I don’t know, but I believe
By CHRISTIAN PIATT
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
Unfortunately, this will be my last column for The Pueblo Chieftain.
I’ve accepted a new local writing position, and in doing so have had to make some difficult choices. One of those resulted in my agreement to give up my column here on Saturdays.
It wasn’t an easy choice, and it’s hard to say if it’s the right thing to do or not. The wisdom of our choices often benefits from hindsight and the results that follow.
This contribution marks my 127th consecutive column, and approximately 82,000 words – literally enough to fill a book.
How to put the appropriate punctuation mark at the end of such a series? How to let it go and feel good about where things are left? I keep coming back to a sermon a friend of mine delivered about seven years ago. I don’t remember the exact title, but the basic concept was “I don’t know, but I believe.”
Sometimes we embrace the false impression that a journey of faith offers us some sense of assuredness or certainty about the universe.
Though some may argue this position, to me it goes against the very nature of faith itself. If, after all, we knew, why would we need belief?
If I’ve learned anything in researching and writing two books on theology, hundreds of columns, editing other books and even assisting with a new translation of the Bible, it’s that I don’t know a heck of a lot.
I have a rich tapestry of beliefs, but the scope of my knowledge, relative to the constantly expanding body of information there is to know, is minuscule, nearly to the point of insignificance.
But I still believe.
I don’t know if Jesus is who scripture claims he is, but I believe that, through his life, his witness and his legacy, something divine broke through into the world – and that we’ve never been the same since.
I don’t know if hell literally exists the way we talk about it sometimes in religious circles, but I do believe we each have a chilling capacity for both good and evil, and that the only thing that ultimately can separate us from God’s limitless love and grace is ourselves.
I don’t know if the many claims I’ve made over the past 2 years are true, or if they’ve had the intended impact, but I believe the only way out of darkness is through it, and the only way toward truth is to wrestle with it daily – to debate it, dissect it and never let it stand on its own without a fight.
I don’t know if we’ll ultimately survive as a species, or if our habits will lead to our own demise, but I believe that there is a grace that holds this world together.
I believe that human nature is essentially good and that, even as much as we screw up, God is bigger.
I don’t know if I’ll regret the decision to move on a week from now, or in a month or ever, but I believe that we’re called to a place that generally holds for each of us equal parts excitement and fear.
Since I feel a salient, sobering, exhilarating combination of both right now, I believe I’m pointed in the right direction.
Thank you to each of you who has followed my musings, rants and suppositions over these few years.
Thank you to those who have taken the time to write notes of appreciation, support, encouragement, and even those who have challenged my ideas.
One of my favorite bands is the mega-rock band from Ireland, U2, and perhaps my favorite song of theirs is called “One.”
A particular line keeps running through my head, and I’ll offer it as my parting thought: “We’re one, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other.”
This, I firmly believe.