Responding to Buechner

I did something that I don’t like other people to do. I’m sorry.

I posted a quotation without any commentary. I never really like it when people do this – on blogs or in person. I don’t like it when people read a paragraph from a book or quote some scripture, while nodding their head and assuming everyone is grasping the deep truth they found in the words.

So here are a few thoughts on the Buechner quote from the previous post.

Some people think faith is just a figment of our imaginations. Buechner admits that this can be a compelling argument. And actually, he is saying that this argument is strongest when it comes from himself. Don’t you find this to be true? I might quickly dismiss the atheist who declares my faith to be a mere dream but it is difficult to dismiss the doubts that are stirred in my own heart and mind. There have been plenty of times when I have thought to myself, “Surely this is just something I have made up in my head. It can’t be real.”

Maybe it is all a dream.

BUT, if it is a dream, it’s a dream that should be true. It’s a dream that is more true than reality itself.

And when I wake, to my doubts, to the seeming realization that it has all in fact been a fraud, I cry out because the dream was so much more true, more real, more good than reality.

Faith is the belief that this dream just might be true. It is faith that brings us to dream the dream in the first place. It is faith that causes us to cry out in the midst of doubt – thinking the dream is too good to be true.

This faith, and hope, sustain us through the journey. Faith and hope that life really is better than death. I really like this idea. Sometimes to believe in God, to believe in Jesus, to believe in all the Bible and the Church proclaim, is just too much. But somehow I continue to believe that what I need is not death, but life. Life must be better than death. The good around me is too compelling. Even in the midst of the darkness I find hope that life is better. I find hope and faith that the dream is real. That Jesus does in fact reveal to us a good and loving God. That there is hope for the here and now. And even hope to be found in the uncertainty of what lies beyond this life.

Let us not lose hope. Let us not lose faith. Let us keep dreaming. Let us keep crying out. Let us keep living.

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3 Responses

  1. Hey, Adam, this is good. Thank you. What comes to me as I think about this is, I think, really along the same lines.
    I really like your statement, “I find hope and faith that the dream is real. That Jesus does in fact reveal to us a good and loving God. That there is hope for the here and now.”
    Some thoughts that come to me… Faith is the dream that has to be true. Yes, Jesus reveals the good and loving God! He rings true. He resonates with the deepest longings at the core of my very being. The dream of the Good and the Loving must be true or I must despair and despair and despair and die. The dream IS the true, the real, the good, the reality…the doubts are the dark shadows of what’s not real.

  2. I find this beautiful. I’m really glad you commented. It’s good to hear Buechner’s thoughts on this, but it’s even better–for me, anyway–to hear your thoughts.

  3. I wasn’t going to respond to this, because I was afraid of the reaction I would get. But I’ve changed my mind. Bare in mind, I’m asking questions more than answering them. As you know by now, I’m agnostic, so my views on faith are very… skeptical… for lack of a better word.

    If I am to believe that faith is nothing more than a “real” dream, what separates reality from fiction. It seems to me that the only separation (in Buechner’s quote) is what I want that separation to be. If I want my faith to be a reality and not just a dream, then I only need to believe it, and it is so? I don’t buy it. Sorry. If one has doubts, and the doubt unsettles you so, then retreating back into the dream to avoid these doubts solves nothing in the end.

    It’s a beautiful idea when applied in a loving manner, but it becomes a dangerous idea when in the hands of extremists. Their faith is so strong and so “real” to them, as well.

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