I have realized that my blogging career has paralleled a newly-found, complete disinclination to convert anybody to anything. Here, I do hold forth and usually about things which I take very seriously and believe in very strongly. But, these beliefs are only my perspective and are not therefore eternal truth that you must subscribe to. Now I do believe they are relevant to “eternal truth” but are not eternal truth itself and the degree that they are relevant is probably less than I am wont to believe.
I believe that spiritual truth must be personal, that it must be woven into the warp and woof of our day to day life so that it is very casual and natural. If so, any “converting” that needs to take place will be in the very capable hands of God. He does not need me to argue for him, to reason for him, to intimidate, manipulate, or browbeat. My faith is not something I wear, like my Sunday best clothing, it is just an important element of who I am; it is my “highest value” and will be apparent to those who know me best.
My newly-found approach to faith emphasizes ignorance. I just don’t know a whole lot. Oh yes, I am well educated, well-read, and very verbal—I am very adept at throwing 35 cent words around for nickel ideas. But I don’t know a whole lot. I don’t have objective knowledge of anything, certainly not God and His wisdom. I only at best “see through a glass darkly” and I always come to realize that my class was more “darkly” than I had previously thought, But I see this limitation as being merely my human-ness and something I must live with. And it keeps me more humble than I would be otherwise; it keeps me from needing to “convert” you!
I would like to conclude with a lengthy and insightful quote from Henry Miller from his lurid novel, Sexus:
The great ones do not set up offices, charge fees, give lectures, or write books. Wisdom is silent, and the most effective propaganda for truth is the force of personal example. The great ones attract disciples, lesser figures whose mission it is to preach and to teach. These are the gospelers who, unequal to the highest task, spend their lives in converting others. The great ones are indifferent, in the profoundest sense. They don’t ask you to believe: they electrify you by their behavior. They are the awakeners. What you do with your life is only of concern to you, they seem to say. In short, their only purpose here on earth is to inspire. And what more can one ask of a human being than that?
To be sick, to be neurotic, if you like, it to ask for guarantees. The neurotic is the founder that lies on the bed of the river, securely settled in the mud, waiting to be speared. For him death is the only certainty, and the dread of that grim certainty immobilizes him in a living death far more horrible than the one he imagines but knows nothing about.
The way of life is towards fulfillment, however, wherever it may lead. To restore a human being to the current of life means not only to impart self-confidence but also an abiding faith in the processes of life. A man who has confidence in himself must have confidence in others, confidence in the fitness and rightness of the universe. When a man is thus anchored he ceases to worry about the fitness of things, about the behavior of his fellow men, about right and wrong and justice and injustice. If his roots are in the current of life he will float on the surface of life like a lotus and he will blossom and give forth fruit. He will draw his nourishment from above and from below; he will send his roots down deeper and deeper, fearing neither the depths nor the heights. The life that is in him will manifest itself in growth, and growth is an endless, eternal process. He will not be afraid of withering, because decay and death are part of growth. As a seed he began and as a seed he will return. Beginnings and endings are only partial steps in the eternal process. The process is everything…the way…the Tao.