Following Jesus in a secular or pluralistic context can feel a little bit like getting stuck in adolescence. The faithful can become paralyzed by self-awareness and often feel out of place. But according to author Ken Wytsma, this weirdness is actually quite normal. When a messy life collides with a mysterious God, should we expect anything less?

Wytsma is president of Kilns College, founder of The Justice Conference, and author of The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God, and the Necessity of Faith. In his new book, he argues that faith embraces the paradoxes in Scripture and the tensions of a life lived in faith.

RNS: You say that following Jesus is awkward and is supposed to be. Explain.

KW: The very nature of faith is tension filled. Walking by faith is foggy, unclear, and rarely comes with a sense of what the outcomes are. Just think of a time when you closed your eyes or were blindfolded, needed someone to steer you, and were groping with your arms for any wall or door jam that would tell you where you were. We don’t like tension so we look for ways to relieve it. Choosing faith, however, is choosing to stand in the tension and wait for God to be the resolution to the awkwardness we feel.

RNS: How are God’s ways “contradictory?” Doesn’t this create a hurdle for those who see faith as rational and logical?

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Written by Jonathan