Sunday, September 25th, 2016
THE COURAGE OF NOT KNOWING
The most important word in the title of my book I PRAY ANYWAY:Devotions for the Ambivalent is not “ambivalent”. The important word is “anyway”.
The book seems to attract two groups. One is the non-affiliated (meaning they identify with no religion and on the US census they check the box for ‘non-affiliated’ and are called the ‘nones’. The other group is people who are affiliated but uncomfortably so. They can’t break away from their church habit or religion but it is a compromised relationship. One group can’t/won’t commit and the other can’t/won’t leave.
It is so much more comfortable and satisfying to be fully engaged and committed whether we are talking about sports or love or work or religion.
That is not where we are as a culture. We are a bifurcated culture in the US with strong passionate groups at either end of the spectrum absolutely knowing they are right, their way is right. The middle is not holding up well economically or
in any other way of moderation.
Rather than being seen as wishy-washy, I hold that those of us holding the middle space of not knowing, of staying open have the hardest job. We often stand alone and quiet while the ones who ‘know’ bludgeon one another. In religion it is particularly difficult. It’s hard to find a voice for uncertainty and confusion. My book gives voice to that undercurrent of spiritual yearning with no form for it to take that feels like the right fit.
So it is not the ambivalence that matters. It is the ‘anyway’. The courage to press on without knowing and pray anyway.