There is a difference between faith and belief that one can understand as a loophole. I love loopholes.
They can be so fun and helpful. When I was a child in the 70’s and was told to go to bed at the end of a show, I could always tell if there was an “Epilogue” – one of the first big words I ever learned. It was back when we watched TV with commercials, the last bit of a show after the final flurry of commercials, but before the end credits (remember those?)
Mum would say “That’s the end! Go to bed.” And I would say “It’s not the end, there’s an epilogue.” And then Mum would yell at Dad for teaching me big words like Epilogue. She would say… “now! …will you look at this word, your son’s throwing back at me!” I was always “your son” when I was in trouble. I was also always in trouble. The pattern continues to this day.
I am having more and more trouble with belief these days and so I love the “faith” loophole. Do I believe in God saving only “the Good” on a planet of 8 billion people and many more gazillion animals? Well, I have faith that all will be well, somehow. Is that enough?
Do I believe in sin and forgiveness of sin? Well, I have faith that a loving creator would not harm its creations, mistakes or not. Is that enough?
Do I believe that God loves me more if I go to church than if I am all happy and soft by spending a Sunday Morning in my pottery studio or on a walk in the forest with a lovely ham sandwich with mayo on thin bread, just the way I like it to end the day? Is that enough?
I pulled this platter out of the kiln the other day. I had used two glazes, one over the other – an experiment. They fell and swirled and in one place, the glaze took on a silver metallic luster – an accident of the kiln much-prized in Asia. I had planned for the plate to be dark blue, but the kiln had a different idea. I believed the plate would be dark blue, but I found I had faith that it would simply be what it would be – mysterious silver and flowing colors not-withstanding.
Do I believe in “a state of grace?” Well, I have faith in one, even if I define it differently. Is that good enough? Not for some I suppose. I struggle to believe in mysteries. But I am happy to have faith in one.
That platter came out of my kiln much better than I could have imagined. Our souls are similar, I think. What I had done to glaze it should not have resulted in this much beauty. But miraculously, it did.
Do I believe in heaven? I have faith in the unity we call “God” working things out. That will have to be enough. “It’s not the end, there’s an epilogue.”
The Daily Sip is a series of short-form essays written by Charles LaFond, a potter, writer, and fundraiser; who lives with his dog Sugar on a cliff, on one of the more than 400 islands in the Salish Sea, pondering and writing about how to be a better human, but often failing. And sometimes not.