Jump directly to the content
Christianity Makes No SenseKevin Dooley / Flickr

Christianity Makes No Sense


Jan 3 2014
And yet, I believe. Loving our creative God, embracing our paradoxical faith.

During a talk I gave this fall on the psalms, I confessed: I am, in fact, just like King David. Though I acknowledged that many major details of our lives (gender, epoch, occupation, sling-shot skills, number of spouses, and current sex partners, for instance) are as different as different can be, the more of David's psalms I read, the more I realize much of our internal lives are same-same.

We're both walking contradictions.

I ran through the paradoxes that define both me and King David: We're both at times scared and yet overly confident, desperate and thankful, strong but humbled, misfit yet uniquely called, total messes and totally beloved by God. I scanned the room hoping to connect with understanding, nodding heads. While there were a few gazes that met mine and few heads that bobbed in agreement, I met more confused faces, noticed several sideways What is that woman talking about? glances than I'd like.

Apparently, being a walking contraction, a living paradox is not normal. If I'm just like David, then according to the looks I got that day, I'm odd like David. Fair enough.

While being Contradiction Personified may be odd among the general population, it is not so among creative folks. In "Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense," Matthew Schuler cites nine examples of the "contradictory traits" often present in creative people, as apparently offered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Creativity.

A few of Csikszentmihalyi's assertions are that creative people are "smart and naïve" at the same time; combine "playfulness and productivity;" "alternate fluently between imagination and fantasy and a rooted sense of reality; are both "rebellious and conservative;" and are passionate and yet objective about our work.

While his conclusions indicate that indeed creative people make no sense (like, the story of the atheist photographer who takes pictures of churches and holy places…), for me, this list makes perfect sense. It confirms something I've long suspected and that is: those of us who find comfort in contractions, who are at ease with our own internal devil's advocates, have a leg of up on this faith of ours, this faith that is nothing short of paradoxical and nonsensical.

In a recent article about the popularity of Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah," Ashley Fetters writes:

Cohen has always been ambiguous about what his "Hallelujah," with its sexual scenery and its religious symbolism, truly "meant."

"This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled," Cohen has said. "But there are moments when we can ... reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that's what I mean by 'Hallelujah.'"

Related Topics:Arts; Faith and Practice
Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
How to Address America’s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village

How to Address America’s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village

The next wave of the evangelical adoption movement will rely on the church's support.
There's Never Enough Time

There's Never Enough Time

What I’ve learned as a working mother about the limits of time management.
Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians

Why Adult Coloring Works for Christians

I mocked the coloring book trend, until I discovered it for myself.
Does the Road to Character Run Through Silicon Valley?

Does the Road to Character Run Through Silicon Valley?

The HBO show draws us in with deeper questions about power and morals.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Blessed Are the Agnostics

How I learned to see my unbelieving husband through God’s eyes.

Twitter

  • @CircleReader d83dde2e
  • For anyone who isn2019t familiar: No, adult coloring books aren2019t that kind of 201cadult201d https://t.co/BYKm3GgD8C
  • RT @OrphanAlliance: How to Address America2019s Foster Care Crisis? It Takes a Village via @CT_Women https://t.co/gZgJUcxBa4 @KellyMRosati
  • Why churches will be key to the future of evangelicals2019 orphan-care movement https://t.co/77yY6KugZC
  • RT @alissamarie: Anyhow I got cranky about ALICE and less cranky about some other things in the latest newsletter: https://t.co/WWINXrmFJh


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Christianity Makes No Sense