Since the Christmas and new year period offers us the special opportunity to turn our attention to what is ultimately (beyond time and space) important and meaningful, I want to share with you a single spiritual insight. In our 21st century world many people experience high levels of confusion, ambivalence and doubt. For many of the older generation their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s today seem incredibly stable and secure. We might have had the Cold War and many other conflicts based on different perceptions of the truth, but at least we then felt we know the truth. In time, however, the big institutions, movements, ideologies, ‘brothers’ and revered authorities who taught us the truth, showed their widening cracks as one absolute, professed truth after the other was exposed as weak and at least questionable. Until, reluctantly for many, we had to admit that we probably see the world ‘as we are’, not as ‘it is’.

Where does it leave us in our faith? What do we have left if we can’t make claims as we were used to? Is the only choice between separatism and radicalism on the one hand, and nihilism and cynicism on the other? As a Christian, I found the following perspective (thanks to James Danaher) about Jesus’s ministry illuminating: Jesus called his disciples to follow him, not to study a dogma which would put them in possession of the truth. Claiming the truth is static, following the truth is dynamic. Following the truth allows for stumbling, doubt, disappointments and even agony. Following the truth, as one sees it, allows for freedom of choice and diversity of beliefs. Following the truth in acknowledgment that one does not possess it, highlights a journey of faith. Who needs faith if he already has full knowledge of the truth and never doubts? What ‘living in faith’ means for us now and in 2015, is perhaps what we should reflect on most during the festive season.

May you find enduring peace and fulfilment.

Author : Dr Gerhard van Rensburg