Ambivalence as a Religious Virtue
(Influence by Chidi Okoye)
She argues that “ambivalence emerges much more as a virtue to be cultivated than as a vice to be avoided – that there is a vitalizing quality to its manifestations. It is a willed ambivalence, a sustained and cultivated ambivalence, an aware ambivalence. This is an ambivalence that requires women always to be vigilant, always to be critical of their communities’ inclination toward exclusion and distortion and at the same time to be open to new possibilities to hold up and reform or transform or dig up, from wherever they have been hiding, their traditions’ most liberating and healing insights.It is an ambivalence that demands wariness that does not lapse into cynicism, loyalty that does not succumb to docility or resignation, creativity that flourishes on the margins without losing sight of the center.”
This was beautiful and deeply exciting to me, since I have feelings of ambivalence towards the Church. Until recently, I often felt guilty and frightened by my hurt and anger at certain Church policies, feelings that coexist with my love for certain unique Mormon ideas. This new theory renewed my hope that there is indeed a nourishing, creative, and vital role that I, with all my ambivalence, can cultivate in my faith community.
Have you experienced this sort of religious ambivalence, and if so, has it ultimately been nourishing and creative?