Friday, May 26, 2023

10,000 Maniacs & David Byrne, "Let the Mystery Be" -- a (sort of) theological reflection.

The clip above shows 10,000 Maniacs, with their then vocalist Natalie Merchant and a guest appearnce by David Byrne, doing "Let the Mystery Be", a song by singer and songwriter Iris DeMent. At first hearing, this may seem a paean to agnosticism. However, it made me remember a conversation some years ago with the Rev. Stephen Muncie, then Rector of Grace Church, Brooklyn Heights. I was expressing my doubts about some aspects of Judaeo-Christian doctrine because they did not comport with my understanding of physics and of cause-effect relationships. Steve's response was, "Mystery, not mastery." He also gave me a quotation from Anne Lamott that I treasure, and give below in its full context:
“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me -- that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk.”

Anne Lamott, Plan B -- Further Thoughts on Faith 

Addendum: Here's the original version of "Let the Mystery Be" by Iris DeMent, with accompanying musicians. 

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