Thursday, February 5, 2009

It is not enough to have the right doctrines

Christ and the Magdalen, by Arthur Hacker

Diakonia According to Me (3):

We need an experience of faith in order to be able to face every question that arises.

How many times do I have to remind myself that faith is not rehearsing beautiful ideas but rather experiencing, in my life, the same exact thing that John and Andrew experienced when John the Baptist introduced them to Christ?

Look, over there...it's Him!

Hey! Where do you live?

Come and see...

If you have never been in the company of a strange man who points and says, "Look, over there...it's Him!" or if you've never been minding your own business (drawing water from a well, for instance) and then suddenly met a man who could tell you everything you'd done or if you've never been an outcast and despised and then found a person who looked at you as if you were human and valuable beyond all reckoning...

If you haven't had such an experience, then you're not Christian.

If, when this strange event happened to you, you didn't go where that strange man was pointing or if you weren't changed by the unusual man at the well in such a way that you couldn't stop speaking about him to everyone you knew or if you didn't stay near and true to the person who had looked at you in such a way that you knew you were loved by the love that moves the stars...

If you didn't have this sort of response, then you're not Christian.

Christianity is simply this: you are called by name and you follow.

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."