I am reading The Beautiful Fight, by Gary Thomas.
I am struck by the point of this chapter I am reading - the call to the Divine Experience.
Thomas argues - or rather he discusses, since he specifically says we are called to not argue - that theology and experience are not polarized. They are not two separate things, and they are not either/or.
That perhaps our greatest witness is not the theology we know or the church history we can recite, but rather the transformation of my life because of my experience with Christ.
This is maybe the first reading that has given legitimate credit to my experiences with Christ. The times I have heard him, though not audibly. The times when I know that I know that I know, and it comes to fruition, based only on this rock solid knowing within me.
There are times when I question, but I only question if I can trust this anchor in my gut. I don't question what I know, only whether I am right to trust this intuition.
I guess that's what I have called it. Intuition. Instinct. Awareness.
But I am beginning to think these are the experiences of God. This is his presence in my life.
Thomas says, "Rather than talking about God's empowering presence, we place the most emphasis on being faithful and obedient to what God has already revealed, and we are deeply distrustful of anything that seems to allow God direct input."
I have not seen a healing.
I do not speak in tongues.
I don't believe I am prophetic.
I can't even really imagine what any of those things would be like.
But I have written down the words I believe Jesus may have spoken into my mind, words that I knew were not my own.
I wrote Betrothed three nights before Robb would die, and those words would be mine to carry for a lifetime, the promise that I am betrothed as the bride of Christ, even if I am not a wife.
I have felt the change in the air around me, the quietness in my spirit, and the crystal clear thought that is so profound it actually seems audible.
I have the power of Christ in me. I have Christ himself in me.
I am becoming like him.
I am not becoming him. I am becoming like him.
And perhaps this experience with God, this transformation of my life, is a greater witness than anything someone could read.
Thomas says that people rarely seek faith, but rather they encounter it in the life of someone they love and trust, someone whom they believe to be true and honest, someone who is transformed with no other explanation.
I can't explain the things I know,
the truths I claim, the experiences I have had.
But I know I have had them, even if I don't know the stories of martyrs or talk about the birth of the early Church. And this book is giving me words to believe these things have happened, these words are true, these are experiences I can trust.