Friday, March 02, 2007

Flickering Faith

B&W light

We moved out of our flat last weekend and so we're currently shacked up with Grace's mum and dad. Living in the city centre was great but one of the things I won't miss is the flickering spotlight in the ceiling of our old kitchen. After a few years of happily providing light it developed a will of it's own. Sometimes I'd click the switch and it would come on obediently in perfect syncronisation with it's three other siblings. But more often than not it would decide to stay unlit, or it would briefly say hello then turn itself off again. Then back on. For a minute or two. Then off again. I took the thing apart several times but couldn't seem to do anything to fix it.
When I was blogging recently about Britney I divulged some personal details about struggles I've had in my faith journey over the last few years. One of my mystery guests asked to know more about this aspect of my life. The flickering light image came to mind as I considered how I might respond. I'll probably need to post on this theme quite a few times from different perspectives to fully describe what's been going on over the last few years but flickering lights seems like a good place to start.
Some people talk about having a childlike faith (not childish faith) and I really envy that. I've even aspired to it, tried to possess it, but it's proven too illusive. My faith is complicated, it's a compound of ideas, experiences and longings. About eight years ago it switched itself off for the first time, very briefly, for about ten minutes, right in the middle of a time of worship. I remember it vividly - I fell to my knees like someone had punched me in the stomach. Fortunatley it was a fairly expressive worship time and the people around me must've just thought I was enjoying a Holy Spirit moment. I wasn't. I was experiencing a waking nightmare. My head was spinning through space and my heart felt overwhelmed with the nothingness of everything. From deep inside my psyche I remembered and relived the fear I felt one night as a child when the hallucinations of a really high fever had washed over me. That fear is familiar to me now. It walks proudly like a truth as it proclaims with empirical efficiency: There is no God.
...to be continued.

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1 comment:

JW said...

Powerful description. It does remind me of a moment I experienced in collage, when someone presented me with a contradiction in the bible that I could not justify without changing totally how I related to it. When I first encountered it I physically shook and I agonised for a week before I actually looked it up, reaching the point of no return:
It was a misquote, but it taught me that the best way to deal with a lack of faith is to talk to God! Because otherwise, you will just avoid anything that could make your faith weaker, and just float in indecision missing out on what God wants.

I also find honest worship of God is the quickest way to find my state of health: At the moment I know that I am overly proud and grasping, because it comes out in over-serious worship. But regardless of how I define where I am going wrong, I am learning that going deeper in worship is more about holy abandon than it is about absolute focus, and more about expressing joy to God than getting my own "peak experience".