Certitude, Mystery & Cancer Stuff

October 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm Leave a comment

A study that I am in covered this last week:

“Certitude – a certainty greater than circumstances warrant – and absolutism are an anxious response to the reality of pain. A voice of certitude is one that claims to control the means by which we might be safe and happy. In order to deliver safety and happiness, the voice of certitude must be in control of – or appear to be in control of – any situation that potentially impinges upon safety and happiness.

This language of control is one of categorizing, measuring, and analyzing. Mystery, precisely because it can’t be categorized, measured, or analyzed, cannot be controlled. Thus, mystery is a perceived threat to the voice of certitude’s pretense of delivering safefy and happiness.

In a world dominated by the voice of certitude there is no room for mystery, and therefore no room for the God of the Bible who remains, above all, a vibrant dynamic mystery.”

– Walter Brueggemann & Steve Frost, Psalmist’s Cry by House Studio


My first thought – I’m not sure this dude Walter ever had cancer. But, he’s got some good nuggets in here that have really challenged me.

I’m a gal of faith. I became “all about it” in Junior High, and it’s just been a big part of me ever since. But even with my strong faith, this kind of stuff challenges me. Do I want certitude – a mindset that I try to create that gives me peace that the future is pain (and disease)- free? Absolutely. But is that masking the pain and fear that I really feel about it all? Probably.

Walter here argues that certainty butts out God, who is all about mystery. So he’s saying embrace mystery and drop the desire to control and convince yourself of the whole “grass is greener” stuff…  because following a God of mystery is vibrant and dynamic. (Regardless of what happens.) Again – good points. And I’m not sure he’s had cancer.

But – ultimately, even if my friend Walter has had cancer, his points are true. Just hard to swallow sometimes. Honesly, sometimes I DON’T want my life to be vibrant and dynamic – I’m cool with the whole boring, stale (nothing bad’s happening) days. But I do realize that’s not what we’re made for, and that God offers us more. The key is trusting in that – and not trusting in whatever circumstance we think will or won’t be happening. Because having a God of mystery directing my days and my path will lead to the life that I know I was made for.

So Okay, Walter, I’ll hear you out. But I’m not going to say it’s easy.

And aren’t you proud of me? That might just be my most intelligent post yet…



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