Yes, I know I didn’t say I was going away for the weekend, but I did it anyway. A quick blast to Auckland and back, 1300km return.
I attended the installation of the first NZ Bishop of the Christian community I made contact with earlier in the year. I was also allowed the opportunity to be formally received and to make the first promises, accepting the Mandate of Postulancy. The Community of St Ita and St Fillan is a collection of small groups and solitaries around the world, studying and living Christianity as we believe it was taught during the 1st Century in the British Isles.
I’m not even going to start to list the reasons why I have chosen such an obscure branch of Christianity. I think little good has been done for the Word of Our Lord over the last nineteen centuries. Exceptional individuals, of course, but institutionally, not making sense to me. When Bishop Jim laid his hand on my head, I was fully surprised by the complete fulfillment of my hopes for the moment. Free from the weight of my past. By other means I have explained, justified and understood my past, claimed lessons learned. This simple service, under the trees on a grey and drippy Sunday afternoon, made sense.
And speaking of making sense. Yes. I am Christian. I read The Bible literally. For me, faith is what takes over when facts/security run out. It saddens me to see Christians sparring with Science – it’s pointless and wrong-headed. For myself, I have a good half-dozen ways of reading the first chapter of Genesis literally whilst maintaining consistency with the top half-dozen scientific theories and any physical evidence that usually proves bothersome.
But none of that matters.
On the scale of “very” (small, large, fast…), there will always be unanswered questions. Some time soon we should hear word from the keepers of the Large Hadron Collider. What exactly will it mean to anyone, even those who have designed the questions/experiments, when the Higgs Boson, aka “God Particle”, is isolated and identified?
What it means in real life is that all the pieces in the present mathematics are accounted for. So, then we just sit back and relax, knowing that we know how particle physics and everything that stems from it works.
That would be highly inconsistent with human nature as we have come to know it. Would we forever accept the Higgs Boson as the real deal, or would we devise ever more powerful machines to try to, umm, do reductionist science on it. After we’ve had Higgs Bosons to play with for a while, I’m sure unanticipated behaviours will emerge… and the theoretical physicists and mathematicians will be away again, and the experimental scientists will have the evidence they need to justify another expedition, and so it goes on in each and every field of interest. Keep in mind that big science is funded by taxpayers and corporations, and that if a corporation spends money, it expects to get it and some from you somehow.
So, the search and striving of the research scientist is barely distinguishable from the journey of the spiritual seeker. Certainly, the methods and measures may appear radically different, but large parts of the exercise require similar disciplines (singleness of mind) and the desired outcomes have been symbolically interchangeable for questionable ages.
As a lay-person, I’ve had a good sniff around the information that a good public library system and the internet can offer. I like to think of my faith as being largely free of fantasy. Faith/religion weaves easily among the branches of the Tree of Knowledge, and provides a gentle buffer when the Big Questions keep on remaining unanswered.
Above all else, I believe that our future depends on the adoption of a sane moral/ethical base. Each of the major religions contains all that is necessary, and all that is necessary is essentially the same. All religions fascinate me. Christianity speaks to me. We all need to stop bickering about small things and recognise that our need for faith is no different to any other time. Sure, we know the Sun will come up without ceremony, and we’re now thoroughly the most dangerous creature on the planet, but we’re still constantly exposed to a new unknown. I’d venture that many of us are living with a sense of insecurity well comparable to the denizens of some very unpleasant periods of the past. The number of variants on “the sky is falling” that most of have to deal with daily is growing. A lot of things our parents took for granted are gone. Trust that our Governments will lead us through the next few years relatively unscathed is blind faith. The West exists on a puffed up opinion of itself, successfully sold to a variety of countries who do things very differently to us. If the West decides to make good on these liabilities, then many of us will be seeing a change of management. If we decide to renege, well, that’s straight into an indeterminate period of George Orwell’s ’1984′ vision.
There’s a lot more to being a Christian, or any true Religious, than the stereotypical, often hypocritical, froth that most people are exposed to. I hope a lot more people reconsider the purpose of faith/religion/community and find a few others with whom to share hope.
I was brought down to earth most abruptly after the Service when I drove into a service station to fill up the Terrano. Replayed no matter how many times, I know not how I did what I did, but I filled the diesel tank with 91 Ultra. I noticed my error as the dollars on the meter flicked way past anything I’d ever seen the Terrano use before. Fortunately I know the significance of petrol/diesel contamination and didn’t attempt to start ‘er up. I wandered into the shop and announced my foolishness. Expecting to be backing the car up to their mechanic’s door and waiting for the mechanic in the morning (this was 9.00pm Sunday night), I was astonished when the cashier handed me a business card and a phone. SuckEmDry is a great little company, started quite recently, that makes moments of horror like mine a lot less horrible. In about 20 minutes this cute little tanker arrives, and another twenty minutes later my fuel system is completely petrol free. $100 for petrol. $135 to have it sucked out. Not having to stay in central Auckland – Priceless!