There are days when I wished I wrote an anonymous blog. There are many days like that. Maybe I’ll start another blog for days like this. I’m going for transparency, though, because I think that’s me and that’s what readers are looking for, and it’s difficult to be transparent behind the veil of anonymity. I like to write about what I know, but today, I feel like I need to write about what I don’t know. Let’s start with knowing. James Lovelock said, “I’m a scientist, not a theologian. I don’t know if there’s a God or not. Religion requires certainty.”
It does seem that way, doesn’t it? Those outside of religion look at us and deride us for our assurance in every detail of belief. It happens to those of us on the inside, too, though. I hate it when people are so cocky, so sure of themselves, of everything, in fact, that they cannot admit the possibility of their own error. I tilt my head to the side and furrow my brow at those people who are so terribly SURE of themselves, so certain that their opinions are the only correct opinions, so determined to make everyone else feel the rightness of the truths they hold to be self-evident. I’ve been besieged by my own doubts, lately, about my abilities in the classroom and even in my own living room. Those doubts make me loathe the self-confident surety of those smug people who seem to have it all together.
We feel the need to press our firmness of conviction on others, so that we feel justified in that surety. That bespeaks doubt. If we were so blasted certain, wouldn’t we be certain whether or not anyone else agreed? I know when I have felt the most certain in the past was usually when I was surrounded by other people with their “yesses” and “amens.” I feel certain when I get comments on a blog post that all agree with me and my perspective. I feel certain when it seems the popular consumption of what I write seems “up.” Truth is, though, I feed off those comments because of my doubts. I seek human approval because I doubt Godly approval. I, too often, see that success as evidence that God has blessed me, but then, I wonder…
Why do I write? Do I set ideas to internet to exorcise my internal questions that dog my thoughts? Do I type out posts to set my ideas straight, or to create a forum for my self-evident truths? Doubts crowd in and I scan the Scriptures for a cure. Luke wrote to Theophilus in Luke 1:3-4: “It seemed good to my also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” Doh. That doesn’t help. It seems as if Luke was one of those perpetually certain people. What about those of us who doubt?
Luke 24:38-41 “And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet that it is I myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have,’ When He had said this, He showed them his hands and his feet. But while they still did not believe him for joy, and marveled…” Luke is acknowledging that the disciples doubted for joy… it was just too good to be true. Grace is too much to be believed. We cannot be SURE of what does not make sense. As I posted the other day, Grace is a mystery.
I read this post by Rachel Held Evans the other day, and it struck me, on a deep level. She asks, Did Anne Frank go to hell? She writes: But I’m finally beginning to believe that the thing inside of me that compels me to ask uncomfortable questions like this one is worth listening to now and then, that maybe it’s not a weakness but a strength. I don’t know how grace works, but I have faith that it works as God intended, to cover our sins. I don’t know why I sometimes doubt, but I’m beginning to think my doubts have a purpose: self-reflection.
This, I realize is a disjointed piece of inquiry. I don’t know. There, I said it. I don’t know what I meant to say, or that I said it to anyone’s benefit except my own. That’s another reason I wish I wrote an anonymous blog, so that my insane ramblings could be hidden behind a mask, but I doubt that would bring me any clarity; that much is self-evident.