Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Spiritual Journey as an Adventure

          I am at the point in the semester when I really do not have time for blogging. I really shouldn't have time for sleeping, eating, or socializing, but I am doing all of those, so why not blog? My mind has been so full of different thoughts. My trip out east was so meaningful and I am still mulling over conversations that I had there. On my drive home, I listened to several podcasts and then upon arriving home, I have dove back into my theological reading. I wish I had more time to process all this that is happening. But I do want to share a little of my current faith journey. Below are some quotes from the book What Would Jesus Deconstruct: The Good News of Post-modernism for the Church by John D. Caputo. I read this for my cultural hermeneutics class and saw my own journey in these words.

     "But a genuine adventure means venturing out into the unknown, where no one knows the way and we are not sure whose steps to follow... Are we not like people following an obscure clue, on the tracks, on the trail, in the trace of something-we-are-not-sure-what? Are those who write about spiritual journeys sometimes a little too assure about where they are going and how to get there? There are, after all, two ways to be on the way: the first, in which one knows the way and the task is to get there (which certainly can be hard enough), and the second, in which one must, like an explorer, find the way. In the latter and, I am inclined to think, more postmodern situation, one is always a little lost, where being lost and being on the way, far from excluding each other, mutually imply each other." Page 39.

For those who know me well, you know that I love adventure. I crave adventure. And so to speak of my spiritual journey as an adventure makes a lot of sense. This current adventure of mine here at seminary has been me feeling lost. I can't say why I am here. I can't tell you how I am going to use my degree or what use a theological education is. But perhaps, like the quote explains, being lost means that I am on my way. Where that is, I don't know, but right now I am very excited about the adventure.

     "We have a sense, a faith, a hope in something, a love of something we know not what, something that calls on us. The great dignity of being human lies in pursuing goals for which there is no guarantee of success and even, at a certain point, no hope of success. But being 'religious people,' by which I mean people who dream of things that have never been and ask 'why not?' we still pursue them." Page 49.
     "Real journeys are full of unexpected turns and twists, requiring a faith that can move mountains and a hope against hope, where one does not see what one was trying to do until the journey is completed." Page 52.

I think this describes beautifully the reason why I am here at seminary. I have this sense, this hope, this love of something that I cannot fully describe. Perhaps it is God? And perhaps I won't know until the journey is over.

          While visiting my friend Amy in DC, I went with her to a church service where her housemate Ian spoke. He delivered this beautiful sermon on "Where is God?" http://8th-day.org/sermons/where-god I encourage everyone to read the entire thing, but I want to use a quote from it here, because it seemed to just fit perfectly with Caputo's reading and my own faith journey.

     "Quite honestly, I do not have an answer the question I posed in this sermon.  Where is God?  I cannot always be sure.  My home church, First Unitarian Church of St Louis, used to have a banner out front that read, “The Search is the Answer.”  This feels right to me.  More than a clever, quotable statement of Unitarian Universalist theology, it is an ambitious truth.  Questions often leave us reeling in the dark.  To be present in the suffering of our search and to extend grace to ourselves throughout is quite a radical notion.  And to celebrate it seems just short of madness.  But what if we make that journey together?  We may not come from the same place or even arrive at the same answers, but maybe our connection along this road is the answer.  Maybe there we encounter a love subversive enough to claim divinity."  

I love that last line. This is the journey that I am on. It is a journey where there are not a lot of answers, but that is also the beauty of it. And I am not alone. The great thing about this journey is that I join a community of believers who do are not perfect but are on this adventure together and perhaps it is in the adventure, in the search, that we will encounter the divine.

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