|thursday 2002-05-02 0000||last modified 2002-05-02 0010|
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After a good conversation with a friend (who isn't on the web, but by the way, I saw your webpage in google's cache; it got trashed before I had a chance to rescue it) over dinner at Daedalus, I dropped by Harvard Book Store to browse their used and downmarked section. I came away with some interesting titles, When Faith Is Not Enough by Kelly James Clark, The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, and The Confessions of St. Augustine. There aren't any speicifcally Christian bookstores in the Boston area, so I have to make do with stupid Harvard's stores.
Clark's book is worth reading again. It discusses in part the fact that doubt is part of a growing faith, that faith is a lifelong process. Doubt is so often considered a cardinal sin, as if we should ferverently believe all the time, exercising our faith, and something is just wrong with us if we don't. But I don't think anybody lives a life absent of doubt, of feeling something in the spectrum of disbelief in God to the pain of His absence. We shouldn't fear doubt, nor should we pan Thomas for his doubt. As Kelly notes, he sought peace and assurance on the reality of Christ's return, and though Jesus said "blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed," I agree that His use of "blessed" means "happy." We who doubt God's existence or His character or His plans can ask with Thomas for the assurances of doubts and in the process touch the Master, and by His grace believe. Faith isn't supposed to be easy.
The other half of the book deals with faith giving life significance, which wasn't so much on my mind. Clark seems to be a Kierkegaard devotee, as he gives an entire chapter to explaining part of his philosophy (maybe it's time to read some Kierkegaard). He is subtle about Christ, and while that adds to my dubiousness about this stupid Harvard purchase's rating on the heresy meter, I think it passes muster. But, to be read again.
The other two books I'll probably shelve for later. Enough book snobbery, I should be writing a thesis...