In his new book Living by Faith, Dwelling in Doubt, from Loyola Press, Kyle Cupp presents many of the counter-cultural truths of a Catholic spirituality, making a case through his lived experience for a way of seeing – and believing – that doesn’t play by the world’s rules.
While Christian bookstores seem to be filled with feel-good, prosperity-Gospel, God-will-give-you-answers books, Kyle’s slim volume gives us something much different, and we should be grateful for this.
Faith is a mystery, but this book reminds us that it’s a mystery that’s worth talking about, a mystery that should be plumbed even if our search for definitive answers will be futile.
A few of my favorite themes:
Faith and certainty are not the same thing, and truth is not the same as fact. I have yet to be able to convince some of my more rationalist friends of these beliefs. Now I don’t have to. I can just give them this book.
Human beings matter – and that includes each one of us. Much of the narrative recounts the tragedy of losing an infant daughter, and the reverence which with Kyle and his wife held her life, even though it would never meet the expectations that most parents have for their children. I got shivers when reading about Kyle performing an emergency baptism, being struck not just by the significance of the sacrament but by the importance in this situation of a parent mediating this act of God’s grace.
Faith is a choice, not a feeling. “Religious faith is my response to a God who reveals through ambiguous signs and wonders. Religious faith is not the same as being certain that I have heard and understood that revelation.” We hear this same explanation often applied to love, and Kyle uses the metaphor of married love as well.
What is broken is not necessarily inferior to that which is whole, and we renew that which is broken through patterns of meaning-making.
The best I can do now is not allow all of my life’s fragments to remain fragments. I have to see them anew as meaningful wholes, as doors to distinct worlds, places where I may seek to learn and love and be loved. I have to bring them together and allow myself to be transformed by them and made more whole. “