I have been wondering, in recent times, why I am something of a square peg in a round hole. The hole that I describe is that of Christian Faith, the spiritual life in Christ. I wonder sometimes, if me and it are entirely comfortable in their fit.
I read Lesley's Blog from time to time, and I often come away wondering why I am so vexed. It isn't her fault; what she writes is good and varied and appropriate. Her post this morning epitomised this, writing as she did on the issue of guilt. In the nicest possible way, I read it and felt myself wanting to yell 'get a bloody grip woman'!
I am a pragmatist by style and learning, and it is this that is at fault, if blame were to be apportioned. I am the quintessential 'doer', and every measure of my personality indicates that I am a 'suck it and see kind of guy'. If I am not sure what will work, I will try it out. I used to pull electronics to pieces to learn how they work. A book would have bored me and a lecture even more so. Give me a radio to break and I will learn how to fix it. Same with bikes, same with cooking; I cannot cook to a recipe, instead I need to just think something up.
Lesley's Blog is written by a woman who is not a pragmatist, more a theorist I think. She wants to work out the 'why' all the while I am focussed on the 'how'. Her Blog this morning talked of the burden of guilt - and my first reply was 'so stop feeling bloody guilty then'! I wonder if that means my heart is not so pastoral.
So the thing is this; faith is in many ways the antithesis of pragmatism if dealt with at the spiritual level. Priesthood is the 'doing' of faith for me - but the pondering and reflecting, the Christian appetite for self-flaggelation, the waffle - all those things are difficult for me to grasp and understand. Maybe that is why I take to a more ritual style of worship with sensory elements? This is a paradox that doesn't sit so easily with me, as I regard myself as outside of that inner-circle of the jolly holy pious and good folk who go to church. I am too much an activist, too much a pragmatist, too little a theorist or reflector - and then add to that a whacking dose of extraversion in a world where introversion is the common denominator in so many areas of religious life, and you see where I feel I have a problem.
Anyway - I will stop there. In the end I will be discovered as the fraud that I am - that God calls peaceful and prayerful people, good and willing to be better - not those of us for whom a sermon is a frustration and prayer difficult.