Saturday, April 19, 2014

Guest Post: The Hope of Holiness

I teach theology. I have a PhD in theology. In common parlance, that makes me a theologian.

Yet, more often than I’d want to admit, I get those accusing, dismissive voices in the back of my mind, “Who are you? You know who you are? And you pose as someone who can talk about God?” Often accompanied by a short, or long, list of ways that I am presumptuous for thinking that. Ways that clearly don’t mark me as a man of God.

Things I’ve done, or not done, in the past. Fears and anxieties and misplaced hopes in the present.

That’s something writers get too. For other reasons usually. The idea that I have something to say is one of the biggest reasons people don’t write or try to share what they write.

Our pasts, our memories, our sense of self have much to say on our potential sources of insight or wisdom. Mostly what it says is, “Don’t bother.”

Who am I to talk about God? Or pursuing the spiritual life?

This is a Saturday question as well. Our pasts have caught up with us... (read more)

Patrick O


sakredkow said...

Thanks Paddy O. This is just about exactly how I feel, most of the time.

bagoh20 said...

Didn't Jesus struggle with this himself? He did alright.

Shouting Thomas said...

My religious practice works for me.

I feel no need to evangelize, and I don't.

Like most of the really good things in my life, my religious practice is intensely private. I can't see much reason to go public.

Do I think religious practice would be helpful to most people? Yes. Is it my job to convince them? No.

Michael Haz said...

Thanks, Paddy.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"There are moral quandaries, and we need guidance. And those who believe that the Judeo-Christian narrative is God's narrative should give special attention to the personal relevance of a body of men whose lifelong concern is the study of right and wrong, and how to tell the difference between the two."

WFB "Is There a Role for the Moralist?"
March 17, 1987

deborah said...

Thank you, Paddy, that is a timely message for me. I am at a crossroads and my past selfishness haunts me.

Hyrum W. Smith uses the metaphor that life is a sidewalk, where the past is hardened concrete and you cannot change it. But the future is unset. We can do nothing to change the past, but only go on and try to do better.

I especially liked this from your post:

"What is the story we live in? What is the story we put others in?"

Paddy O said...

ST, I think you share your story and experiences a fair amount. That's not handing out tracts, but it is a witness.

Bagoh, I think that's the brilliance of the narrative, it was conveyed as difficult even for Jesus, and he believed fully.

It works out alright and just keeping moving forward in the midst of discouragement and doubt is often all we can, and should, do.

Thanks, Lem for making space for this. I fell off of writing but occasionally something comes to mind. And I'm very glad if it was helpful or interesting to others hereabouts.

Unknown said...

On this holiest of Christian holidays, post-modern secular progressives pause to pay homage to Bob Dylan, because an adolescence lived in the 1960s and 1970s must constantly be resurrected.