How Much Grace for Our Confusion?

All of us see "as through a glass, darkly," limited to dirty, imperfect subjectivity.

I think about the purpose of theology, and the nature of (T)ruth and wonder, as frail, fragile beings: "how much is expected of us?"

Likely, the answer is different for each person. What does God expect of me, my beliefs and my praxis? - Me, an educated [well, semi-educated], white, upper-middle-class kid who has been blessed with very little personal trial, hardship or sorrow (apart from the standard, easily-medicated suburbanite-depression)...

Does God expect more or less from a refugee in Darfur? Does God expect a "Lost Boy" to waste his time with such theological posturing - or does God merely whisper love and hope into that young man's life, by every means available, and reward any goodness or compassion that might flower amidst the horror and wreckage of war?

I've been fascinated by singer/songwriter Tori Amos for years - by the darkness underlying so much of her music. The daughter of a conservative minister, a rape victim, and the survivor of a fundamentalist environment that demeaned women as second-class citizens, Amos rejected Evangelical faith (surprise!). In her book Piece By Piece Amos describes a Gnostic faith that later would emerge for her. In it, she found greater room for beauty, mystery, mysticism and femininity in the Divine. She found a concept of God that did not represent that abuse, misogyny and violence of her past.

Maybe the Gnostic Gospels are nothing but heresy. Maybe there are inklings of truth (as there are, everywhere). But I have a hard time condemning someone's "bad theology" once I've heard their story... Our story is the lens through which we see and understand everything else. How can we not be impacted by the cracked and dirty glass held in front of our eyes?

Does God expect us to see clearly?
Does God magically reveal True ("correct") theology?
Or does God recognize the texture of the glass through which we see, and make allowance (grace) for our blurred vision?


In grade school, I prayed to Aslan because he was easier to conjure in my mind.

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