Monday, July 29, 2013

Jerked out of "the warm comfort of our own understanding"

From the first chapter of Matthew Lee Anderson's The End of Our Exploring:
.... Pain renders the world's goodness questionable. It shocks us out of our complacent attachment to the blessings of comfort and prosperity. It reopens the universe to us, casting a shadow over our lives and the goodness we had wrongly "taken for granted." When we see the reason for our pain, when we are finally given the meaning—the satisfaction will be a joy beyond words, a peace beyond understanding. But until then, the questions that grip us demonstrate the nature of our hearts and our fundamental need for the purification of our desires.

It is a sign of the frailty of contemporary Christianity, rather than its strength, that we often do not begin to question until the megaphone of suffering has awakened us from our sleep. Until suffering comes upon us, the explorations that consume our hearts and our communities reflect the shallowness of our lives. We ask our questions forgetting that we lie under the shadow—under the sentence—of death. Our lack of courage keeps us free to live among distractions and trivialities and stay within the warm comfort of our own understanding. But our "freedom" is only bondage, and these days our chains are only broken when death and pain's rude irruption turns our faces toward the unknown, undiscovered country all around us. ....
The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith

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