Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Existential Faith Part 3


Paul Jones in his book entitled Theological Worlds states, "...the faith journey begins when we experience our obsessio." "An obsessio is whatever functions deeply and pervasively in one's life as a defining quandary, a conundrum, a boggling of the mind, a hemorrhaging of the soul, a wound that bewilders healing, a mystification that renders one's life cryptic. Whatever inadequate words one might choose to describe it, an obsessio is that which so gets its teeth into a person that it establishes one's life as plot. It is the memory which, as resident image, becomes so congealed as Question that all else in one's experience is sifted in terms of its promise as Answer. Put another way, an obsessio is whatever threatens to deadlock Yeses with No. It is one horn that establishes life as dilemma...The etymology of the word says it well: obsessio means "to be besieged." To expand we all have something in our life or character which is determining our faith level (existential factor) like a fear which creates a barrier to faith released. It may be the environment in which we were raised or now live in which is creating barriers to faith released. In my life, being raised in an alcoholic home has created in myself certain co-dependencies which have been and are detriments to faith being released in me. The big issue in my life has always been when will the hammer drop, the anticipation that life can not continue on with any hope for blessing to last. This is significant when coming to faith with God as a father figure, who arbitrarily (seemingly) can bring calamity upon life (read Job). To be cast upon the deep with this mentality has created an indeterminate amount of stress in my spiritual development. There have been many setbacks, but there have been many successes and God has proven Himself to be a Father-God. With this in mind you may understand why I relate to the concept of obsessio, to be besieged. It relates well to the concept of fortresses and strongholds built into my psyche, those fortifications designed by circumstance and environment to satisfy the existential dilemma. Those high places not accessed by God for fear of the consequence of exposing my heart, not giving God the opportunity to cause me to experience pain at the hands of one who has the power to cause harm. Relinquishing my power to control the pain I experience, is not an option for my continued emotional health. In all this, faith will never be released, because at that level I can never trust.
Please note: that I have moved away from the foundation of existential faith to a more personal and pointed expression of existential faith, relating more to personal fears and personal coping mechanisms dealing with existentialism.
As I look at the story of the woman with the issue of blood (Matt. 9:20; Mark 5:25; Lk. 8:43), I picture a woman who is confronted with her fears. She takes the chance and faces the danger of her exposure as an unclean person, defiling others by her touch, to receive healing from Jesus, just to have herself publicly exposed by Jesus. Jesus confronts her by asking of the crowd 'Who touched me?... and all denied ... and when she saw she was not hidden, she came forward and trembling fell at His feet.' All her fears were being realized, now finally healed she is faced with the expectation that what was secretly given through less than forthright methods by a prophet of God, may now be taken away. Jesus recognizing her declares 'Daughter, thy faith has healed...go in peace.' Her hopes are not dashed by God, but affirmed by the love of a savior. 1 John 4:18 "... perfect love casts out fear..."

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