I created this blog as a way to process and record my experience as a seminary student. I also hope it will provide a platform for my friends and family to participate in the journey. Some of the entries are kind of long, but what can I say--I was in graduate school, they made us do that...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reverent Agnostic

I just finished reading the book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs. It's a great book--especially for a seminarian--but hilarious for anyone. I highly recommend it! One of the last paragraphs struck me and verbalized something I've been thinking about for awhile. Here's the paragraph:

Do I believe in a traditional biblical God? Well, not in the sense that the ancient Israelites believed in Him. I could never make the full leap to accepting a God who rolls up His sleeves and fiddles with our lives like a novelist does his characters. I'm still agnostic. But in the words of Elton Richards, I'm now a reverent agnostic. Which isn't an oxymoron, I swear. I now believe that whether or not there's a God, there is such a thing as sacredness. Life is sacred. The Sabbath can be a sacred day. Prayer can be a sacred ritual. There is something transcendent, beyond the everyday. It's possible that humans created this sacredness ourselves, but that doesn't take away from its power or importance. (329)

This is a beautiful paragraph. And I find it to be full of truth, even as I struggle with the word transcendent and admit to being fairly confident that "humans created sacredness ourselves," even though I have no proof either way!

I believe that sacredness is found in the immanent realm of earthy, everyday life. I must admit, however, that I also believe in mystery and miracles. Yes, miracles. Our lives--our very existence--is miraculous. Our ability to love and dance and offer kindness is miraculous. I believe that paying attention to the sacred makes us better, kinder, more open people. I believe that paying attention to sacred days like the sabbath and sacred rituals like prayer and sacred traditions like my Easter dinner with friends gives rhythm, meaning and beauty to our lives.

Believing in mystery means I don't have to have answers to why there is life on the planet earth or what happens when living creatures cease to breath. I don't know, I can't know. I can, however, ponder and wonder and be amazed. I can be thankful that I get to play a part in this big, confusing mystery.

I can be a reverent agnostic.

1 comment:

Aletha said...

Thanks for this post, it really helped materialize a lot of the things I've been battling out in my brain the last few months especially. There is this constant struggle between our left and right hemispheres, the logical and the intuitive, the rational and the sensing/feeling side, the existential and the mysterious/Plato's "ultimate" truth. I think that life is about balance, and going too far either way is extremism. I'm striving to find balance in my life, and I think millions of others are currently as well, which is why agnosticism is such an accessible label to accept. Love it. Thanks for sharing!