Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plumbing theology

We were giving our 3-year-old a bath last night and she asked a question that made me think about my faith and how I participate in it. The question was very simple: “Why is the faucet attached to the wall?”

Certainly it doesn't have a lot to do with faith directly but it's a good analogy of something I've been struggling with personally. That is knowing about my faith but not necessarily participating in it.

My daughter has no idea how the plumbing of a bathtub works. She has no clue what pipes do or where they go, but yet she can take a bath and get clean. She doesn't know the details but yet the bath still has effect on her.

On the other hand as an intellectual adult may learn about plumbing, understand the effects of different pipe materials and the rest of the details. However, none of this knowledge makes a person clean. Knowing about about baths isn't the same as taking a bath.

For a long time I have been aware that I am in the second situation regarding my faith. I spend more time learning about God and less time building a relationship with him.

It seems reasonable to me that this is a question of balance. Knowledge of God is useful and by virtue of our baptism we are called to be prophets who proclaim the truth, which we can only know through learning. However, knowledge is only useful if it is leveraged and applied in daily life to experience God more deeply. If knowledge deepens relationship it is probably very useful; if it replaces relationship then it may actually be harmful. Bringing these two aspects into balance seems like a great addition to my Lenten journey.

Isn't it amazing how God can use the most ordinary things to reach us?

If you find yourself leaning one way or another, share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

1 comment:

RAnn said...

Ouch! What an analogy; what truth.