Functional Atheism

My stress-relax cycle over our upcoming Holiday Club is reminding of something: the fact that I am a functional atheist. Now, you may ask, what sort of thing is that for a good Christian boy to say? Bear with me.

I cam across the term in a pamphlet by a guy called Parker Palmer, entitled “Leading From Within”, that I was exposed to in one of my last classes at college. I’m not completely with everything he says, but some of what Palmer refers to as the ‘shadow’ within leaders does ring true with me. Particularly his notion of functional atheism.

He defines it as “the unexamined conviction within us that if anything decent is going to happen here, I am the one who needs to make it happen.” We all know how it goes - there’s something needs done, and you know that you need to do it. The club, or the event, or the mailing, or the committee, or the publicity, or the service, or the… is completely and utterly reliant on you. And you must knock your pan in to make it happen and happen right.

And even those of us who expend great energy and breath expressing how God is bigger, and God is more, God is mighty and powerful and faithful, etc, tend to all-too-easily slip into the mindset of “we must make this happen.”

What does that say about our belief in God’s big-ness/more-ness/mighty-ness/powerful-ness/faithful-ness?

Yeah, you see where I’m going.