Black Holes, Faith & Doubt

Yesterday the story broke of an actual photo that has been taken of a black hole in space some 55 million light years away in a galaxy known as M87.  

The photo shows some of what scientists have suspected for years based on Einstein's theory of relativity, which just goes to show you how freaking smart Einstein was.  But to a person, the scientists interviewed about the photo stated that despite all that was confirmed, there was still so much that wasn't.  

One of the headlines read, "Stare Into the Unknown."  

I love that.  I love the fact that there is even more uncertainty about the nature of black holes than there was a day ago.  I love the fact that sometimes even the smartest people on the planet have to shrug and say, "I dunno."  

What I don't love is that it seems to be easier for scientists to do this than most of us who call ourselves Christians.  It occurs to me that if those of us who call ourselves Christians embraced our doubts and uncertainty more easily, we wouldn't be struggling to interest people in Christianity.  

There is a moment (or more) in every human being's life when they find themselves wondering if maybe we are all just alone in the universe.  God knows I've been there a time or two (see what I did there).  And I'm a Christian pastor. 

But just about once a year I will get an angry email or a Facebook message from someone who disagrees vehemently with my willingness to embrace my doubts, or to talk about them, or to encourage people not to push theirs away.  

Essentially what these angry people seem to be advocating for is that Christians should deny something that is a vital part of who they are, and an essential aspect of being human.  

Anne Lamott once wrote: 
The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.  Certainty is missing the point entirely.  Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.  Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk. 
May you find comfort in your doubts when they come, knowing that they are as much a part of you as any feeling of faith.  May you rest easy in you unknowing, holding on to the hope that there are bigger things at work in, through and all around you.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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