Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…

The Mystical Wonder of Worship

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Donald Miller in “Blue Like Jazz”

I read a book a long time ago about Mother Teresa. Somebody in the book asked her how she summoned the strength to love so many people. She said she loved people because they are Jesus, each one of them is Jesus, and this is true because it says so in the Bible. And it is also true that this idea contradicts that facts of reality: Everybody can’t be Jesus. There are many ideas within Christian spirituality that contradict the facts of reality as I understand them. A statement like this offends some Christians because they believe if aspects of their faith do not obey the facts of reality, they are not true. But I think there are all sorts of things our hearts believe that don’t make any sense to our heads. Love, for instance: we believe in love. Beauty. Jesus as God.

It comforts me to think that if we are created beings, the things that created us would have to be greater than us, so much greater, in fact, that we would not be able to understand it. It would have to be greater than the facts of our reality, and so it would seem to us, looking out from within our reality, that it would contradict reason. But reason itself would suggest it would have not greater reality, or it would not be reasonable.

When we worship God we worship a Being our life experience does not give us the tools with which to understand. If we could, God would not inspire Awe. Eternity, for example, is not something the human mind can understand. We may be able to wrap out heads around living forever (and we can do this only because none of us has experienced death), but can we understand what it means to have never been born? I only say this to illustrate that we, as Christians, believe things we cannot explain. And so does everybody else.

I have a friend who is a seminary student who criticizes certain Christian writers for embracing what he calls “mysticism.” I asked him if his statement meant that he was not a mystic. Of course not, he told me. I asked him if he believed that the Trinity represented three separate persons who are also one. He said he did. I asked him if that would be considered a mystical idea. He just stood there thinking.

You cannot be a Christian without being a mystic.

I was talking to a homeless man at a laundry mat recently, and he said that when we reduce Christian spirituality to math we defile the Holy. I thought that was very beautiful and comforting because I have never been good at math. Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me. The little we do understand, that grain of sand out minds are capable of grasping, those ideas are such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever.

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Written by Ryan

February 7, 2007 at 12:21 am

Posted in Donald Miller

One Response

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  1. As a fellow Donald Miller fan, you might wanna check this out:

    http://donnysramblings.com/2007/06/24/donald-miller-is-on-flickr/

    Cool? I think so.

    Donny

    June 24, 2007 at 2:55 am


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