Complex Theology and Simple Faith

Len Sweet has taught me another valuable lesson. Sweet writes in his latest book, The Well Played Life, (pg 193) Aging is a schizophrenic exercise in going opposite directions at  the same time: I mature with age, and I immature with age. I call this simplexity. Simplexity is a systemic combination of both complexity and simplicity. The Holy Spirit reveals the God of simplexity. Simplexity is not lost on this 61 year old fat man. I have graduated from the twenty second grade of good God school. I have worked as a local church pastor for more than 38 years. I have preached untold numbers of sermons, as well as conducted numerous weddings and  funerals. I sat at the hospital beds of hundreds of persons scrambling in their last moments for the meaning of life while leaning against the doors of death. I have studied Liberation, Narrative, and Process theology yet my belief is sustained by the simplicity and complexity of Psalm 139 where I learn about the inescapable God. The day after my son's suicide I read Psalm 123 as my prayer of both angst and comfort, and in the spirit of Karl Barth I now sing my statement of faith in those childhood verses "Jesus Loves Me this I Know.. for the Bible tells me so......" Simple messages which are simultaneously complex... simplexity.

Faith is not an either/or, black/white, good/bad, proposition. Faith are gray areas coming to life. Faith is something I love and hate at the same time, in the same moment. I feel wonderful being fully known by the God described in Psalm 139. At the same time, being fully known terrifies me! Both those things are true.

The church for tomorrow will make room for simplexity. The church for tomorrow is more interested in questions than definitive answers. The church for tomorrow is thankful to Len Sweet for reminding us "the older I get, the more complex my theology becomes, but the more simple my faith is."