(if you are viewing this via email, the website has a recording of this poem and commentary; click the title above)
Halfway through my second year in college, I went through a period of questioning my faith. Actually, I was questioning “my inherited faith,” since Christianity was what I grew up with. The questioning was a healthy process. I came out of it with a recognition that I could not–and need not–prove anything about God definitively.
One book that I read at that time was In two minds: The dilemma of doubt & how to resolve it by Oz Guinness. Since it has been over forty years since I read the book, I can’t swear to this, but I seem to recall Guinness suggesting that doubt often arises from ingratitude. Over the years, that seems to have been borne out in my own life: stop thanking God for all He supplies, and soon I’m struggling with doubt.
With that background, you’ll understand why, when I recently tried to throw out all my presuppositions about Romans and come to my own fresh understanding, there’s one presupposition I wasn’t willing to throw out just yet: that the kind of faith Paul is talking about could be characterized as “grateful reliance.” That’s really what this poem is about. When I posted the poem on Facebook, here’s what I wrote:
My flight through the Bible has my little plane struggling for elevation to clear the mountain range called Romans.
This little poem is me thinking “out loud” about how Abraham’s exemplary(?)* saving faith may have differed from the faith of his descendants.
*Caution: the QUALITY of Abraham’s faith may not be Paul’s point. I look at it because many of those whose condemnation Paul mentions surely had their own measure of faith. Was it different? Is that important? I don’t know yet.
(the background image combines a night sky photo by Chemnitz/Deutschland on Pixabay; a desert scene by Greg Montani, also on Pixabay; and Genesis 15:5 in Hebrew)