[photo: Erin Dunigan]
If you are like me, you are pretty gosh darn tired of some of the religious “debate” of the day. It seems like the new “norm” in public conversations about faith, religion and spirituality have been hijacked by those from two extremes: those who consider faith a delusional escape from reality for the weak-minded and those who believe the ultimate intent of faith is to kick the respective a$$ of everyone else to determine God’s favorite child.
But I know better. I know there are more of you navigating all of this in a different way, because people email, comment in more secure areas or whisper at gatherings that they are more interested in living in that treacherous and ambiguous middle ground that is the reality of life than engaging with the extreme voices.
You theological conversation lurkers, you have been exposed!
While, yes, I believe that God hopes for us to live radical lives of love and justice, I do not believe that same radicality applies when it comes to how we approach faith: neither with a posture of rigidity or a submission to apathy. In fact, I believe that the place between the outright dismissal of God’s existence and controlling God’s voice is where we find the radical nature of God’s calling on our lives. For it is in that place where we truly pressed into experience the holy and divine.
That middle place is where we are forced to examine everything about how we live and what we believe. We are compelled to deftly straddle that line between a paralyzing over-analysis of every aspect of our lives and simply doing what we think God hopes us to do. We are asked to fully embrace and live the nuance of life and, discern God’s intentions for humanity, and discover God’s hopes for each and every one of us. Basically, we boldly claim that life and faith are just not as easy to explain as so many would want us to think. We embrace the gray of life and take a courageous stand against those who would claim otherwise.
So keep it up those that want to force the rest of the world to be confined to your particular band of religious discourse. Honestly, you all who want to own and bully your way through the airwaves and comment threads, by all means. I will still engage in gracious dialogue, speak up when you are misrepresenting the religious tradition in which I serve and always see you as a complex child of the God . . . whether you want to be or not. That’s just the way I roll.
So for your lurkers, middle-sitters and embracers of the gray, keep living that courageously radical life.
It’s a good place to be.