Note from CM: Friends, I thought this a good follow-up to yesterday’s discussion about my “both/and” perspective on things.
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Not many of us need advice about what to do with our life. Not many of us want such advice either. We may not agree on what to do, but most of us know what we would do, if we had the wits, or the freedom, or the imagination, or the courage. The church has been longer on advice than it has been on “underneath nurture.” Perhaps that is because advice is easier to give than is freedom or courage, and more obvious, too. Or perhaps it is because as liberals or as conservatives, we feel so passionately that we want to get everybody else straightened out. The problem is that the others are not very much open to coercion either, as we are not open.
It is a time, in my judgment, when the church may lower its voice about advice, and speak more gently and healthily and honestly about the nurture of faithful imagination, freedom, and courage. That stuff is not in large supply among us, and when it is not, our lives are diminished. That stuff is in short supply because such matters drive us to mystery which we cannot explain, to loyalty we cannot control, and to trust that we cannot will. Out of that mystery and loyalty and trust which comes to us as a gift, there does emerge an obedient life. But we arrive there by a route other than our zeal and certitude, and that makes us uneasy.
• A Gospel of Hope (p. 89f)