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Attempts to illuminate our brief mortal existence

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Sadness and Doubt

The sadness of the world is that there is nothing so beautiful that it cannot be marred. No motive so noble that it cannot be tainted. No cause so pure that it cannot be perverted. It is this sadness that makes it so hard to try to live with your eyes open and your heart and mind engaged. Ultimately, it is this sadness that brings me doubt about my faith in it's softest, most beguiling and insidious form.

If Jesus' death and resurrection is more than our ticket to a glorious afterlife; if the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in us; and if our purpose here on earth is more than persuading people to move themselves from one category of person to another, then... why doesn't it seem to work? Personally and institutionally, Christians mess up at about the same rate as those around us. Our personal lives carry the same self-induced and other-induced pain. Our churches calcify into cultural edifices just like other institutions. Even those of us who look good usually do so by dint of hiding some darkness. The Church has done much good through the years, but it's also done some unspeakable evil (just like everybody else). So... what gives?

What do you think?

Note: in case anybody is worried, this is not a post about how I'm giving up on Christianity. I follow Jesus and will until I die. This is just a really important question for me, and I want to know what you think.


  1. Something C.S. Lewis said comes to mind, although I don't remember it exactly. Something like, "The question is not why Susy gossips even though she is a Christian--the question is how much worse of a gossip she would be without Christ in her life." I haven't examined all the theological implications of that statement, maybe there's something wrong with it that I haven't seen. :) And living a new life and dying to sin is never easy, it's always a process, and the glorious thing about Christianity is that even though Christians are still sinners, they're redeemed. I don't doubt the changing power of the Gospel--I doubt my desire to be really and fully changed. 3 random thoughts right there. Too lazy to fully connect dots. :)

  2. I hear you, Lys, but... is this what it's about? "Not great, but better than it could be?"

  3. :) No. I think Christianity and Christ and the Gospel are great, and when Christ is not showing greatly in my life, it's because I'm not letting Him transform me into a little Christ--not that He doesn't have the power to do so. G.K. Chesterton--"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

  4. Hmmm. So, now you're saying that it really comes down to our effort? *quirked eyebrow*

  5. Phil. 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," and also I Cor. 10:13, "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." Clearly, then, we have the power available to defeat temptation and resist sin (and no we can't do it on our own, we have to ask for help, that's biblical too). And if our lives aren't showing evidence of that power, is it then God's fault? I don't think so...we have free will.