Unconventional Wisdom

So my normal routine goes something like this: roll out of bed, morning run around Nanhu Lake, quick shower, lots of coffee and breakfast (this morning more of that toasted wheat bread with honey from the valleys of Yunnan, and yogurt with raisins and sunflower seeds-yum!), prayer, check email and news, and dive into the day’s work.

Foot bridge over Nanhu Lake in Nanning.

This morning’s news included fascinating stories from East (education gap between rural and urban students at the college level here and China) and West (apparently there is no scientific basis for that whole visual learner/auditory learner divide, but variety and repetition are viable learning strategies). And then, a wonderful thing happened- that prayer and news portion of my morning sort of blended together.

A really powerful article from USA Today entitled “Why Certainty About God is Overrated” chronicles the experiences of world-class physicist, John Polkinghorne, who thinks God is as good a bet as any, and that includes what we normally consider scientific facts, quarks, and the like.  What I like about this article is that it not only expresses what we people of faith know about faith–that it is like iron, steely, yet bendable, and brittle–but that we humans are at our weakest, in terms of learning new things, learning more about one another, and growing in faith and wisdom, when we don’t allow room for doubt.

It’s important and moving to hear one of the smartest men in the world admit the he doesn’t know everything, in fact that he may not be certain of anything, but that is precisely where faith and knowledge both begin, right? I appreciate that the article concludes, “It may be OK, finally, for people to admit that they don’t know things for sure — whether it’s about quarks, light, God or the best way forward for the nation’s economy.”


2 thoughts on “Unconventional Wisdom

  1. Hey Erin,
    I was really touched by this post. I preached a sermon on this topic in June at my church that I got very good feedback from. I’ll see if I can’t wrestle up the audio file and send it to you. I based a good portion of my thought off Lesslie Newbigin’s book “Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt and Certainty in Christian Discipleship”.
    In my sermon I talked about some dark days in seminary when I realized that if God doesn’t exist I’m doing all this work for nothing. I should be doing something real like law or engineering. I also shared how I had worked through it by believing in God the same way I believed in the constant of gravity. I ended by talking about my time at Church of All Nations and how that place freed me from the need of certainty to simply a place of confidence. I was able to get there through the amazing community who loved me into emotionally believing in God rather then just a rational believe.
    So yeah, thanks for sharing this. I have been following along with your blog and it is fun to hear about your life. We still need to skype! I’d love to introduce you to my little boy. We miss you guys

    1. Hey Jeremiah, Thanks for this comment. I would love to read your sermon, please keep hunting and send it along when you find it. And yes, send me a time that works for you to skype and for me to ‘meet’ your son!! So good to hear from you.

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