Well, clearly it is a chimney! No need for a question mark. But is it a chimney? It has the semblance of a chimney, and a rather magnificent one at that. But it serves no purpose now; the lower part is crumbling and any fire that was lit would not be contained. So has its original purpose changed, and how would we descibe it now? Does it serve a purpose any more, or does its ruinous state preclude it from any purpose or discussion at all?!
So many questions, and all philosophical!!
There’s a story in Mark’s gospel of an encounter in the village of Bethsida, between Jesus and a blind man. The account has Jesus reaching out to him with his hands. Initially, when Jesus asks him whether he can see, he indicates that he can see people, but ‘they look like trees walking’. Jesus reached out again to touch his eyes, and he was cured. That phrase ‘seeing is believing’ comes to the forefront of my consciousness. But often things are not what they seem! We become wary, or uncertain.
Evdence does not always help. The chimney in the photograph gives us some inputs and clues, but no answers. We can say that it is not a chimney anymore, and that could be correct, but it still has some qualities of a chimney! This is where an ‘act of faith’ comes in. It cannot perform as a chimney should, but it has the semblance of chimney. A leap of faith, so to speak!
The blind man passed though two stages; the moment of faith and trust and the return of very hazy vision and then the openess to Jesus touching his eyes and the restoration of sight; the second stage.
Those ‘acts of faith’ that are part of our conscious life, connect us with a different way of seeing. The broken chimney is an encouragement to see differently, which is how I would define faith.