Discerning God:
A Question of Reason or Feeling?

Not long ago, in our Anglican Studies Classwe we are watching and discussing an education series on the History of Christian Theology.

It's all quite interesting and oftentimes a little too much information!

As we learn the intricacies of theological development, the rise of Protestantism, and begin to look toward the "Modern Church," I find that the academic approach to Faith and the practice of Faith is very much like turning out the light and expecting to be able to see clearly in the dark.

True, there must be academic study of theology, even various disciplines of study such as Dogmatic Theology and Moral Theology, or Liturgics.

But, what is the bottom line?

How are we individual Christians affected?

What does all of this theology stuff mean to us?

How do we individually know that we are on the right track?

Well, there are libraries and libraries with thousands of books trying to answer these questions.

They're not easy questions to answer; yet, at the same time, they can be answered simplistically:

If we can see God as omnipotent, omniscient, and all-loving;

If we can understand and accept that God can not be defined or understood by human reasoning;

If we accept that God's Nature is revealed to us through Holy Scripture without expecting us to fully understand it;

And, if we can accept, without question, that God is Three in One, three Persons who are inseparable yet distinct;

Then, we are on our way to the answers we are seeking.

First, there is the matter of acceptance, just accepting God, his very existence, and accepting that he has created everything, us included; accepting that he is spirit, un-seeable, untouchable, yet within and through all of his creation.

This is a discernment of reason.

Second, we feel within ourselves a presence, a force: a compelling feeling welling up within us.

Let it grow; nurture it through prayer and meditation. Don't expect it to be of necessity a small voice.

For some, it may be obvious and even dramatic.

In time, this feeling will come together with the discernment of reason, merging heart and mind into a state of Faith and Belief.

God will be in us and through us, guiding us and strengthening us.

We will know that it is He because of the love that flows from Him into us and we will be drawn to Him in response.

As Anglicans, in the practice of our Faith, we come to God's Table to be fed and nourished with a spiritual food; we are incorporated into His Body, the Church, where in baptism we become his adopted sons and daughters; and it is in this offering up and giving of ourselves, our hearts and minds, that we find the answers to all our questions.