Thursday, May 26, 2011

Halik, Harrington and Patience


Patience is what I consider to be the main difference between faith and atheism. What atheism, religious fundamentalism, and the enthusiasm of a too-facile faith have in common is how quickly they can ride roughshod over the mystery we call God – and that is why I find all three approaches equally unacceptable. One must never consider mystery “over and done with.” Mystery, unlike a mere dilemma, cannot be overcome; one must wait patiently at its threshold and persevere in it – must carry it in one’s heart – just as Jesus’s mother did according to the Gospel, and allow it to mature there and lead one in turn to maturity.

From Patience with God: the story of Zaccheus continuing in us, by Tomáš Halik

I began to read Halik's book this morning, after coming across a positive reference to it in a blog post. I'd heard it recommended previously from a different source, and been intriguied by it, but this was the first time I pursued the interest further. Amazingly, there's a Kindle version of it, (there isn't often a Kindle version of books I want to read) so I downloaded it.

What is interesting about the extract above is that it relates quite strongly to the character I've been playing in
Shadowlands: Rev Harry Harrington. I've described his faith elsewhere as shallow, by which I mean that he hasn't really thought through the bigger issues that arise in faith, and has tended to ride roughshod (as Halik suggests) over the mystery of God. For Harrington, God is set and sealed in a certain framework and 'experience' of God outside this box is too much for his mind. Which is why it's interesting that in the middle of their short argument towards the end of the play, Lewis apologetically says that he's 'come up against a bit of experience lately,' meaning that his love for Joy and her early death have hit him deeply and caused him to think deeper into his faith.
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