Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Everything about Christianity is dependent on faith, it is the currency of heaven, I like to say. God's love, grace if you are of the reformed persuasion, is foundational, of course, but God saw fit to make love efficacious only through faith. However, every believer has moments when his or her faith signal is charting at only one or two bars instead of three or four. What do you lean on when your faith is out of breath? Is there is spiritual safety net?

I have found one through experience, really a Dragnet that pulls me back to safety. That old TV show from the sixties always had Jack Webb deadpan, "Just the facts, ma'am." A movie version was produced in the 80's with Dan Akroyd intoning the line, but it just wasn't the same. Anyhow, when my faith is squishy, I deadpan to myself, "Just the facts," and with my response resuscitate my trust in God.

What facts do I answer myself with? Just two:

1) Nothing makes sense if God isn't behind existence. I know that there is no way to explain, not only the cosmos, not only the presence and complexity of life, but also the abstraction of human thought apart from God's existence and creativity. Call it a Romans 1 moment. Fact one: God is (he has to be).

2) Jesus rose from the dead. The tomb was empty, no one ever found the body. One of the most brutally pragmatic empires to rise upon the face of earth lost track of a body they truly wanted to keep their hands on, ostensibly to a ragtag crew of bumpkins? No way! The Jews, who tried to deflect the force of eyewitness testimony by suborning perjury, if anything, wanted to confiscate the body more so than the Romans. Their money perished with them, because they never got anyone to lead them to the body. Despite the efforts of Roman and Jew, never was one eyewitness induced to recant, even in the face of torture. A cabal of twits withstood the mighty and the artful. Why? There was no body, it was in use! It was not a spiritual resurrection, a mythological resurrection, nor a metaphorical resurrection--Jesus grew tired of being dead so he came back to life, bodily! Fact two: Jesus rose from the dead (he had to).

Those two not so little facts inflate the life raft of my faith anytime it springs a leak. With the most salubrious effect, they are my answer back to myself whenever I've fallen into confusion or doubt. I hate to admit it, but more than once (to calm the turmoil of soul) I've had to deadpan to mirror, "Just the facts, ma'am."