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Permitting our spiritual structures to fall

Hand holding a one-inch square red wooden block.

The contemplation below comes from the devotional I'm currently developing. Stay tuned for details about when it will be launched!

Toddlers have two joys when it comes to playing with building blocks. The first is stacking them up. The second is knocking them down. As kids get older, they begin experimenting with the different ways pieces can be combined, trying to see how tall they can stack a tower, or how beautiful a building can be when it is assembled from blocks of varying colors, or how balance works when making a bridge. A great deal of learning takes place when a construction collapses.

We tend to associate order and structure with reliability and truth, and messiness with a lack of credibility. But all existence sprang from chaos and darkness. From the diaspora the good news was spread. In the fetid darkness of rot spring seedlings of new life.

Blocks wouldn’t be fun if they couldn’t be tumbled into a pile of promise on the floor. There can be no eureka moments if the pieces are cemented into a monolith rather than remaining free to be formed and reformed.

If you’re feeling fearful about the jumbled state of your faith, remember that disorder doesn’t generally last. If we permit ourselves to enter a state where the pieces of our spiritual structures lay in heaps around us, we have the opportunity to rearrange the blocks and see what results.

We can’t get to new things if we cling to the existing order. From chaos comes life.

Beyond rational and critical thinking, we need to be called again. This can lead to the discovery of a “second naïveté,” which is a return to the joy of our first naïveté, but now totally new, inclusive, and mature thinking.

Paul Ricœur


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