I no longer want to believe (or not) help my un/belief.

I wrote this hung over at The Order of the Black Sheep camping weekend Blackbelt for a speaking spot that didn’t happen. I’ve been meaning to share it since then as radical theology is something I’m keen to have more discussion about.  Just remember I wasn’t at my best when I wrote it (and I’m just too lazy to rewite it).

For most of my Christian life I’ve either felt that I need to believe more and that I lack faith, or not wanting to believe but finding that I couldn’t quite leave it behind. Both of these modes had the power occupy my mind, keep me up at night,  and were spiritually and mentally  unhealthy.

I have an interest in radical theology which is rooted in the continental philosophical tradition, psychoanalysis and the Nietzschean proclamation that God is dead. This year Pete Rollin’s festival in Belfast had a much stronger focus on the latter element of his work; Barry Taylor gave a sermon based on the transfiguration which ended with “there is no God and we are his disciples.”

When I go to an event like this I surprise myself by being more radical than I expect coming away and accepting that I am a Christian non-theist, an a/theist as Pete may put it. Still finding faith, ritual and community rooted in the Christian tradition to be important and meaningful in my life but not necessarily because I’m still desperately trying to hold onto what little belief I may have had.

Then I come back and live with this, think about it, what it means and where I go from here.

A few weeks later I went to take part in the Church of England’s regional discussion on scripture, mission and sexuality where I discover that I’m much more Orthodox than I expect (ok so not *that* Orthodox I’m still queer and there to argue for the inclusion of myself and others within the church). Finding a different, more orthodox understanding from within the discussion and ritual that we took part in (the event concluded with communion).

So where do I go from here?

I’m no longer interested in belief but faith. Pete Rollins defines faith as “Living as if.” Living as if life has meaning, as if Christ rose from the dead, as if the Kingdom of heaven is coming here to earth and as if this all matters. Faith means that the Christian tradition and ritual has meaning and has importance as it draws us together in community, as we are called to love and serve one another.

One of Pete’s greatest influences Jack Caputo says that it isn’t fair for him (Jack) to be referred to as a death of god theologian – he’s a birth of God theologian. He sees that God is birthed in the moment that we answer the call to live in love for one another (wherever 2 or more are gathered, there I will be).

Sometimes I believe (and I really do on those days) in Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection. And on other days I don’t. I now live in acceptance of this, no longer allowing it to cause me further existential angst for faith – even faith the size of a mustard seed is enough and god – whatever we mean by that term, is there in the midst of it.

I no longer want to believe (or not) help my un/belief.



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