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Faith, Narnia and Translogical Thinking

“Love opened the door; hope kept it open; faith allowed me to walk through the door.”
“To believe in God is…to make believing more than making believe.”

These phrases, the first from Beloved’s Gift and the second, referenced in Unwrapping Beloved’s Gift, from Joseph Pintauro’s To Believe in God, echo the call I hear to faith, or perhaps better said, to faith-ing. It is not a new call. Most recently, though, I’ve heard it more loudly as I read two books: Patti Callahan’s Once Upon a Wardrobe and Michael Gillen’s Believing Is Seeing.

The yearning to believe, to hear my soul’s song as faith-fully as I once did in childhood, has been a constant on my journey. My path back to that song and the faith in which it is rooted has been paved by love, whose miraculous reappearance in my life I re-count in Unwrapping Beloved’s Gift, and by hope, whose shape undergirds Sustaining Heaven on Earth. Faith cannot be without the foundation of love and hope because it is from them that it forges its courage. Yet, neither is it complete with only that foundation.

Reading Once Upon a Wardrobe triggered a perfect metaphor for the reclamation of childhood’s faith, which too often stops flowing (i.e., gets frozen) as we reach adulthood. The children in the first Narnia book find themselves in a very large house with many rooms. We too have many inner rooms. Imagine that somewhere, in the very back, behind a wardrobe, lies the faith-informed world we knew in childhood before adult stories and adult realities told us it was only make-believe. Can you believe that it is still there, only frozen in time? I like the thought of “thawing Narnia” as a metaphor for reclaiming the faith-ing that came so easily in childhood when we trusted without question the truth of miracles and wonders whether it came clothed in the guise of Santa Claus or a historical birth in a stable.

It’s not that we forget Narnia; most of us never do. When we fall in love, when a hope is fulfilled against all expectations, when for no apparent reason we are filled with joy…at all these times, there is Narnia, all traces of ice gone. Yet, most often, like a Zoom call gone awry, it freezes over as realities like sorrow, pain, frustration, despair and misfortune begin to seem so much more real.

As I reflected on this metaphor, Believing Is Seeing popped up on my iPad. Faith is not contrary to logic, Guillen asserts, it is translogical, meant to take us through the wardrobe door, so to speak, where logic cannot and is not meant to go. Translogical thinking breaks open logic’s either-or contradictions that freeze our faith: logical and illogical, heaven and earth, possible and impossible, believing and making believe. In doing so it allows us to perceive both the seen and unseen dimensions of the universe in faith-full ways consonant with both the wonder known so well in childhood and the questions and struggles so familiar in adulthood.

And there lies faith’s path through Narnia’s wardrobe: the translogical language of the heart we intuited so well as children. To invert a biblical verse: Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also (Matthew 6:21).

I will leave you with these much-abbreviated thoughts for now. I’d love to know your thoughts about faith and translogical thinking. You may comment directly on this page or, if you wish to comment more privately and have taken one of my courses, feel free to email me.

Until next time…


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