I think CS Lewis said a man reserves his most violent rage for the trap he most lately escaped. It is why I look upon the trap of rationality with such disgust. For it is not rational at all. It is the opposite. Because if it means nothing else, “rational” means that whatever is happening makes sense. Yet after all the decisions and happenings in my life that came and went, and before all the others still to go, my only sense was this: I was in a cage. With bars of Fate. On a train that progressed, but on predestined tracks to nowhere. It was my trap. And the bars I beat against at 44, were the bars of my own hypocrisy.
Because even though I had the arrogance to question everything, I never had the courage to ask for anything.
I would only think. I would consider that midnight house. Of the God within. Of the darkness. Of the things He may or may not give. And wonder and wonder why. And complain about my home and my friend with no bread. But never was I shameless enough, never was I audacious enough to go across the street and lean my head against the dark door. I never once had the courage to ask. And yet I blamed God for not answering, for not giving me what I needed.
It was a long time before I learned how. And it slowly dawns upon me, day by day, that this was no abstraction. For me, the dangers of rationalism and determinism, of Calvinism and fundamentalism, of modernism are not simply theologies or philosophies to discuss or hash out; they are terrifyingly real. They are cages to be escaped.
Jesus has this beautiful circle he creates at the beginning of Luke 11. He starts by raising our eyes to heaven; directing them to himself; to the divine son asking his divine Father for bread. But gradually He directs our eyes to earth; to the mortal son asking his mortal father for bread. And, again, this is no abstract lesson for me—the precise way Christ showed me how to live again, that things were ok, that IT was real, that it would work out, that all my needs would be fulfilled; was by following his gaze, not up to the Father above me, but back to the family around me.
Asking can only really matter, in the sense it is audacious, the moment it shouldn’t be done.
Seeking can only possibly matter, in the sense it is shameless, the moment it is shameful to do so. Knocking can only really matter, in the sense it is persistent or annoying, when its too late.