Krista and I have joined the rest of our church, St. Bartholomew’s, in reading N.T. Wright’s book, Simply Christian. I’ve enjoyed knowing that this is a unified effort by the church body as we read and consider the same things together. It is an expression of unity, similar to the way that the liturgy unifies us each week. My Friday morning men’s group discusses it, and each week someone from the congregation writes a reflection on the chapter from that week, so there is plenty of opportunity for dialogue.
I’ve just finished part one, where Wright shares four areas in our human experience that point to a reality beyond the one we directly know through our five senses.
– the longing for justice
– the quest for spirituality
– the hunger for relationships
– the delight in beauty
He calls each of these an “echo of a voice” that calls from beyond ourselves. None of these prove that God exists, but they open our minds to the possibility that we are indeed known by a God who created us all with similar, God-like desires.
In the introduction, Wright says that his aim is “to describe what Christianity is all about,” for those inside and outside the faith. In part one, he has begun to do just that, laying a foundation for curiosity about God, without using these echoes as some kind of definitive proof. This approach is a relief after having grown up around the Josh McDowell apologetic approach which “demands a verdict” from the listener, beyond the reach of doubt. It’s not that McDowell didn’t present a very convincing case, but it left me wondering if this assault of evidences allowed room for faith strong enough to withstand uncertainty.
The shadows of doubt are long, and occasionally reach into every Christian’s soul. But the four areas above are experienced by every person on this earth at one level or another. When considered all together, they should cause each of us to stop and say, “Something seems to be going on in the world that is beyond my simple explanations of reality.”
I believe something beyond my five senses is going on in the world, and there are signposts all along the journey that keep me moving down the path, even if they don’t definitively proof what my heart suspects is true.