Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coming to Faith

It amazes me sometimes the way people come to develop faith in their lives. Case in point: my oldest brother.

He is staunch anti-religious, particularly anti-Christian. He shuddered and stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind him, when my mother and I got "In God We Trust" license plates. How could we ever subject ourselves to that kind of irrational thinking? he asked. He was utterly disappointed in us and had no qualms about saying so.

For Christmas every year, he gets me a book about a different religion. This year, it was a study version of the Baghavad Gita. I don't really mind - it's fun to study different belief systems, something that has always interested me. And I am a bit of a pluralist - I believe every belief system has something to offer the Christian, even if it is sometimes just a more firm implanting of Christian doctrine.

But yesterday, he walked in the front door with the aid of a cane. 27 years old, walking with a cane. His back has been bothering him for some time - several years, I believe - and he's found no relief in modern medicine. He's tried all the drugs, the exercises, the careful living...nothing has helped him. Reduced to a cane, he sought out alternative treatment. He went to the chiropractor.

This was a radical shift for him. It is a science he does not understand nor believe in. Even as he stood by the door (he has always preferred to stand) leaning on his cane, he ranted against the "pseudo-science" of chiropractics and called it the closest thing to faith he's ever experienced in his life. (This is not quite true; during his teenage years, he experimented with Christianity at the whim of a girl he was dating and decided it wasn't for him after they broke up.) was his first step toward faith.

Obviously, faith means something different for him than it does for me. For me, it is centered around God. For him, it is slightly different, still rooted in the belief in something he cannot understand, but nothing in particular. But it is interesting to see him on this journey, openly admitting his shifting feelings toward faith and its valuable role in life, even in his life.

Do I think he will ever get to the point where he goes to church and adopts my faith? No. I am not that naive. But any faith journey, any time when we come face-to-face with that which we cannot see, is admirable in my eyes. Maybe this is his first step; maybe it is his last step. Either way, he's committed to seeing the chiropractor, the "spiritual healer," as my brother called him, every other day until the pain subsides and he can live again.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me know about your blog. I'm glad you're writing!