St. Stephen's Musings

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:: Saturday, August 09, 2003 ::

Asking Questions and Listening to Answers

We are back from the beach, sunburned but refreshed!...Well, I'm sunburned. The Italian blood in my wife keeps the color in her skin a nice tan. I come in only three shades of color: white, pink, and red.

On the trip home, the wife was reading Frederica Mathewes-Green book, "At the Corner of East and Now" and sharing passages that particularly struck her. I had forgotten this one:

"Truth is indeed One, and all sincere spiritual paths are questing toward that one truth, and all grasp some aspects of the light. Our culture is inclined to extend this insight to a fallacious conclusion: that where religions agree with us, with our current ideas, is truth, and where they disagree is the process of pursuing this notion we fail to get at the heart of what committed spiritual faith is like: it is committed to something specific...."

"There is currently popular reluctance to forming any particular ideas about spiritual reality: the journey is deemed more important than the destination. Yet the journey must be going somewhere, it must be aiming to arrive sometime, or it's mere idle wandering. If we prefer uncertainty to conclusions, our questing is insincere."

Before I became Orthodox I had a bumper sticker on my beat-up '77 Honda which read, "Not all who wander are lost."

During my post-Protestant, Buddhist days I found this thought comforting. I had rejected the faith of my upbringing but had yet to find sometime whole enough to replace it. I felt like a wanderer, but not like my secular friends. I was, at least in my opinion, still pursuing the spiritual life and for that I was better than them. I was wandering, yes, but I was far from lost. ...

Or so I thought. When I found Orthodoxy something hit me. I realized that previously my vision of what being a "spiritual person" should be and how I should get there was based almost totally on my own ideas and desires. I was living an "individualized" life, rather than a "personal" one. I was not only making up the questions, but filling in the answers all by myself.

Erica recently discovered the same tendency in herself. After having a deep discussion with a priest she wrote, "I fancied myself as one who is seeking truth through religion; I was told (in a slightly loving way) that I was actually not seeking truth, but only seeking questions (and often with that, contention). Fr David saw that I was not serious about finding a religion, but merely searching for one, disrespecting each one I found with my faux piety. He told me to stop asking questions and to listen to the answers."

How often it *was* that I wanted to ask questions and not listen to the answers that are always found in the Church! How often it *is* now that I like to answer the questions myself, with my own woefully inadequate knowledge and sin-filled heart!

Erica was told what we all fear, but also know in our hearts to be true when the priest "said that I was afraid of finding the truth, of getting answers to my questions, because if I found the answers, and the truth, then I would have to devote my whole life to it."

Listening and then living out those time-tested answers that are found in the Church is a life-long journey. One I realized then and continue to realize now, I have not even really begun, but want to with all my heart.

:: Karl :: 3:50:00 PM [Link] ::

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