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The Ridiculousness of Faith

Posted by April Bumgardner on

The ridiculousness of faith: when God becomes illogical

Every once in awhile we experience the struggles, failures or difficulties, which threaten to undo us. During these times we may feel the profound weight of pain pulling us to our knees in prayer like gravity. We search for answers and comfort, knowing we can approach God because of the grace of Jesus and because we are made in his image. However, as we approach God, if we claim that being created in the image of God is primarily reflected in our ability to reason, distinct from the animals, we create God in our own image, according to our finite capacity to reason and understand. 

We cannot expect God’s thoughts and points of logic to be the same as our own. God is not a super human. He is divine, other. Like Job, do we tell God what is just, fair or good? Without understanding God’s primary character trait, we will shake our heads at the inefficiency, unreasonableness, unrealistic nature, impossibility and sheer ridiculousness of what God asks of us. Without giving us promises of how he will work out the details, he demands us to be peaceful, humble, submissive, compassionate, creative and full of selfless mercy. In a world where grittiness, brash boldness, self-promotion, passion and divisiveness are not only the norm but virtues, we can see God as unreasonable. As C.S. Lewis writes in Til We Have Faces, “Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood.”

What will happen to our country if we don’t protect it? In our reasoning, we argue that God would not want people to walk all over us. Therefore, there are times we should be prepared to fight. Why would God lead me to do something which may cause me to suffer? Doesn’t God want what is best for me? If we look to God as a reasonable being, we miss who he is. His primary character trait, says the disciple whom he loved, IS love.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” I John 4:16

When he performs the ridiculous, or demands the unreasonable, he is acting out of his essence. And his love is irrational. According to humanity, that is, it is irrational. It gushes and knows no bounds.

A shepherd abandons ninety-nine sheep of his flock in search of the one who is lost.
It is inefficient and irresponsible.

Jesus commands we proffer the other cheek when we are wronged.
It is dangerous.

He claims that to gain our life, we must first lose it.
It is senseless.

His apostle writes that our strength and stability come from our weakness. 
It is illogical.

Even when his spirit calls us to reason with him, he smirks, and waits for us to comprehend his ironic humor.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”Isaiah 1:18

What follows the invitation to reason here is anything but reasonable.  How can scarlet be white? How do sins become pure? It cannot be explained through reason, but only through boundless, shameless love. It is not reason that ties us to the image of God, but love. Again to quote the venerable C. S. Lewis:  “He’s not a tame lion, but he is good.”

And it is our capability to love, not simply to reason, that most closely demonstrates how we are created in his image.

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