Friday, December 13, 2013

The Irony of Faith

When Christianity aligns itself with power (and the mindset of power, which is the need to be right and always in control) there’s simply very little room for the darkness of faith; that spacious place where God is actually able to form us. We told individuals to “have faith,” but seldom modeled it at the corporate level, so very often the individual did not know how to do it either. (This became evident in the worldwide pedophilia scandal, where our leaders protected the institution over truth and mercy.)
Good powerlessness (because there is also a bad powerlessness) allows you to “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). You stop holding yourself up, so you can be held. There, wonderfully, you are not in control and only God needs to be right. That is always the very special space of any positive powerlessness and vulnerability, but it is admittedly rare.

Faith can only happen in this very special threshold space. You don’t really do faith, it happens to you when you give up control and all the steering of your ship. Frankly, we often do it when we have no other choice. Faith hardly ever happens when we rush to judgment or seek too-quick resolution of anything. Thus you see why faith will invariably be a minority and suspect position. And you also see why the saints always said that faith is a gift. You fall into it more than ever fully choosing it, and only then do you know how grace, love, and God can sustain you and strengthen you at very deep levels.

Richard Rohr