Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Disillusionment and Illumination

One thing I have noticed about many young Christians (myself included) is we are weighed down by a sense of disillusionment with the church. We feel put off by the dogma, frustrated with the leadership, and rejected by the conservative culture. There are too many questions that we're not allowed to ask and too many thoughts that we're not allowed to think--there may be freedom in Christ, but we've been stifled by the church.

It is because of my own experiences (as well as many discussions with friends) that I understand God to be latent. Despite a few personal interactions with God, for the most part God seems so far removed from normal life. Although God occasionally shows up in the small things, God seems totally absent from the heavier issues. My feelings toward "the God question" waver between hope and despair--and I know I'm not the only one.

I ran across the following poem by R. S. Thomas (as reproduced in Signs of Emergence by Kester Brewin) that really captures some of my darker thoughts. This poem is about disillusionment, futility, and questioning. . . .

The Empty Church

They laid this stone trap
for him, enticing him with candles,
as though he would come like some huge moth
out of the darkness to beat there.
Ah, he had burned himself
before in the human flame
and escaped, leaving the reason
torn. He will not come any more
to our lure. Why, then, do I kneel still
striking my prayers on a stone
heart? Is it in hope one
of them will ignite yet and throw
on its illumined walls the shadow
of someone greater than I can understand?

I don't know why I still search for God--but I can't seem to give up. So I continue to strike prayers like matches, hoping that the small lights will illuminate "someone greater than I can understand."

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