September 29, 2006

Order & Chaos

I am not a fundamentalist or a conservative. But today, I realized that I have something in common with those who are.

The world is a confusing, chaotic place. Much of what happens to us doesn't make sense. (Think 9/11, Katrina, or the sick/crippled child down the street.) Yet, we need it to make sense. We feel a need to find the order in the midst of this chaos.

I seek that sense of order in a simple life. Not that my life is simple, but I am constantly trying to make it so. Regularly, I go through my possessions to figure out what I can get rid of. I am obsessed by a neat, balanced checkbook and a neat, orderly home. I am frustrated by my inability to maintain either.

Religious conservatives & fundamentalists seek order in the midst of chaos by simplifying God. There must be a reason for everything, they believe, and those reasons can be found in the Bible. The answers are there in black and white, and if one has enough faith, then everything makes sense. It's all part of God's plan. The great efforts they go to explain the "purpose" behind so many tragedies shows that they, too, are frustrated (and perhaps even in denial) about the world's chaos and confusion.

Just as my efforts to keep my life simple and ordered cannot mask the mystery of the world, neither can the efforts of many to simplify God mask the mystery. I believe that there are many things in the world that are NOT a part of God's plan, but why they happen, I cannot say. I do not presume to know all the ways of God or of the universe. I can only keep exploring, and keep asking questions.

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