I’m no longer afraid to admit that I’m a rationalistic and disenchanted person of faith. I’ve lived into this way of being long enough to own it. Because I was raised in a form of Christianity that frowned upon this kind faith, for many years I was embarrassed by it and not sure if I had a legitimate place in the church, especially as a pastor. But now I’m comfortable enough in my skin to say that this is the way I’m wired. This is the way I have been born in God’s image.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that there are phenomena beyond the understanding of human reason. I believe in divine realities greater than me or the world in which we live. Yet I grew up in a kind of Christianity that essentially engages the supernatural through placing faith in propositions about the supernatural or treating as literal or historical supernatural stories found in the Bible. This no longer cuts it for me.
Instead, I long for experiences of the divine rather than intellectual or faithful affirmations of dogmas or metaphysical systems. Such mystical experiences do not conflict with a rationalistic approach to faith, theology, and biblical scholarship—they transcend all of this. The rich traditions of Christian mysticism are perfectly suited for progressive and postmodern spiritualities that follow different paths than those of orthodox fundamentalism.
All of this came to mind this afternoon as I walked the new labyrinth at our church. Tomorrow Lauren Artress, an authority on the use of labyrinths, will offer a workshop at our church. She spent some time with our staff this afternoon, which I am grateful for because I’ll be in a presbytery assembly all day tomorrow.
My labyrinth walk this afternoon revealed to me a lot about where I am and what my soul longs for. My heart and mind are spinning.