POET and storyteller Steven James describes us humans as “skin covered spirits with hungry souls’’. We are both Hitler and Gandhi, Genghis Khan and Martin Luther King, nurse and terrorist, lover and liar.
Humility is another paradox. The moment you think you’ve finally found it, you’ve lost it.
Anyway, humility seems risky. It’s not always clear in this world who’s on our side and who isn’t. We don’t know the plan.
In his book Sailing Between The Stars, James urges us to embrace the spiritual paradoxes instead of trying to stuff faith into little boxes.
“Release you grip,’’ advises James. “It’s humbling and exhilarating to live in the middle of a riddle.’’
He points to all the stress and ugliness in the world and says we must accept there’s a lot about God’s plan we will never understand. God can seem illogical, unreasonable and yet somehow unmistakenly true.
The sooner we understand “the uncommon sense’’ of Christianity, the better.
“I used to think that defending my faith meant providing people with answers,’’ says James. “I’m just starting to realize that it isn’t answers people typically want. Answers don’t usually satisfy us because it isn’t just our head that is hungry. That’s why when Jesus came he didnt bring answers. He brought mystery wrapped in love.’’
He’s right. The foundation of Christian belief is a paradox. Death is the start of life, foolishness the pathway to wisdom and we need to be meek to conquer the strong.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.’’
Another curious paradox is that when we accept ourselves just as we are, then we can change for the better.
Christianity, according to Steven James, isn’t about becoming better than anyone else, or about looking good to others, or getting your act together. No one’s act is together. That’s one of the core teachings.