Barbara Brown Taylor, from her incredible memoir Leaving Church;
“I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place. We are a motley crew, distinguished not only by our inability to explain ourselves to those who are more certain of their beliefs than we are, but in many cases by our distance from the centers of our faith communities as well. Like campers who have bonded over cook fires far from home, we remain grateful for the provisions that we have brought with us from those cupboards, but we also find them more delicious when we share them with one another under the stars. (224)
I could take issue with a little of what Barbara says here, but as one of my teachers says, “Why do we always feel the need to poke holes in someone else who’s out there on the edge doing something important?” There’s something deeply truthful about what she’s saying here, I think. Just the idea that we piddly, limited, sheltered, twisted human beings could walk around thinking we can absolutely and fully know the character and purposes and massive reality of our Creator has become laughable to me, and becoming much more so. That should humble us in our “truth” pronouncements; not silence us, mind you, but certainly humble us. We have to stand for something, but there’s a big canyon that exists between standing for what we believe in in gracious, rooted ways or in insensitive, self-righteous ways.