Leases, Language, and Christianity

This week I had the most dreadful pleasure of finding, securing, and moving into a new place of residence.

I sat down with my soon-to-be-housemate and read through the terms and conditions of the lease that we were about to sign with our blood. As I read the nonstop hereto’s, hereunder’s, hereon’s, and herein’s I began to be overwhelmed by the language of the text.

I knew I was reading English, but it was the language of law and liability which was so cutting and precise that it left its reader thinking “thank God Greek class wasn’t this horrifying!”

Then we sat and talked about it with our priest friend, signed it, and handed it over to the owners. Talking with the people who wrote the lease brought me ease. I was able to engage with them, and the aforementioned document slowly became less and less intimidating as our conversation continued.

In truth, I feel as though much of life’s greatest challenges are like that blasted lease I had to read. You know each word presented before you, but somehow it still confounds you and the placement of it feels all wrong. It feels overwhelming like a trap.

Christianity is most definitely that way.

Christianity is very off-putting. The language of the faith, the Gospel, feels familiar and yet foreign. Like greeting a cousin you haven’t seen in 15 years. You know you’re related but you can’t quite wrap your mind around the person and your connection to them.

Christianity is the true religion of mercy and grace. Others might teach both concepts, but in their application, you find that they use the wrong words. Islam says that Allah is “most merciful” because he has to be by definition, but it is arguable that, within Islam, mercy can be defined as “not as harsh as one could be” rather than what a Christian would define as true mercy-and true mercy is counter to the human default response pattern.

I feel the distance and dissonance within my own soul as I continue to traverse the path of faith and Christian living. The more I know about God…well, the less I know.

Knowing the Divine Author draws out the truth of love and mercy that is within life which, at first glance, seems harsh and overbearing, just like when I met with the writers of the lease.

This season of my life right now has been very much like that way, and it’s only in hindsight and growing closer to God that I find understanding and am able to begin putting pieces together.


2 thoughts

  1. What a beautiful blog, Stephen! I so appreciate your insight, talent and spiritual connection to life here on earth! You are inspiration and such a blessing…can’t wait to sit at the kitchen table together in November, you will always be family!

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