Questions

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written here with any semblance of consistency.

This semester can be described as one of wonder and questions. With the wonder comes the questions, questions that worry and plague and surround me. And I think that’s okay; that is a result of living as a finite human in an infinite reality. But nonetheless.

How should I look at tradition and Scripture? In so many ways, Catholic and Orthodox tradition seem to speak the truth of the Christian faith in a much deeper way than evangelicalism and most Protestant sects, but what do I do with the doctrine that I can’t accept? Does my interpretation of Scripture always trump tradition, or should I rely on tradition to read Scripture correctly? How can the two mutually correct one another, and how might that affect the tradition I choose to enter?

How do I engage with the postmodern concept that every action is a power grab? How can I have a conversation with Nietzsche, who believes that nothing I do is selfless, that it’s just a conspiracy to gain power for myself? What do I do with the notion that I recognize this tendency within myself and I think that part of what Nietzsche says is true? Are purely selfless acts even possible, and is it good for an act to be partly in self-interest as long as the self is tied to the community?

How do I even think about the cosmos and the origins of the universe? Where do I even begin, and why is my capacity to even apprehend the bare minimum of it so limited?

How do I determine a vocation? When there’s so much need out there, how can I choose something that fulfills me but doesn’t address the immediate issues of poverty and human rights? How could I possibly justify pursuing graduate studies in literature when there’s so much work to be done on behalf of the poor?

How do emotion and reason balance? Ancient philosophy holds that reason guides passion into moderation, but ancient philosophy also believed the body was bad? How should we think about the body and everything tied to it (eating, exercise, emotion, sex, marriage)? Christ was embodied, and our emotions and passions are good, but how big of a role should they play in determining actions?

I’ve been thinking a lot. I love the questions; I love the inquiry so much. But I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near answers. And I think that’s okay, too.

George Herbert concludes his poem “Perseverence” with these lines:

Only my soul hangs on thy promises
With face and hands clinging unto thy breast,
Clinging and crying, crying without cease,
Thou art my rock, thou art my rest.

 

Perhaps that’s all there is to do. To persevere through the questions and cling to the promises.

Thou art my rock, thou art my rest.

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3 thoughts on “Questions

  1. Dear Abbie, Yes, you have been thinking very deeply and are able to express your questions very well. You will live your whole life with many questions and answers will come through experiences as you have a teachable spirit and open heart. You have already experienced many things that have stretched your thinking and made many demands on you at an early age. I am looking forward to being with you in Florida and having time to share. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I have learned many things throughout my life, and I , too, have been thinking of things I want to share with you grandchildren before I get much older. Each day is precious to me as I know in whom I have believed, and He leads me daily as I abide in Him and He abides in me, and I don’t have to struggle to produce my life. I encourage you to take a long walk on the beach, observing the vastness of the ocean and the sand, and know that the Lord of the universe who knows your intellectual struggles will speak to you and give you peace without all the questions being answered. I can hear my father singing in his deep bass voice, ” On Christ the solid rock I stand Your great grandfather had a strong and simple faith and so did your grandfather. You have a great heritage. All other ground is sinking sand.” I,too, have found the Lord to be my rock and My rest, and He has never failed me yet. This will be a busy week as we are having our Teamwork Board Meeting. I have Jeff and Cliff [ our consultant] staying here with me and I will host a 25th anniversary dinner for the board here on Thursday night. We have a lot of decisions to make,so please pray for wisdom and guidance for us as we discuss many important issues. I am thankful for the miracle that is taking place at the City of Hope and praise God that my family have been a part of it. Looking forward to having all the family together like our old beach trips. Love, Mamaw

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