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Running on faith



Through a friend of Sherry, I have come to know an evangelistic minister over the past few months. Sherry or I run into town on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to pick up his dog—a playful young golden retriever with the ironic name of Spike—so Spike can spend the day romping in our fenced-in back yard and playing with our four dogs. The pastor—let's call him Mark—drives to our house after work to pick Spike up. He always stays to chat with Sherry and me for a while before he heads home.

Today, Sherry wasn't home, so it was just Mark and me, and somehow the conversation turned toward religion. He began to reveal details of his faith to me. Once he got on a roll, he was something to see—and hear. It wasn't mere description—it was testimony. I cannot imagine anyone having any more faith in her or his God than Mark has.

Me? I'm a free agent. Do I have faith in something bigger? Yes. Do I express that faith within the boundaries of an organized religion? No. Does faith give me certainty or comfort? No—but I'm not particularly bothered by that. I tell my students all the time, "We've got to realize we're not driving the car. We're just passengers, and we have no idea where we're going or how we'll get there."

If you had told me a year ago that I would sit on my back porch one afternoon and discuss faith with an evangelist for 90 minutes, I would have scoffed. Mark, though, is so sincere that it's impossible to be cynical about what he says. He's a driver. He's certain of where his road is leading, and he'll take on as many passengers as his car will allow.

Me? I'm trying to see out of the car I'm riding in, but it's dark outside, storming, lightning strobing an unfamiliar and threatening landscape, the wipers barely keeping the windshield clear, the highway markings obliterated by water, the way forward unknown.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
nodressrehersal
Aug. 19th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
Great description in that last 'graph. I'm betting that your instincts kick in more than you know when your five senses aren't able to navigate the terrain.

I know a few folks like Mark, and I admire and am awed and inspired by their level of faith. I have faith and beliefs, just not the real structured kind anymore. But I think the "something bigger" meets us where we are and tries hard to accommodate the boundaries within which we are most comfortable, while gently prodding us to explore, maybe push up against those boundaries...
patrick_vecchio
Aug. 19th, 2013 02:38 am (UTC)
Your last sentence says a lot. I mean, you've got to want to be pushed, right? Or at least accept the idea that being pushed isn't a bad thing. Lots to think about.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

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• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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