Monday, August 10, 2009

When faith is lost, where do you look for it?

I like my house. I’m hooked on a heating and air conditioning system that keeps the place pleasant during blizzards and heat waves. Shelves of familiar books, a washer and dryer that always hum when we’re together, frayed favorite carpets, towels and shirts, all are plusses in this place where I’m used to the aggressive cat hair.

It isn’t as up to date as it could be, and it doesn’t have a swimming pool, but it is okay and comfortable and challenging all at the same time. It is sort of like church.

Sometimes faith gets dry, like the plants my wife left for me.

When things break down, I don’t ever think about walking away from the house and never coming back. Sometimes church breaks down, as in inquisitions, burning of witches, disdain for Christ’s example of love and forgiveness, sexual misadventures, cruelty toward the poor and the collapse of character into self-satisfaction.

Plumbing problems at home? I won’t move out. Integrity problems at church? They could provide a cover for religious anarchists, victims of neglect and spiritual loners to shed it all, but this lets a spiritual recession tumble into a great depression of the spirit.

Architects will build better houses as time goes by, and believers be better at building faith. Nothing is more real than faith, or less understood. The evolution of the created world is tediously gradual. So is the evolution of faith.

Church is described as the mystical body of Christ, unseen except in its human dimension of pulpits, pews and steeples. Faith in this visible church is a counterfeit of faith in the mystical body. To lose confidence in the pulpit is not the same as losing belief in God. Doubts come and go. The Eternal never goes.

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