Sunday, October 31, 2010

The possibility of God

I spend some of my time serving as a priest-chaplain to visitors in a local cathedral. It is the only part of my life that can be regarded as official or representative, the aspects of ministry I have always found most problematic. A friend asked me how I reconcile this role with my total uncertainty about life, the universe and everything, including religion and faith. What, he wondered, do I suppose I am doing when I stand there wearing my dog-collar and sporting my chaplain’s badge.

Good question. Tentative answer.

The basis of all conversations I have as a priest is the possibility of God. I mean this in at least two senses. First, that God might be a possibility, and that life might be lived in the light (or shadow) of that possibility. Secondly, that God might actually be possibility. To quote Kierkegaard: ‘God is that all things are possible, and all things are possible is God.’ To see the world ‘in God’ is to see the world as open, unpredictable, undetermined, totally uncertain.

One possibility I have yet to reckon with - the possibility that I am fooling myself into believing that this kind of uncertainty is consistent with my priestly profession. I may never be sure.


MadPriest said...

In my opinion, priesthood is ontological rather than functional. Therefore there is no separation between your beliefs and your priesthood and you cannot subject one to another because there are not two components in the first place. You are a priest and your priesthood is who you are. You beliefs are no more contrary to your profession as your lack of hair :-)

The real question is, "Do your beliefs harm other people?" Personally I think they would strengthen rather than weaken the spiritual lives of others. But, at the end of the day, you are the only one who can decide on your effectiveness. However, even if you remove yourself from all contact with others you will still be a priest.

goodfornowt said...

Thanks MP. I wish I had your confidence. Or your sanity?