Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Fickleness of Life and Theological Reflection

Have you ever noticed life’s got a sort of fickleness about it? Have you ever wondered why or what’s the source of this fickleness? It’s like one day we’re popular and the flavour of the month (or day) and then only days or a week later there’s a drifting that somehow occurs: we feel all alone—for a time. Be that an hour, a day... longer even.

Recently I had one of those alone-times when not only did the world appear indifferently silent to me, I felt a particular very indiscernible discord in some of my key relationships. Sure, when push comes to shove the love’s there but the rapport goes missing, even for a day.

One thing I’m really grateful for from my days doing theological studies is the learning of theological reflection (TR). This is about picking a point in life and taking a holistic view toward it in order, perhaps, to see God’s viewpoint on the matter.

I use a particular technique which is quite simple (there are more involved ways of doing TR).[1] My method is the ‘head, heart, holy’ style of gaining Spiritual insight into the matters that trouble or vex me.


My logical mind tells me that it’s not so much that people are fickle, but it is me that wavers. (I get a hint from my heart.) Sure, my head also tells me people waver too, but they don’t do it personally or spitefully; they can’t be thinking of me all the time!


My heart is forlorn at times when things are quiet, (yet at times we need quiet to come back to a “centre” or our central purpose) and it’s at these times the head informs the heart to seek God even more. Once I make that journey things become better... infinitely better. Loneliness with God is a sacred and lovely place to be I’ve learned. It’s possibly more preferable than having all the approval in the world. (People would argue this point with me both ways, I’m sure.)

Our emotional and spiritual hearts are funny things; we take things so personally at times—even within ourselves; that which the outward world would never know about. Lieutenant Fear is the soldier behind this. Get to him and we get to the heart of the matter to the mollifying of our troubles.


This is where, once we’ve properly done the preparation work (head and heart), we might get an insight from the viewpoint of God’s insight; that is if we’re genuinely seeking his input.

God’s view on the fickleness of people and the world could be we can only trust his faithfulness completely. Human beings (including me) will be unfaithful from time to time.

Also, humans cannot think universally like the heart of God can. Fickleness will appear fickle to us human beings because we’ve got so much imperfection to gaze upon. From God’s holy viewpoint, this fickleness is probably not fickleness at all—it’s possibly simply balance.

He doesn’t want us to become overly reliant on human beings; he wants us to become reliant on him, and on his Spirit—to revive, challenge and encourage us. God’s the source, not other people.


We get what we pay for in life. If we place ourselves in a fickle world, we’ll feel fickle from time to time. (And we’re “placed” in a fickle world whether we like it or not.) We must grow to accept that life is fickle, it is unfair, but only when it’s devoid of God and the perspectives only God can bring.

The best answer to the perception that the world is fickle is to go on beyond it anyhow.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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