A Dawn of Paradoxes

Edinburgh Castle at Dawn

This morning I put Laura in a cab and walked away, down the predawn Princes Street in Edinburgh watching the sun cast its early light on the castle, and later down the still-sleepy streets of Town listening as the bells rang out over it. My head was filled with the first forty pages of Children of God, the sequel to The Sparrow that I had delayed reading out of cowardice. Something I could not have hoped for has happened, and yet it fills me with dread, apprehension. This is love—this is faith, I think as I dare to read on: to encounter the impossible and tremble at its terrible beauty.

I never wrote a review of The Sparrow, as I said I would. It is too personal. As I take this journey into the dark, back to Rakhat, I leave you with what I wrote in my journal while reading The Sparrow:

Who am I? That my plain, human heart would faint to love God, to commune with the Divine? I, who am both agnostic and mystic, believer and skeptic, lover and beloved? God is as constant as my changeable heart; God is faithful, alleluia, amen.

Last night, a Catholic-leaning Protestant said to a Protestant-leaning Catholic, both drawn to Judaism: “I see no reason why we cannot celebrate both Catholic tradition and Jewish tradition.” Her response was, “Now that is ecumenical reform.”

3 thoughts on “A Dawn of Paradoxes

  1. Lola says:

    Ooh. Very well put. This post gave me chills 🙂

    I kept thinking about this a bit on the plane back. Jews and Christians are bonded by an incessant, hopeful waiting. This is probably the kind of thing that could get me excommunicated, but I began to wonder: what if we really believe in the same thing? What if what we’re waiting for is really one in the same? We believe in the redeeming power of love. We believe that we are in need of redemption. And no matter our label, our faith is so strong that we keep waiting, despite the fact that for generations and generations our ancestors have waited in vain.

    Dr. B-C had a painting in her office that said “Am I a bad Jew if I don’t believe in God?” That always made me think. And earlier today I wondered: Am I a bad Jew if I believe in Jesus as my savior?


  2. Joel says:

    So, knowing my thoughts on ‘The Sparrow’, would you recommend ‘Children of God’ to me? I think I would like to go back and reread ‘The Sparrow.’ I have a feeling I would appreciate it a lot more. I am rather curious about the sequel…


  3. Chera says:

    Laura: We are waiting for the final redemption of things, the Last Judgement/Second Coming, so that anticipation we do have in common. But it is, as we said the other night, that we believe the Messiah has already come, so we’re waiting for his return. But do you think that because so many centuries have passed without His return we have lost the art of waiting, which we can relearn from our cousins?

    Joel: I don’t remember your specific complaints about “The Sparrow”, but I think you may have gone into it with the wrong expectations, as the result of my mistake of saying it was a favorite book like LOTR. I hadn’t intended to imply that “The Sparrow” was epic or concerned with the same subject(s). I would recommend a reread even if you don’t read its sequel. I haven’t finished “Children,” yet, and I’m reserving judgement until I have. It’s different, yet similar, that’s all I can say…


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