We’re praying through Pete Enns’ Sin of Certainty (HarperCollins, 2016). It is a book that considers “certainty” for the faithful Christian an idol. Pete shares his story and tries to relate it to his readers, who he hopes can mature and hold onto their faith as they grow older. It is a great book for the Water Daily Prayer reader. I will mainly offer you excerpts of the text and reflections thereafter.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt
Read Philippians 4:4-7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
More thoughts for meditation
“Trust is not marked by unflappable dogmatic certainty, but by embracing as a normal part of faith the steady line of mysteries and uncertainties that parade before our lives and seeing them as opportunities to trust more deeply.
Instead of relying on absolute either-or thinking, a trusting faith understands that trusting God is a process that takes time and practice. That pilgrimage doesn’t necessarily follow a linear progression but accepts the unpredictable and disquieting nature of life as an encounter with God—and a move ultimately toward God, trusting that God is involved in that very process.
Rather than focusing on the badges that define our tribal identity (our church, denomination, subdenomination, doctrinal convictions, side of the aisle, whatever), a trust-centered faith will see the world with humble, open, and vulnerable eyes—and ourselves as members and participants rather than master and conquerors. We will see our unfathomable cosmos and the people in our cosmic neighborhood as God’s creation, not as objects for our own manipulation or unholy mischief.
Rather than being quick to settle on final answers on puzzling questions, a trust-centered faith will find time to formulate wise questions that respect the mystery of God and call upon God for the courage to sit in those questions for as long as necessary before seeking a way forward.
Rather than counting on the acquisition of knowledge to support and defend the faith, a trust-centered faith values and honors the wise—those who through experience and mature spiritual habits have earned the right to lead and are given a central role in nurturing faith in others.
Rather than defining faithfulness as absolute conformity to authority and tribal identity, a trust-centered faith will value in others the search for the true human authenticity that may take them away from familiar borders of their faith, while trusting God to be part of that process in ourselves and others, even those closest to us.
The choice of how we have to live is entirely ours.” (Pete Enns, Sin of Certainty, HarperCollins, 2016, p. 148-149).
Suggestions for action
Enns ends his book on the sin of certainty by focusing on doubt as an instrument of God and trusting God as a better option than certainty. If we are dead-set on what we think is certain, we actually create less room for faith and trust.
Our community is formed to resist that doctrinal certainty and to create a container and environment of love where faith and trust can flourish. Enns’ book may speak to exactly what Circle of Hope is creating in our region: a place where a dialogue of love holds us together, not the right ideas and certainty about them — and not certainty about our resistance or cynicism either. Occupy that space intentionally today. Pray to trust God beyond your doubt and certainty.