“The promise of paradox is the promise that apparent opposites – like order and disorder – can cohere in our lives, the promise that if we replace either-or with both-and, our lives will become larger and more filled with light.” Parker Palmer For some, family holds fond memories. For others, family is engaging in the exhausting façade of presenting the perfect image. For too many, family is the sharpest source of profound pain a person can know. For most though, family is the truest mirror of the human condition, which exposes all of life’s incongruities while simultaneously illuminating the wonder of life itself. For me, the haunting yet beautiful truth about family is that it is the most fertile breeding ground for exploring the place where life’s ultimate truths are embodied – in the paradox of family. Webster defines the word paradox as “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.” The tension between these presumed opposites has always been at the heart of humanity’s most vexing questions. From personal struggles of reconciling our own beliefs to properly align with our actions; to modern scientific findings that reinforce a universe full of uniquely independent yet ultimately interdependent objects; to the centrality of the Scriptures use of paradoxes to consistently confound us; paradoxes are tightly woven into the DNA of the human experiment. Some Christians though are skeptical of a mysterious faith that lives between the tension of unanswered questions and unassailable certainties. And as a result, many in the pastoral and Christian commentary community have made an idol out their own expertise as it pertains to their superhuman powers of Biblical exegesis. Unfortunately, the neo-platonic residue of elevating eloquent rhetoric and linear reasoning above all other forms of discernment still pervades what is taught in the pews today. The founder of our faith was not a classical Greek thinker though. He came from the Hebraic tradition, which was steeped in Eastern thought and culture – a tradition, which emphasized the poetic over the pragmatic; the mysterious over the mundane; and paradoxical answers over bullet point presentations. I believe that the multitude of paradoxes, which we find penned throughout the pages of our Holy Book, resembles a fuller portrait of the Way, the Truth, and the Life than any saintly simple formula, which taints the church today. I believe the deeper our questions go the more vital it is for our faith to be nurtured in timeless stories, poetic parables, and paradoxical places of truth. I believe living in the tension of the paradox allows us to leave our shallow, small and always explainable religion for a vibrant relationship filled with ambiguity, consistently straining towards the unknown to ultimate admiration and undying allegiance of the One worthy of all honor. What if God placed these paradoxes within science, Scripture and life itself to cause us to toil towards truth; to not become comfortable and complacent but to embed a sense of awe in the complexity of our simple faith? What if the truth of the incarnational Christ lied not in one of the seemingly opposed answers to the paradox of his divinity or humanity itself, but within the paradox of His Being? What if instead of automatically defaulting to cliché answers for difficult questions, we decided to invite and examine those questions more fully? This is my desire for this unambitiously, ambitious blog. I want to explore the one space, which houses more paradoxes than any other human institution- the family. Family is a place where ugly and beautiful can collide at any moment; a place where cruel words have severed many a heart and where unspoken gestures have healed many a wound; a place that knows you as you really are yet remains true; a place of laughter and lies, of paradise and pleasure, of tears and turmoil, of love and loss; it is the one place where you can retreat into the cuddles of the known while the regularity of change consistently releases your family into unknown territory. Family is a place like no other and it is in this humble home where the paradox of my faith flourishes.  A fellow learner, Dave Tippit

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked (Required)