Love Kept Demanding More

Topiary Park, April 18, 2013

Christian Wiman, in conversation with Krista Tippett, from "A Call to Doubt and Faith," On Being, May 23, 2013:

I think there's some kind of excess energy. We tend to think of love as closing out the world and we can only see the face of the beloved. You know, everything else goes quiet or goes numb. But actually what I experienced was that — and I've experienced it again with my children — is that the love demanded to be something else. It demanded to be expressed beyond the expression of the participants. You know, it kept demanding more.

That excess energy, I think, is God. And I think it's God in us trying to return to its source. I don't know how else to understand it. But if I think of myself as having returned to faith — and I do think of that, although I feel like I'm a desperately confused person. When people look to me for advice or direction on faith, I just feel sometimes like it's hilarious. You know, I think we have these experiences and they are people reacting against the word spiritual these days. But I don't know what other word to use at this point. They are spiritual experiences and then religion comes after that.

Religion is everything that we do with these moments of intense spirituality in our lives, whether it's whatever practice we have, whether it's going to church, whether it's how we integrate sacred text into our lives.

Being religious or taking on some sort of religious elements in your life, you're not necessarily saying I agree with everything that this religion says. What you are saying is that I've had these incredible experiences in my life of suffering or joy or both and they have demanded some action of me and demanded some continuity of me.

And the only way that I know to do this is to try to find some form in it and try to share it with other people.

Listen to the produced or unedited conversation...