Friday, December 24, 2010

The Space Between

This is a blog about all the things I don’t know. This is the place to explore my own ignorance and try to fill in the spaces. I once heard a definition of hell as only that which keeps you from heaven. I really truly believe that we are the ones that get in the way of our own happiness. We are the ones that block ourselves from all the good in the world, from people we can connect with to do better.

As this is the day before my first Christmas as a Christian, I have had a thousand thoughts about what to write about this. All I can find is blank space. I know nothing about Jesus, it seems. I know all of these little historical tidbits told by a number of people but I just can’t get a sense of who he was, where he lived, how he spent his days.

The other day in the car ride home from a family Christmas gathering Rob, my husband got an earful about this. I told him I didn’t think I learned things the way other people did. I learned with my hands, with my heart, and with experience. Telling me a story is not enough to help me know it enough to live it.

As someone with a degree in biology, I had to take courses on Physics, Organic Chemistry and Calculus to round out this science degree. The rest of my course load all required memorizing facts, pictures and stories. I aced the ‘hard’ sciences which allowed me to work with the material, manipulate it, wrap it up for myself with a big, red bow. I nearly failed the stuff more related to the study of living things (memorizing latin names, classification systems, cellular structure and systems etc.). It wasn’t until I began to hold these living things in my hands, cut them apart and watch them behave that I could piece together what I wanted to know about them. Learning how to farm feels much the same. It is in the doing that we find out how it goes.

I expressed my frustration aloud about how there was no equation to help me make sense of God. All I had to work with was a string of facts and tidbits. Everything that I know to be true lives in the connective tissue in between the facts. Yet, for Jesus, I had not seen this or built this yet. My understanding of something lives in the blood that travels in the veins or arteries, the messages sent through hormones and neurons, everything between one island of concrete and another. I could not create a picture with these bits of knowledge that had been strewn together and navigated 2 thousand years to get here.

Before going to sleep I pulled my book from my nightstand and began reading. Within a couple of sentences, I glanced over to my bookshelf and saw the book ‘Jesus Means Life’ written by Harold and Patricia Wells. I had found it at a second hand bookshop (or it had found me) during the summer just before my baptism. I bought it in hopes that it would summarize what a day in the life of Jesus might have looked like.

I flipped it open. Instantly there came this sentence that I read aloud to Rob too tired to be freaked out but nevertheless amused.

“Jesus was a person and one does not learn about a person in the same way as one learns about things, a chemical or mathematical formula, a rock or a tree.” The book goes on to suggest that we approach Jesus, if we are Christians, “in trust that God will guide us in our search”.

I’ll say.

So perhaps God is the space between, the messenger and the sinew that holds it all together. We can’t see God just like you can’t see air, yet breathing is the most important thing you do in a day.

I’m going to spend the next couple of days embracing this new air. As a mother, I remember the miracles that were the birthdays of my children. And this story just gets so much better…


  1. i just read a book called "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. It tells one persons idea about Jesus life. I found it very interesting.

  2. When Jim Stevenson was preaching at church in the summer, he said something interesting that has really stuck with me. He said that most people believe that the opposite of faith is doubt. But this isn't true. He said that part of being faithful is doubting - it's having the questions that we ask, sometimes over and over again. The opposite of faith, he said, is fear. Fear of asking the questions - fear of the answers.

  3. I really appreciate this point. I have heard similar things to this and wish I'd known this kind of thinking years ago. It would have made me far less shy to venture forward into the church. Thanks Issysue!


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