Religion is in your head; faith is in your heart. True religion from faith is in your hands.
I realize how difficult it is to portray faith in mere words on a computer screen. If all we have is the intellectual exchange, then we have nothing at all. And yet, Christ had full confidence that His parables were sufficient to guide people who didn’t know anything about Him. He insisted that parables were a reliable way of passing signals to hearts. Maybe it would help if you read some of this stuff aloud to yourself. We are taught in school that it’s inefficient for data transmission, but I’m not really interested in that. I’m trying to show you my heart, not my thoughts.
Try reading the Bible aloud instead of silently. Then again, some of us are internally vocal — when I read Scripture, there’s a voice in my head reading the words in ways that tend to hinder my hearing of ambient sounds in my physical space. My mind assigns a voice. And naturally, some people tell me that my writing comes across as narrative, which is wholly intentional. The point is that there is a mystical connection in the aural reception and our hearts. I’m aware of the various modes of learning and how people tend to one or another — visual, tactile, auditory and textual — but from what I’ve seen, the heart is best connected to the narrative. The narrative is a manifestation of interpersonal acquaintance, something on an entirely different level of learning.
So when I sit down to write, I often have only some germ of an idea what I need to address. But once I start writing, my heart gets involved and it often goes in wholly unexpected directions. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to discover that my mind has forgotten things I’ve written. My heart still knows and reaffirms what I wrote in the background, but my brain seems to have lost track. It still represents me, but it may not have lodged firmly in my intellect.
It reminds me that the intellect is part of the flesh and affected by the Fall. Intellect gladly forgets some things that are hard to bear, or simply beyond the grasp of reason. My human curiosity loves to explore and catalog ideas and concepts, but my heart grows weary of traveling too far afield from the thoughts that connect to my faith and calling. So my clinical training has an effect on my thinking, but I’m far more interested in actual people. If your comments reach toward a narrative that unveils your soul, I’m much more absorbed and attentive. Despite the restrictions of the medium, your online persona is much more important to my heart than what’s in your head.
The nature of moral discernment is personal, because it’s always a manifestation of God’s personal character. It’s that knowing on a different level. So your beliefs hold meaning to me only as they are embedded in your character. I’m not interested in comparing theology. I want to know you. I need to build an image of you as a person. While you are splattering bits and bytes onto a server through the hardware channels of the Internet, my heart is looking for things it can recognize. You do well to put your heart in command of your typing, because that’s what my heart is looking for.
And if you can trust the medium enough to offer other clues to your personal identity, it always helps me love you better. Sure, we have way too much of folks dumping countless selfies on social media the way a child rattles verbally everything that crosses his/her mind. But I’m not sure we can carry on as a parish if we live in fear of some evil presence on the Net lurking to catalog your consumer or terrorist profile (yes, they have a whole scoring system for each). And you can send email or even text and call my cellphone; just ask.
Let’s touch each other’s lives as best we can to discover more about God living in Creation.