I Believe in Mystery

Originally written for the Saint Hilary’s Episcopal Church – Prospect Heights, IL Newsletter – 2008

I believe in the power of paradox. All the worlds enduring religions have at their core a mystery. This essential mystery is powered by a paradox; something that cannot logically be true, yet must be believed by its members. Whether the belief inspires faith or the faith inspires belief, this tension is a source of energy sustaining a religion as it is transmitted to new believers through time. In the Christian tradition one of our essential mysteries is the nature of God, God in three persons or aspects, distinct yet indivisible, a logical paradox; a mystery.

I am an engineer by training, and have for the past sixteen years worked to maintain computer systems which are consistently and constantly available. In effect, I try to eliminate all the mysteries involved in the configuration of networked computer systems, resolving all the paradoxical, contradictory elements in their configurations so as to make them more reliable. In my work, I am constantly checking and rechecking, looking for paradoxes. These paradoxes act as signposts, showing me what I need to change to make that particular computer or group of computers work better.

I love legends, stories of gods and goddesses, hidden worlds, hero’s and forest spirits like the Green Man, those ideas in our collective myths that contain that paradoxical element of mystery. In this love, I am myself a paradox. I love the paradoxical, but I make my living eliminating paradox and making plain that which is contradictory, and in my art the mystery lives.

My Green Man – Batik – 2006


I am a face in the trees,
Amid the thickest leaves,
I am here and there,
I live everywhere,
I am of myth and lore,
You’ve ne’er seen me before,
But I watch you, see?
Oh, you can’t find me!

Jon Breckon