Thursday, May 5, 2011

It Actually Isn't About Rob Bell. Yet.

My name is Ryan and I am a Christian.

What do I mean when I say “I am a Christian”?

Well, for starters, it means I believe certain things. It means I believe there is a God, and by “God” I mean an intelligent, personal, uncreated being who willed all things – both material and spiritual – into existence. I believe that approximately 2000 years ago, this God came to earth in the form of a Middle-Eastern Jewish carpenter. In the language I speak, he is known as Jesus. I believe he performed miraculous healings, taught in baffling parables, claimed divine authority, and was the fulfillment of centuries-old prophesies regarding a King and a Kingdom. I believe he was crucified to death, laid up in a tomb for several days, and then miraculously raised to life.

I believe these events are historical realities, and I believe they are profoundly relevant to my life and the life of every person who has ever lived. I believe that, in some mysterious way, Jesus' life offers humanity hope that eternal life is possible, that God is graceful, that redemption is possible, that life is deeply meaningful, and that suffering is not purposeless.

It also means that I believe the Bible – a collection of supposedly sacred writings compiled over many centuries – is a uniquely-inspired window into the mind of the Divine and the history of His relationship with humanity.

Of course, it means a lot more, too. But that's the gist.

These ideas are the most important thing in my life. I am always thinking about them. I am always wondering if my daily experience supports or contradicts them. I am always trying to make sense of them.

This blog is a place where I hope to express and work-through the questions and paradoxes that my faith raises. I don't expect to find answers to every mystery, but at the very least I hope to define the mysteries. As for the skeptics, you probably won't enjoy it here. I admit that I “permit the twilight.” As G.K. Chesterton once wrote,

The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.

Accept some mystery and, ironically, life begins to have clarity. I'll permit some twilight, but I refuse to walk around in the dark. This is an attempt to move into as much light as the twilight will permit.

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