Ecclesiastical Mondays

It has been a week, I'll tell you that. I had a few almost-decent things to put up here, or ideas of them at least, but none of them seemed to flesh out so well as they were written. So what you have instead are the tired ramblings of a tired boy who is scraping towards the end of his self-imposed deadline. Such are the contents of my days. I'm not sure what follows will be terribly uplifting, save for those who are teetering on the fence of Belief, unsure as to which side they should fall into. I'm not feeling very wordplay-y tonight, I suppose. But until I start hearing otherwise, this will continue to be my blog where I will speak what is on my mind.

Also, just so that none are unduly confused or enraged (because sometimes there is some conclusion-jumping that happens subconsciously), this is merely a collection of some frustrations, not my answers to all of them. This is not a Theological treatise. This is not an Apology for my Faith. This is not polemic Atheist-bashing. These are merely the thoughts of a somewhat weary brain. With that in mind, please feel free to comment accordingly, as I always welcome the appropriate exchange of ideas, conversation, and criticism.

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I find it extremely interesting that even the most Godless of men cannot stop talking about Him. That the most vehement Skeptic marvels, despite what his circular Epistemic reasoning would have you believe, at His creation. That Empiricists don't question the origin of their faculties for observation. That those in the thick of it can doubt but never see the miracle in that very act of doubting.

I find it equally as interesting that the vocally Atheistic do not find the educated, perhaps Philosophically sound  Believer to pitch their squabbles against, but rather teenagers on Facebook and comment boards on Hillsong videos on Youtube, and that these occasional anti-theistic tirades seem to occupy a great amount of their effort. It is strange to me that a nihilist would take any time at all to defend himself against the promise of purpose as if it were a contest to be won unless he were afraid of what happens if he's wrong. I don't understand why such endeavors are not seen as scrubbing toilets on Oceanic Flight 815.

I find the majority of my daily encounters with those less-inclined towards belief than I am and, honestly, sometimes I prefer it. I connect more easily with those for whom faith is a struggle, who see God as something nigh impossible to grasp ahold of and forge a relationship with, because I have seen that side. But in my many conversations with Atheists that I engage throughout the week, I have come across some saddening, though not particularly new, revelations.

Atheists have become smashingly boring, and this tires me. We are locked in this loop where they keep clawing the same questions in the desperate hope that we'll forsake our belief or something (or prove to themselves finally that they're right? I'm not sure), and don't even bother to see that the incredible majority of these have been answered already in formal, published works, with the rest of them talked about extensively in blog posts and radio interviews and the like. It has become an achievement to stump Average Joe Christian with Philosophically complex quandaries, and it is as interesting to watch as the MVP of your county's Little League baseball team hitting against Randy Johnson (Does he still play baseball?).

They are stuck pitching the same four-seam fastball that they've been throwing for years: the third-year University student counter to reason and faith that "if Science can't prove it, it isn't real." Their curveball: the intellectual mediocrity of "everybody" who affiliates themselves with Religion. The changeup: If God's there, why are there still bad things? I'm sure you catch my drift.

Perhaps the most famous Atheist of our time, Richard Dawkins, even wrote a book about it called "The God Delusion" which actually, literally, resorts to name-calling, the granddaddy of all logical fallacies - ad hominem attack. I cannot fathom what possible purpose spending all that time writing a book about why Something doesn't exist serves other than as the gasping attempts of a man desperate to find the source of the still, quiet urge inside of him to know what it all means. I know he possess that urge, because I have it too.

Sometimes I think perhaps I'm the only one of my friends who finds enormous comfort alongside the great frustration in the book of Ecclesiastes, but it has this to say: "He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to end." Perhaps the most desperate worry, yet simultaneously sublime repose the Good Book has to offer.

The Preacher hits home again, though earlier in his book:

"For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow."

And he echoes it at the end: "My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh."

Can you feel it? The slow creaking of your joints under the pressure on your shoulders? The weight of the "unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with?" The sadness of "a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness" alongside the "wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing?"

Now feel the release of a Savior who tells you to drop your net and follow Him. Cast off that ensnaring burden of the world and focus on what is truly important.

Let Wordsworth's lines that he wrote a few miles above Tinturn Abbey sink in and sound deep inside of yourself  to the point that you feel "that blessed mood in which the burthen of the mystery, in which the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world, is lighten'd."

God planted the desire inside of us and made it so that we couldn't know. He breathed it so that it took the whole Universe to declare His majesty and stuck us on the smallest speck of it possible. He gave us telescopes to see as far as eyes can possibly see and then told the boundary of physical space "keep going, so that they're always playing catch-up."

It is the strangest peace a heart thirsty for what are always unsatisfying answers can hear - that they both came from the same Source that gives us Salvation from the muck.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.