Thursday, 10 May 2018

Questioning faith

I really appreciate those who challenge my faith because it makes it real. Without questions and comment there is no faith. In this case the conversation took place on a minibus trip back from Twickers. 'Jesus would be hopeless in an identity parade because few people recognised him. How can you believe he came alive again?' And of course retired police inspector Mike Rand is doing the asking!

A couple walk seven miles with Jesus, but don't recognise him until he breaks bread and gives thanks. Is Jesus a dumb teacher? That doesn't fit with the stories he tells: Good Samaritan, Lost Sheep, Sower, and so on. Then he uses powerful images. 'Give me a coin. It has two faces, so there are two truths to consider.' Jesus here is identified through symbols. That's often how we convey deep bonds: a marriage ring, flowers, and sacraments; they are outward and visible signs of inward and invisible truths.

Mary doesn't recognise him, as she stares through her tears at the gardener. In just one word Jesus reveals his identity; he calls her by name. It's recognition through emotion. Smells can be extraordinary powerful triggers. It may be that a loved one died in early autumn, so the first hint of freshly decaying leaves brings vivid memories flooding back.

I've been listening to a podcast called 'Unbelievable?' on Premier Christian Radio. If you search for it and 'Mike Rand' you'll find all the links, and a local who honestly challenges a convinced Christian about evidence. I commend it to you.

Shaggy performed for Her Majesty's 92 birthday. He has some great lyrics to the track 'Keeping it real'. Doubts and questions help to keep faith real. They are a bit like a strand in a three cord rope. If you take away questions from Jesus' conversations you'd end up with very little. He loved debate, and so should we.