troubled waters?

Sometimes I feel like we've stumbled into very troubled waters.

But who's to say that isn't just 100% interpretation and 0% reality? One could argue that for human beings, interpretation and perception are the building materials of our experience of reality, and how things are independently of them in the real world is irrelevant, anyway.

Today I'm thinking about Ed's comments on peace at last in which he said, I just read a couple of months ago a study analyzing the way that Democrats and Republicans read and retain political news, demonstrated that people believe and retain information positive to their side and negative to the other with an alarmingly greater frequency. Then he talked about the value of being skeptical of ourselves.

There was also Phyllis' post yesterday about the bumper sticker that said, "Don't Believe Everything You Think". She writes:
Theology is all about this question. How do we decide what we believe? What lens to we look through to figure out what's right? Which perceptions do we believe?

The modern mind has been fascinated with intellectual authority to solve this perceptual dilemma. Find some surity, some solid rock to build on.

The postmodern mind has turned intellectual authority on its head.

What do we have left? Our perceptions? How do we know we can trust our own gut?

This is the terrible choice we face about God. How do we trust? How do we have faith, when we have insisted on determining these things for ourselves?

Just one of the effects of the human condition - the "original sin."
On one hand, it seems like where our journey has led us is unique. For many of my kin, theology is not something that emerges over a lifetime; it is a set of beliefs one decides on around the time of his or her conversion (or the beliefs with which one was raised) that are defended over a lifetime. Most will die in the same denomination in which they were raised, with little or no exposure to any of the others.

Asking the questions we've been asking, making the theological shifts we've been making, are not common occurances in many of our communities. But just when I'm feeling like this is unique or somehow unheard of, I'm reminded of all the stories I've heard over the last months and years of people who've found themselves inside crumbling belief structures. The number of stories and similarities to my own experience then make me feel common, like I'm in the middle of something that is a movement.

I guess my concern arises from knowing that not all these stories have had "happy" endings. Many have walked away from their faith, some just walked away from the community of Christians. Some have been ostracized, abandoned and left without community. We don't yet know what kind of ending our journey will have, we don't even know the next stop. But I do know it violates all my expectations that were given to me about how the spiritual journey ought to go, and that leaves me concerned. However, we wouldn't be here if we still trusted all those automatic assumptions and expectations.

We could be in troubled waters, or we could be just where we're supposed to be at just the right time. Maybe it's like in The Matrix--if the assumptions on which you've been standing are a false foundation, then it's not a good place to keep standing, regardless of how it compares to the alternatives.