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Sitting Outside in the Dark March 1, 2008

Posted by Kevin in Annie Dillard, Darkness, Habits, Knowing God, Teaching a Stone to Talk.

The following quote from Annie Dillard’s book, Teaching a Stone to Talk, struck a chord within me this week. She says,

Experience has taught the [human] race that if knowledge of God is the end, then these habits of life are not the means but the condition in which the means operates. You do not have to do these things; not at all. God does not, I regret to report, give a hoot. You do not have to do these things — unless you want to know God. They work on you, not on Him.

You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.

Alas, that is how we view Holiness sometimes. We view it as a series of habits or do-s and don’t-s. We think of it in terms of the things we do, or at least should do, that will make us Christlike.

We think God wants us to go to church. — God wants us to be in His presence.

We think God wants us to sing hymns vs. contemporary music. — God wants us to worship Him.

We think God wants us to do good works. — God want us to love one another as Christ loved us.

We think God wants us to give 10% of everything we earn. — God wants us to give it all to Him and allow Him to use it to build His Kingdom.

We think Gods wants us to DO a bunch of stuff. — God wants us to know Him intimately. And that may mean sitting in the dark sometimes.