8 thoughts on “Mother Teresa: Winter Christian”

  1. How little the writer of the Time article knows about real faith - not the shiny happy pap so often presented to the world, but the abundant life of both joy AND darkness (as Poser or Prophet so eloquently described on his blog post here: http://poserorprophet.livejournal.com/118246.html

  2. These are both good points... but if this is the case that the Time article doesn't understand the abundance of both darkness and light, perhaps its because church goers feel a need or pressure to show the "light" with an emphasis on appearing cheery and having the right answers. Teresa's life lived is one such model, where individuals looking from the outside saw this faith as being certain and filled with intimate communion. In these journals though we see that difference picture, where it will filled with BOTH love for others and search for God despite felt presence. Her life was one characterized by search without losing action.

    Pete Rollins has talked about faith needing to be characterized by a set of questions more than a set of answers. John Caputo in "On Religion" also notes that "religion is for lovers" and that lack of religion is for those who do not care about others, god, etc etc, but rather contain only love for self. Though Caputo's manifesto is intended for all religions, rather then just Christianity, his notion of "love" need not be separated from Rollin's notion of "questions" and perhaps in some way the two are intimately related.

    As for the issue of what is portrayed as faith, I think the "winter faith" view from the outside is good for people looking for certainty, and a vote of confidence in their belief system. The dark night of the soul, or winter Christian perspective, while not necessarily portraying certainty, gains its credence from relevance and speaking to people's questions. But if questions and love can be pulled together, it can often result in the beautiful action as seen by Mother Teresa's continued work despite her lack of summer faith. It was her continued engagement in a set of questions that kept her in Calcutta, loving others and devoting her life to a cause bigger (and often more silent) than herself.


  3. I'm not really sure what to take away from the Mother Teresa story. It's a remarkable testament to her commitment to Christ that she abandoned herself to others despite her intense struggles with doubt. The First Things article that I referenced draws a comparison between her since of feeling abandoned by God and Christ in Gethsemane. That's one of the most profound ways that Christ shared in our sufferings, and, in turn, perhaps that's one of the ways we must suffer as Christians.

    However, being a bit of a winter Christian myself, I draw some inspiration from knowing Mother Teresa wrestled with doubt, but I also can't help wondering why God wouldn't do more to "reveal" Himself to someone so dedicated to His purpose.

  4. What I hope happens due to the story is twofold. First, I hope it normalizes doubt. Second, I hope it helps Christians see how our religion is defined behaviorally rather than cognitively.

  5. I now respect her even more than before. I think this makes her more authentic and real and sets an example for the rest of us winter Christians.

  6. In reading the article I find a person who is totally committed to Christ and yet, like many of us, doesn't have the "feeling" of Christ in the midst of being Christ in the world. I take this story as a true testament of faith -- where one continues on in spite of the doubts and the struggles.

    Truly a Dark Night of the Soul that empowers (strangely enough).

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