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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Napier

Why am I still here

Spending time in theological contexts has been a feature of my life over the last five or so years: the most recent phase in my spiritual seekings, a response to a rolling and at times almost devastating confrontation between faith and religion. I still don’t have ‘the answers’, but I have arrived at the odd, but seemingly secure and freeing conviction that there are none. There can be no single set of answers to the who what were when why and how questions of God. If there were, the questions wouldn’t be worth answering.

I am awed at the persistence of so many who have been excluded or marginalised or devalued by religious authority in finding, feeling, reading, insisting on the availability to them of the Truth that is revealed in the pages of the Bible.

I am grateful for the loosening of the fist of Rightness - of ‘this or damnation’ that diverse theologies have begun and are obliging, for the light that streams through the parting fingers.

There are breakings that will happen – that should happen – in this process of loosening. I am frequently reminded that Church attendance is dwindling inexorably, and when so reminded I wonder whether I’m being invited, encouraged even, to pack it in, to stop clinging to the wreckage of a structure which is obviously doomed. But the moments of surprise, the moments when my tears bring me to the truth of my inexplicable faith in the Truth of unconditional Love are enough

The containers that we humans build to hold the Truth are, well, human. Insufficient, confining, limiting and ultimately corrupting. I hesitate over that last word, I even look it up – its etymology (I’m a great fan of etymology). Latin, unsurprisingly, and words like ‘mar, bribe, destroy, spoiling, seducing’ come up. Yes. All of this.

And yet not only this, for, often in spite of the container, the Truth endures, the Love lives, faith is sustained. The shape of the container has its value, its gold beneath the dross, but it cannot contain what cannot be understood. I cleave to the gold of the church because on this side of eternity it is for me the signifier of Truth.

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