Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Keeping quiet

If I had said "I will speak thus", I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

In context, this verse in Psalm 73 is saying something pretty controversial in today's world (and church).  The Psalmist had big doubts about the goodness of God, and he kept them to himself.  And looking back, he is glad he kept them to himself.  His doubts could have damaged other people.

I'm all for honesty, and I'm absolutely committed to the idea that the church is a community which accepts doubters, and doesn't discourage openness about struggles with faith.  But I do wonder whether sometimes 'personal integrity' is viewed as an ultimate good.  I think this, so I have to say it.  I doubt this, so I'd best express that.  This Psalm suggests that sometimes it would be better to have internal anguish rather than cause others to suffer.

I just thought that was interesting in a world where everyone has to 'be themselves', and a church where contradicting centuries of Christian teaching and belief is applauded as heroic so long as you are doing it for the sake of integrity.


  1. The doctrine of grace blows the teachings of integrity out of the water. There is no such thing as personal integrity according to Paul (Romans 3:23) but only what the Christ has given us. (Romans 5:8) Christ knows the state of our battle regarding integrity. (John 2:24) In the world there are voices that call us to be 'ourslves.' Christ calls us to leave ourselves behind and go after him. Doubters go back to the fishing boats and stare at the water. Disciples follow Jesus radically without sight and vulnerability. Example: And they went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi (Several days travel Mark 8:27) not knowing where or why the Lord was taking them there.

    1. I think I agree with you, although I'm a bit nervous about 'without...vulnerability'. Maybe it depends how you look at it. From the point of view of God's protection, faith is a venture which is indeed invulnerable ('what is the victory that overcomes the world? Even our faith'); but from the point of view of the human being 'on the way', faith is exposed to all sorts of internal and external contradictions and struggles, such that we can sometimes hardly take another step. I suppose it is the nature of faith not to be confident in itself but in another.