If only Tolkien had known then what we know now about his “unsuccessful” work. And if only we knew now what we will one day know about our own work and how it fits into God’s overall plan to save and heal the world.
As it is with the human body, so it is with faith: if the doctrinal “skeleton” is the only thing or even the main thing people can see when they look at our faith, it means either our faith is malnourished and sick, or it is dead.
Instead of running and hiding and creating masks with which to cover their nakedness, the Bible’s most exemplary saints shed their masks in favor of transparency and self-disclosure.
What are we to make of the fact that a little child, versus some Nietzschean “Superman” (Ubermensch), is the one who will come to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found?
And even our flaws and frailties and the acknowledgment thereof is a grace, a sign of God’s kingdom at work in us. As Leonard Cohen has said, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
I suppose what I’m trying to say here is that the “faithful wounds” God sometimes calls us to inflict on one another as mutual “surgeons of the soul”—always as with a healing scalpel and never as with an injurious sword—can sometimes create further relational strain.
As much as we can rejoice in, get inspired by, and find comfort in certain parts of the Bible, other parts will disturb us—namely, the parts that contradict our feelings, instincts, hopes, dreams, traditions, and cultural values.
Because the world is quiet in the middle of the night without the usual distractions of checklists, schedules, deadlines, meetings, interruptions, screens, and iThings, I also find myself wrestling with an inner dis-equilibrium in relation to God.
Words transform. They heal. And they can…and sometimes do…“hurt me.”
Considering the collapse of my seven, famously isolated friends, I would rather risk transparency than risk the alternative. For the alternative, at least to me, seems like a much greater burden to bear.