Just finished Peter Rollins’ latest book The Idolatry of God (see my review). Came across this script written by Stephen Caswell that was part of in ikon event Rollins describes. On a day when toxins are again asserting themselves within me like a Cylon resurgence; when I hear of the sudden death of a young son who was ice and cliff climbing as I listen to a father’s grief; when I walk through untold numbers of stories filled with pain as I stroll through hospital corridors; this bit about unraveling is simply exquisite. It is in unraveling that we finally commence raveling; as we are torn down that we are finally built.
Anyway, here’s a bit of unraveling…
Here I am unraveling!
It began with a doubt. A tickling thread, an element itching.
Not much, but at the time I wanted it gone; I prayed for it to disappear.
Unraveling. Some early questions coming out of the fray: How can I claim to know God?
How can I comfortably address Infinite-God in prayer? What is my faith made of?
This doubt was mocking me: “You live your family inheritance! You’ve invested so much you can’t let it go!
Your identity is tied up in Christendom—pull this thread and you will be nothing!” Mocking little dangling thread of doubt.
The thread. I couldn’t ignore the itch. Should I snip it off and pretend it never existed?
Or should I pull it and examine my reasons for belief? I decided I would pull it until it stopped.
My faith would find its form and still keep me warm.
It would stand up to the test. I would tug this thread and come out stronger. . . . I came out
Every question led to another. Each answer was teased apart, showing its own presuppositions.
Every new experience I was open to and every stranger I met pulled at the thread. I was unraveling, and I was unraveling fast.
What would be left?
Filled with doubt!
Filled with failure!
Filled with uncertainty!
That’s how it started, this unraveling.
But unraveling and raveling, I was both. They mean the same thing.
I started to see that unraveling didn’t need the negative appendage, the un- prefix.
As if unraveling were to be avoided, to be considered the ruin of my belief, as if this dissection indicated the death of my faith.
My Christ-encounter had become meshed in interpretation and tangled
in my inheritance (church, theology, psychology, politics).
My “becoming-Christ” had become “Christian” (in all its woolen glory).
But instead of unraveling these threads to expose an embarrassed belief, this raveling disentangles
the web of confusing adornments and décor to make room for the next encounter.
Raveling. Disentangling, not collapsing. My faith didn’t unravel, it raveled.
They mean the same thing.
I learned to revel in raveling.
The questions proclaim more than the answers.
The searching confirms that there has been revelation.
The hunt for an unattainable treasure confirms that we have found it.
Tearing apart what I love is evidence that I
Forever doubting! Forever failing! Forever uncertain!
I am raveling…