Matthew 4.
In this story we see Jesus, the one who was sent to change everything, being offered the apparent means to enact such change and solve many of the world’s problems – material possessions, religious power and political power. Rather than accepting such earthly power, Jesus rejects it – it is simply not the way of the kingdom of God.
Jesus instead chose a different way, a way in which people were invited into the life of God in the world, not coerced by power. This Way was not grasped by those in power, and this incomprehension continues today.
Christians are called to continue this mission, one of embodying rather than enforcing, of inviting rather than inciting, of compassion rather than control. It is the way of love.
What does this Way embodied by Christ mean for Christian engagement with modern politics, with the centre of power? Read the rest of this entry
From Fr. John Dear in his book Put Down Your Sword:
For years, one of my friends, the legendary folksinger Pete Seeger, has questioned friends and audiences who feel hopeless. “In the early 1970s,” he asks, “did you ever expect to see President Nixon resign because of Watergate?”
“No,” people answer.
“Did you ever expect to see the Pentagon leave Vietnam the way it did?”
“No, we didn’t,” everyone answers.
“In the 1980s, did you expect to see the Berlin Wall come down so peacefully?” Pete asks.
“No, never,” they respond.
“In the 1990s, did you expect to see Nelson Mandela released from prison, apartheid abolished, and Mandela become president of South Africa?”
“Never in a million years.”
“Did you ever expect the two warring sides of Northern Ireland to sign a peace agreement on Good Friday?”
“If you can’t predict those things,” Pete concludes, “don’t be so confident that there’s no hope! There’s always hope!”
We do not know what the future will bring. We cannot see where the road is leading. We know the sufferings, wars, and injustices tearing us apart, but we do not know the outcome. And so we cannot presume that there is no hope of a new world of peace.
We only know our mission, our vocation, our duty is to proclaim God’s reign of peace and resist the anti-reign of war.
We know that the God of peace is alive and active among the struggling people of the world. We know that if we repent of our violence and take up God’s way of nonviolence, the world can be transformed into a haven of harmony for everyone. We know that if we stay on the road to peace, one day we will enter God’s house of peace and meet the God of peace face-to-face.
The key, then, is to remain faithful to the journey of peace, to take the next step on the path of nonviolence, to join hands with one another and walk forward with hope.
I regularly need to be reminded…