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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, March 20, 2008
    Rock of Doubt #4: The strength to be a liar
    Your non-believing co-workers in the fields of philanthropy and politics do not despise you: but they do not envy you. Your Christianity, they feel, is something that you cannot help: like a club foot, or a lisp. It inhibits you: it may even give you a certain old-world charm. It is convenient for them, in that it inhibits you from the more bare-faced forms of rudeness and duplicity. They can make you blush, blackmail you by your Christianity. They may find you lovable, but laughable. Secretly, you rage against all this. You smile joyfully (for a Christian should be joyful), you are gentle and forgiving: but a raven gnaws your liver, and by night your doubts and detestations have a Roman holiday. You wake up feeling tetchy in the morning. You see your clerical collar hanging on a hook. 'How the hell did I get into this?' you ask. 'How the hell can I get out?' ... Perhaps you should be patient, show humility, wait for guidance; perhaps you need a holiday. Perhaps you should see a psychiatrist. Anyway, do nothing rash: you may square the circle yet. It may seem impossible: but with God nothing is impossible. Or is it? Can God give a man the strength to be a liar?
    - Sydney Carter, Rock of Doubt