One thing I love about being involved in the blog-o-sphere is that I learn from my followers. Just yesterday I discovered through one of them about Parker Palmer who I had not heard of before. Here is a note from Wikipedia about Parker’s views on faith:
Faith is not a set of beliefs we are supposed to sign up for he says. It is instead the courage to face our illusions and allow ourselves to be disillusioned by them. It is the courage to walk through our illusions and dispel them. He states the opposite of faith is not doubt, it is fear – fear of abandoning illusions because of our comfort level with them. For example, not everything is measurable and yet so much of what we do has that yardstick applied to it. Another illusion is “I am what I do …. my worth comes from my functioning. If there is to be any love for us, we must succeed at something.” He says in this example that it is more important to be a “human being” rather than a “human doing.” We are not what we do. We are who we are. The rigors of trying to be faithful involves being faithful to one’s gifts, faithful to other’s reality, faithful to the larger need in which we are all embedded, faithful to the possibilities inherent in our common life.
I think it was W. H. Auden who encouraged us to “Climb the rugged cross of the moment and let our illusions die.” These “illusions” (or pretenses) are flotsam and jetsam we have picked up from the vortex of human culture, a veil we have spun to hide the void. They are essential dimensions of our human, ego identity but when they are the whole of what we know as our identity, then the words of Jesus become relevant, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.” The teachings of Jesus tell us that there is another dimension to life that we need to access if our life, our ego life, is to have meaning. Having this access does not destroy our very necessary ego life; it merely gives it meaning.