Jim Forrest was with us this week. He is a man who makes you really want to be a Christian. I am not much of a pacifist. In fact, I have a default “John Wayne” attitude toward violence: It’s regrettable, but inevitable in a fallen world. (Jim gave me this “John Wayne” idea.) I’ve generally thought that there were worse things that could happen to someone than to kill or be killed (such as live in fear). However, in recent years, my default “Johnwaynitude” has been challenged. It has not been challenged by exposure to the tragedy of war–I already agreed that violence is tragic. My assumptions have been challenged first by Fr. Gregory, an Orthodox hermit who lives in the mountains above the Sunshine Coast of BC, eats on a few veggies and grains each day and spends all of his time praying and very little sleeping.
Once I spent a few days with Fr. Gregory. On my last day with him, we took a long walk. On that walk one of the things he told me was the necessity that a Christian be aggressively loving enemies, not doing anything to hurt another human being (very terse paraphrase). When we got back to the cabin, I asked him if he would still love me and let me visit him if couldn’t yet accept his words about aggressively loving enemies. He smiled at me and gave me a big hug. He said, “Just think about the words, eventually they will drive you crazy.” That was two years ago, and I can now attest to serious cracks in the foundation of my sanity.
Jim Forrest stuck a iron poker in some of those cracks and gave a good pull. Part of what it means for me to be a Christian is to realize that not to love is always not sane. Yet I don’t love, and I live in a world of non-lovers.
I remember the words of the Psalmist, “Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.” I think there is a sane Rock–the Rock–on which to stand, but my theories that try to make sense out of a crazy world, a world that says it’s okay not to love; I think those theories need to crumble and fall away. I can let go of my insanity that tried to make sense of an insane world. It feels quite naked not having answers (fig leaves and goat skins are better than nothing–or are they?). Maybe it is good not to know, but do my best where I am to love. I think I’ll try that for a while. May God help me.

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