Bob LaRochelle: Mystery at the Core

BobAt the very core of my Christian faith is my conviction that Jesus is risen. That conviction does not include absolute certainty about all of the details. It also allows for the existence of literary elements in the telling of the story. What it does include is a faith that death did not defeat Jesus AND that, at this present moment and forever, Jesus is and will be alive.

At the very core of my Christian faith is my conviction that Jesus is risen. … That conviction IS based on the trust I place in the testimony of others.

That conviction IS based on the trust I place in the testimony of others. Dr. Vick is so accurate in asserting this dynamic in how people come to faith. A wonderful Jesuit New Testament professor in college once told our class something I can never forget. He said that, when all is said and done, when we look at the recorded testimony that affirms the Resurrection of Jesus, we all have to make a choice: Either we claim that the people who believed this were crazy and delusional OR we affirm that they are really on to something and that what they believe is real.  I place my faith in that testimony and I believe it is real!
As to contemporary testimony, I offer two observations. First, I believe that real life changes in a person can occur and that the power of God is present in that happening. So, I see and hear recovery stories, for example, testimonies of people turning away from alcohol and other drugs one day at a time, and I see through them to the active presence of a living, breathing God, yes!

Not everything can be explained simply.

On the other hand, I am also cognizant of the line Paul Simon used in The Boxer  as he reminded us that ‘ A man (or woman) hears what he ( she) wants to hear and disregards the rest.’  What I mean here is that because people have been raised with exposure to religious language and thinking, they might very well be predisposed to interpret events in their lives through the lens of Christian faith and doctrine.  Understanding this is NOT to say that God is not working through these events. Instead it is to offer a necessary cautionary note that not everything can be explained simply.
So, to answer the question, the testimony of others often corroborates my own faith, even as I am skeptical of explaining the specifics of why things happen. At the heart of faith lies an affirmation of mystery. When mysterious things are explained with certainty, the power of mystery is lost in the process. I am sure I will be saying more about this in future responses.

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