So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Search that needn't be...

Over the last several years, I have noticed a trend in movies. Most likely because of our postmodern nature, we've been asking the same question over and over. I first heard it asked by Belle in Beauty and the Beast when she said "there's gotta be more than this provincial life...". The theme of "ultimate reality", or answer the question of "isn't there more to life?" has been all over the place in the media. Harry Potter wants us to imagine that the world that we know is really a cover for the true world that is ruled by the wizards and other magical creatures. The Blade movie franchise suggests that the world we know is a sugar coating on the underground, which is ruled by vampires. Underworld imagines that it's not only vampires that run the world, but also werewolves. Aliens Versus Predator and Mission to Mars were a popular adaptation of an actual theory that suggests that we are creations and pawns of aliens, for whom we only serve as playthings or science experiments. Of course, who can forget The Matrix franchise, which is much more intelligent attack on the nature of ultimate reality itself, postulating the unverifiable speculation that all reality is an intricate delusion produced by extraordinarily advanced artificial intelligences.

Without fail, these questions have been asked by people in the church as well. Everyone is looking for the 'final key' or the 'ultimate truth'. Everyone seems to be searching for the 'more' to this life, even in Christian circles where God almighty has already unveiled everything to us. I'm frustrated to death with the whole 'search for something new'...I mean, doesn't anyone get it? That's been the problem of Israel and the church since their beginnings!

Israel HAD the law. They KNEW God. Yet, they rejected him who lay before their eyes plain as day (Check out Deut. 30:11-20). They had 2000+ years of revealed truth and divine history and what did they do? They chased foreign Gods. They kept wanting to run back to Egypt...or Canaan...or Bablyon...or Persia. And that trend kept on in the church age. Essenes, Judaizers, Gnostics, Montanists and whoever else kept on searching for that final 'it'. Everyone was searching for something 'new' and 'deep' when even the apostles were walking around among them, let alone long after they had died.

That search for something 'new' has been the bane of God's people/family since the beginning. Why does it seem that so many are so proud to bear such a dark badge and reject the obvious that has been given to us?

Don't get me wrong. I've also asked that infamous question for many years. When I went through my 'searching' period of questions, I entertained all questions...including the 'what if Christianity is a load of crap?' question. I've been to a Hindu temple several times. I've participated in Sikh worship services. I've spent time with a Ba'hai guru. I've studied Buddhism. I've spent years talking to Latter Day Saints. I've hung out with Witches, Mages, Pagans, Satanists, Santerians and Luciferians. I've dialogued at length with Jehovah's Witnesses. I've befriended several Moslems and had extended dialogues. I've talked with Zoroastrians, Sufi's, Scientologists, Vikings, Hippies and everyone else I could find. Not to brag, but how many questioning 'searchers' have done that? How bad do you want the truth?

I've read most of the major works of Philosophy (including the 'post moderns' like Foucault and Derrida and Rorty). I've read hundreds upon hundreds of original works from a wide variety of liberal scholars (everything from gong shows like Shelby Spong to serious heavy weights like Gerhard Von Rad) and I've never backed down from a book challenge. Ever. I've spent years experimenting with the whole "what if I'm missing something in my theology" and I've extensively experimented with charismaticism, faith healing, liberal accademia, mysticism, postmodernism and every other 'alternate' theology I could find. I've gone out, sought and spoken in tongues (and now am part of the Shun-Da-La club, for those of you who know what that is...*sigh*). I've gone to somewhere around 40-50 faith healing services, in 5 provinces and 10 states. I've personally met and talked with John Bevere, Neil Anderson, Brad Jersak, Scott McKnight, Dennis Lamoreaux and several dozen others whose names are not so well known. I've debated with a whole room full of PhD's in an effort to punch holes in my understandings of Christianity. I've tried to get away from institutional religion and 'church' for years. I've been kicked out of a church for bringing non christian friends that were 'too disruptive' (the people who really need Jesus are sometimes are noisy). I've searched for something 'new' every bit as hard as anyone I have ever met, and almost every person I've met is all talk. Everyone sees the 'problems' (or think they do) and whines about all the problems with Christians and the church ("we should stop talking about church and start being the church"...blah blah blah), but I've met very few truth seekers who are aggressive...most of them are content with sitting around and complaining and living navel gazing lives. And guess what?

Over time, God brought a few things to light. First, I wasn't a Christian in the first place for many years. I was 'spiritual' and being 'spiritual' is useless. My 'spiritual heart' and was a smokescreen for pride, lust, greed and the like, simply covering it up in religious rhetoric. I learned that the gospel is simple and that the Bible isn't some crazy, insufficient, illogical, mysterious collection of contradicting stories (I learned just how true Proverbs 18:17 is, especially in an accademic setting where people are trying to tear apart the Bible). I learned that one cannot search for God while functioning as if one was God (Hebrews 11:6 and Proverbs 1:7 are where you start, not finish). I learned that the whole search for something 'new' is a search for nothing, because there isn't anything new. I learned that God has provided everything I need for life and godliness and the problem, every single time, lies with me not doing what I should, though I full well know what that is. The biting question of 'is there more to life' comes from my deceitful heart looking for other ways to avoid the conscience searing fact that I'm simply disobedient.

My quest for something 'new' led me not to the 'new' kind of Christianity that some emergent folks push, but the real old stuff. The apostolic faith...The simple stuff where the Bible is straight up, true, and authoritative and God is in control and way smarter than me. The stuff where there's room for faith and wonder because it's not a sin to not have a freaking clue what God's doing and yet still trust that he is doing something. Or, more accurately, Biblical Christianity (I don't call myself a young earth creationist, or Calvinist, nor a Puritan, or a fundamentalist, or whatever). Anyway, learn a lesson from history and stop searching for the pot of gold that isn't there. Number your days and gain a heart of wisdom, doing the tasks that the Lord has set before you. Read Mark 4:1-20 and pay close attention to verses 18-19. So love God, serve men and hate sin. I'm rambling here so I'm going to get house cleaning. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


Anonymous Cam said...

"Thanks for doing the house cleaning Lyndon."

Do it! Do it!

DO IT!!!

2:27 PM

Anonymous Coral said...

your honesty about your personal journey of faith is admirable and worthy of respect. the answer to every complaint I have is this: "love" relationship first with my Creator, and second with my "neighbor". It sounds short and sweet and "easy" but it is a lot more difficult to understand. I'm learning that there's always something "new" to learn everyday about God, and I cannot fully ever fathom even the word "love". So, I follow God in faith, without huge amounts of knowledge. If I make a mistake, I know His grace is sufficient. And above all, I believe that Jesus Christ paid it all once and for all and I am truly free. Thanks. And honestly, if I made a "mistake" in what I just said, I don't really care.

2:44 PM


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