Monday, April 12, 2010

My man Thomas

photo from flickr

I appreciate Thomas. "Unless I see...unless I touch..." There are plenty of times when a little healthy skepticism, clear questions, and time spent thinking things through is precisely how faith is going to grow and deepen. Maturing in faith is not about closing your mind, but about opening it to how God is at work. Our tendency is to limit how we think God can work or how God can be, or how we can define aspects of faith. But God is sooo much bigger than our little boxes, our little categories.

Thomas had no category in his head to understand a risen Christ. He only knew what he could see and touch, so that is what he asked for. Fortunately for him, he could receive that experience. But we who come after can't. That's why Jesus says, blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. So we rely on the work of the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, prayer, and the support of the Christian community. We ask our questions. We think. We pray. We talk and study with fellow believers.

And God's desire us that we would trust God more and more, and that we would join Thomas in confessing "My Lord and my God!"

1 comment:

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Until reading your post, there are two important points about Thomas that I've never thought about. Sort of the Lack of Category idea you mention.

First, until I traveled overseas, once to a developed Asian country and once to one of the poorest countries in the world, in Africa, I had a severe Lack of Categories, which I think is just a normal thing for humans: we can only relate to what we somehow know, either through experience, or second hand by very good explanations from others. Well, perhaps those second hand explanations might open our minds, but we still might not grasp the full concept of a category.

So, I learned what try poverty is and what true hard work is, for example, in Africa. And I learned what it is to see large percentages of children grieving because they have no parents, but it is the common experience.

In the Asian country, I learned how a country devastated by war can rise like a phoenix in development and wealth, at least apparently so, and actually be more "developed" in some ways than the US. And the biggest surprise was to learn that Christianity has been there for over 250 years because of Catholic priests, including more Catholic saints than all countries but Italy.

The other thing your posting did for me was to clarify what I do for my son: healthy skepticism. He calls with all sorts of ideas and I question and comment and he gets POed at me, but now that he is older, he actually says he calls because he knows that we will play the devil's advocate about his ideas.