nonsermon #4: my unbelief

My fourth nonsermon is a celebration of unbelief alongside beliefs. How do we honor and hold in tension that which we believe, that which we don’t, and that which we are caught between and beyond?


by Ben Lewellyn-Taylor

Although these nonsermons are decidedly against preaching, I am still drawn to a particular Gospel narrative that speaks to me even now. The story of Matthew 9 states that when a man asks Jesus to rid his son of a bad spirit, Jesus tells him that all things are possible for those who believe. The man replies, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

This nameless man, whose son is afflicted by a spirit, asks for help, and Jesus tells him to believe. The agonized father has the audacity to tell Jesus that he does believe, but he needs something tangible to believe in beyond words and statements of conviction. This is not a man who is lazy and unwilling to do the work of believing, but a man in distress: his son needs help, and he’s putting his efforts into believing but not seeing the part where…

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