We long for a “Simple Faith.”
Mistaking Easy for Simple, we hurt each other.
Shame, not clarity, is the fruit of alliteration, four point sermons, and easy answers.
I am an artist and art is often the grid I use for examining life and faith. Art embraces and capitalizes upon the use of dichotomies. I looked up the definition (thank you Bing) and I was surprised to find TWO definitions. Good art requires the full utilization of BOTH definitions.
1. a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different. Synonyms: contrast, difference, polarity,conflict, gulf, chasm, division, separation, split, contrariety
2. repeated branching into two equal parts.
The first definition included the either/or sentence fragment: “a rigid dichotomy between science and mysticism.”
The second definition does not. I have created my own both/and sentence fragment: “a rigid dichotomy of science and mysticism.”
It behooves us (behoove was fun to use in a blog post!) to consider a large portion of life as befitting (goes nicely with behoove don’t you think?) the second definition, a branching of equal parts.
Consider that orange is the opposite of blue. Yellow and purple are complimentary. Red and green sit at six and twelve on the color wheel. Things get interesting as we leave the simplicity of opposites and explore equal parts and branching. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue unless you are dealing with light when green replaces yellow. We tend towards either/or when we need to consider the complexity of both/and. It opens up so many possibilities.
Black is NOT the opposite of white. Truth is neither black nor white. Grays make color sing. Fact and fiction are more closely related than most imagine with fiction often carrying weightier truth than fact. Fear is not the opposite of faith. And each of us is unique, while all of us are created in the image of God.
Our children do not walk away from faith because of evil college professors or liberal agendas. They walk away because we have offered easy answers, sound bites, and alliterated sermons for life’s problems.
Life is hard. Truth is complicated.
Asking the right question is as important as having the right answer. When reality confronts easy answers, foundations crumble, and the lie of “Easy” is revealed.
Wisdom fails when we lie to our children about Truth. Easy answers are neither loving nor kind. Easy answers don’t set captives free.
Do you have some easy answers from which you might need to repent?
Consider the friend who lost a child.
Consider the spouse who lost their partner.
Consider the child who lost a parent.
Consider the neighbor unable to pay their bills.
Consider the Other.
Have you offered an easy answer? Have you ever wrap an easy answer in a Bible verse?
I know you have. We all have.
SILENCE is better than an easy answer.
Yesterday was the four year anniversary of the death of my niece, Lauren. Death is brutal. Mourning is brutal. Well meaning (mean!) people tossing around scriptures and platitudes to make themselves comfortable with your discomfort is brutal..
I have mellowed, ever so slightly, and I am a kinder person than I was 20 years ago, but toss out a scripture as if it is band-aid and kindness takes a hike.
And while you are silent, listen. It is possible that in the silence the right question might manifest.
After Lauren died several months past before I was able to paint again. This is the first painting I did after her death. It was/is different from what I was or am doing, but it was very important. This painting allowed me to move forward. I began with an old painting of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” If I gave it a title, I have forgotten. I will title it again some day, but not today.