"Every Single Thing in You Has to Bow Down"–A conversation with Christian Wiman

I’ve been reading a Czech theologian, Tomáš Halík. In one of his books, Patience with God, he takes that parable of the mustard seed, where Jesus says, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you can move mountains.” We always read that parable as saying that if you have a mustard seed of faith, just a tiny bit, it can grow into a large faith, something more substantial, something able to move mountains. Halík, though, argues against that interpretation. He says, no””what the parable means is that faith is only really living when it’s crushed, when it becomes this tiny, tiny thing and therefore hard and volatile and vital and powerful. And he makes this point as someone who feels a great solidarity with the kind of atheism that he witnesses all around him, especially in Eastern Europe, where he couldn’t even disclose the fact that he was a priest. He had to be a priest in secret. He says what is happening in the private lives of many people””their faith existing only under siege””is happening culturally too. And he says maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe what we are seeing, Halík suggests, is faith being crushed to the size of a mustard seed, where it’s a more powerful, stranger force. It’s a very moving idea, I think, and a brilliant reading of that passage.

Read it all.


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