A Gracious Place

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Encounter With Light III

One day later there came the second intellectual breakthrough: it was the rather chilling realisation that I could not go back. In my old easy-going theism, I had regarded Christianity as a sort of fairy tale; and I had neither accepted nor rejected Jesus, since I had never, in fact, encountered him. Now I had. The position was not, as I had been comfortably thinking all these months, merely a question of whether I was to accept the Messiah or not. It was a question of whether I was to accept Him-or reject. My God! There was a gap behind me, too. Perhaps the leap to acceptance was a horrifying gamble-but what of the leap to rejection? There might be no certainty that He was not. If I were to accept, I might and probably would face the thought through the years: ‘Perhaps, after all, it’s a lie; I’ve been had!’ But if I were to reject, I would certainly face the haunting, terrible thought: ‘Perhaps it’s true-and I have rejected my God!

Vanauken, A Severe Mercy, 98.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Encounter With Light II

Davy [Sheldon’s wife] and I, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone, were reading Dorothy Sayers’s tremendous series of short plays on the life of Jesus. In one of them, I was forcibly struck by the reply of a man to Jesus’s inquiry about his faith: ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.’ Wasn’t that just my position? Believing and not believing? A paradox, like that other paradox: one must have faith to believe but must believe in order to have faith. A paradox to unlock a paradox? I felt that it was.

Vanauken, A Severe Mercy, 98.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Encounter With Light I

Sheldon Vanauken continues his description of the process of his conversion:

Christianity-in a word, the divinity of Jesus-seemed probable to me. But there is a gap between the probable and proved. How was I to cross it? If I were to stake my whole life on the Risen Christ, I wanted proof. I wanted certainty. I wanted to see Him eat a bit of fish. I wanted letters of fire across the sky. I got none of these. And I continued to hang about on the edge of the gap.

Vanauken, A Severe Mercy, 98.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians-when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. But, through it is just to condemn some Christians for these things, perhaps, after all, it is not just, though very easy, to condemn Christianity itself for them. Indeed, there are impressive indications that the positive quality of joy is in Christianity-and possibly nowhere else. If that were certain, it would be proof of a very high order.

From A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, 85. This is a thought he recorded in a journal before his conversion. The quote is interesting to me for a variety of reasons. Lord help me to exude grace.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

12 Week Checkup

Yesterday we had an appointment at the doctor’s office. Everything is going very well. Diedra is 12 weeks along, and is feeling very much better as of Monday. We had an ultrasound, and it was awesome! We could see the baby’s head and body, even little arms and legs. Our doctor showed us the beating heart, and the spine. Incredible.

It’s a bit hard to process, I’m glad we have a few more months to watch, think, and pray. Life is changing forever-a change we’ve prayed for and we welcome, with a sense of fear mingled with doubt, joy, and hope. We’ll have another glimpse of our son (or daughter) in eight weeks, at which time we will learn the sex and decide what color to paint the nursery. Fun times! Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Go Irish!