Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how my job was paying me to accompany some clients to the beach at Ocean City, Maryland for the week to help them grow in socialization and relaxation skills. If you remember, I wrote about sex and insanity that week (and that post caused some interesting problems for me later). On the beach reading front, at the time, I posted this picture:
Well, we’re back there again right now, and just yesterday, I found myself taking this picture without much thought:
Haha. I’m ridiculous. But at least I have good taste in over-sized classic books, right?
I’m currently reading through The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Early in the book, there is a scene where the entire Karamzov clan goes to meet with this elder priest to solve some disputes amongst themselves. Of course, being a Russian novel, before they can get to the actual disputes they engage in various forms of political and theological philosophizing for a few chapters. One of the brothers, Ivan, has one of his ideas brought up concerning moral differences between Christians and Non-christians. The elder hears this and immediately identifies it for what it is: an over-intellectualization to help explain away tensions and mysteries existing in Ivan’s heart that he can’t stop wrestling.
As any reader of my writings knows, in the past year or so I have been absolutely taken captive by the truth that Christianity, and therefore the Christian life itself, is fundamentally an exercise in holding tensions and living within mysteries that have no real answer in this life. As Peter Rollins says in the amazing book The Fidelity of Betrayal: “doubt is intimately tied up with faith, because the deep truth of faith gives birth to doubt.” In other words, only the true believer has experienced something in their heart that they can doubt in the first place. Unbelievers don’t doubt, they just don’t believe. But we Christians follow our forefather Jacob whose blessing was to wrestle with God and receive the very name Israel, which means “He wrestles with God”.