“I write, moreover, because I have something to say. That I have something to say is not a personal achievement. I have something to say because I am a Christian.”- Stanley Hauerwas
I have not stumbled upon my Christian faith as a superhero, or as a keen intellect or charismatic liberator. If you look at me, there is hardly anything special about me. I’m 6’4, with a very mediocre beard. I smoke cigars and like sarcastic and slapstick jokes. I was born in Canada. I secretly want to marry Drew Barrymore. I publicly want to marry Katy Perry. I’d even be okay sharing her with Russell Brand because he seems like the coolest guy in the world. None the less, nothing special.
And, the Bible makes statements like this: 1Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
And, theologian Jurgen Moltmann makes quotes like “Where hope for common life ends, the killing begins”
I know the killer of life that used to be in me. The person who has struggled through several addictions (not sure how I remained a virgin and clean of drugs throughout this time). The person who battled through such extreme anger in his teenage years, that every day’s purpose was to ruin others. The person who studied theology to destroy others with it. There was no hope in me, so the killing began, for most of my teenage years.
Yet, hope is all I have. I have no certainty for the next life. For all I know, this life is it, and, my time on earth is it, and, I could die go underground, and, find out this whole “God” thing was a myth. But, that doesn’t explain the hope within me. I have walked through sheer darkness and I see the light. I see light in the most common things. Hearing a shredding riff, brings me to such joy it causes me laughter. I enjoy conversing with the cashiers at gas stations so much, I have to hold back from telling them how much I appreciate them so I am not banned from the place, so I can come back and do it again. And, when my life is in darkness, the darkness doesn’t feel like darkness. It feels like unexplored, painful, progress. The anxiety and depression that once haunted me, are no longer the enemies of my shadow self, but, the aching voices of wisdom and freedom. They can’t be the enemy, because, then the enemy is myself. I no longer have to fear myself, because, I know longer have to fear God, who is in me. There is a part of me who can no longer hide.
“The soul of the artist cannot remain hidden.”- Henri Nouwen
I write, precisely because of this hope. There is no more reason to kill, the hope for life creates. God, the creator, found goodness in what he created. Then told us to create out of that goodness. For those who experience that goodness, within themselves, cannot do anything but create. Even the darkest souls, who are often the greatest creators of art, find the goodness in their ability to create, so they do that very thing. Their creation, breathes hope for their own life, and, the world around them. This must be the reason for our hope.
I cannot make absolute statements. I cannot make God an absolute. Doing so, would be a great injustice to him, I believe. But, I know the life that has found its way in me, and, that’s the only answer I have. And, I must create out of that place.