Sunday 19 February 2012

Chaos and Christianity

In one of Salt’s previous lives he was a youth worker at a church. Salt wasn’t raised in the church he turned to it at a time when the ground was quietly falling beneath his feet. He studied theology and with his enquiring, analytical mind he sought to explore the gaps explained with answers of faith and asked questions in those places that are deliberately and blindingly set aside. The bravery of Salt was to acknowledge his internal discomfort, to make that discomfort public and admit to an informed faithlessness. As his honesty reverberated through his church, some of his friends were unable to support him. Some, of course, were able to stay with him and we count many ministers and Christians as our dear friends.

As kids my brothers and I went to church on Christmas mornings. The minister who took the service lived on the farm next to ours. I always tried very hard to listen to the sermon, but I never lasted more than a few sentences. I was usually preoccupied with watching the people around me who I hadn’t seen for a year, and because the minister was our neighbour I figured we were all a bit closer to God than everyone else. One afternoon the minister appeared in his running gear at the farm’s front door – short shorts, sleeveless top, cap on. My grandmother didn’t recognise him, and notoriously said, “Oh, of course minister, I didn’t recognise you without your clothes on.” She was mortified.

On the drives home from Sydney following by brother’s death I’d have mock conversations in my head with a couple of Salt’s Christian friends. I feared they might try to explain my brother’s death in a godly way – it was God’s will – there is a higher plan. I have numerous angry one liners prepared for that pitiful reasoning. I’ve never had to use them. In marriage, birth and death we were prayed for, and I’ve read sentences in cards that I’ve cherished and felt nourished by. I don’t mind being prayed for if it helps to make sense of the chaos and eases the dissonance.

Finding Salt was like finding a rare gem. I wanted to throw my arms in the air with celebratory yells and halleluiahs, like a man who has struck gold, or witnessed a miracle. Salt’s rarity lies in his du-occupancy of holding values and goodness akin to those praised by the church without the dogma. We didn’t go to church on Christmas morning last year, but we did go to Christmas carols. Squid was meant to be sleeping, but her smiles and eyes lit up at the sight of the candles and the sound of the voices. I believe in chaos and I sometimes pretend that I also believe in magic.


  1. Really interesting post. Love your grandmother's work! Your Salt (of the Earth?) sounds like an amazing soul. And.... I believe in both chaos and magic ;-)

    1. Thanks so much for commenting Kirrily...and now I've found you and your blog. Cheers to chaos and magic.x