Thursday, August 16, 2007

Turning on the Light

It’s dark in the kitchen and your stomach growls. Feeling the wall, then an appliance, than the countertop, like a blind person you search for food. You touch something crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. You lift the morsel to press your tongue and teeth into the bread.

Would it matter to you that the bread is moldy? Would it matter that bugs are crawling on it? Would it matter that it wasn’t bread at all (as you perceived with your hands) but rather a ratty sponge, crisp around the edges?

Would you prefer a light switch nearby to get a good look at what you're holdnig in the dark?

Today, in the world of spirituality, people often prefer mystery to knowledge. It leaves people in the dark to heighten the anticipation of new light. It is more appealing in ways to some, even safer. It cannot be scrutinized because there isn’t much to examine. It promises that just around the corner everything will suddenly explode into what they’ve always wanted—peace, money, love, happiness.

But why do we take this approach with spiritual experiences that we would not assume with any other experiences? In searching for food, we prefer to see it in the light.

In contrast to many religions and secrets of “The Secret,” Jesus isn’t bound to mystery. He is bound to knowledge. He doesn’t hide in blindness, but encourages sight. He doesn’t wow us with obscurity, but makes things clear. He doesn’t play hard to get, but makes himself available to all. If Jesus isn’t rooted in actual history and knowledge, if he isn’t found to enter into everyday human experience, no amount of spiritualizing will help.

If we will turn on the light to inspect our physical food, what keeps us from flipping on the light to inspect our spiritual food?


Andrew said...

Good point, and I'm glad Jesus isn't surrounded my mystery. I was listening to Ravi earlier today and he talked about that one reasons New Age thought is so popular right now is that the mystery gives us the option of being spiritual while still having the freedom to do what we want and be ourselves. Maybe if Jesus was mysterious some would "like" Him more....


Dale Fincher said...

How come it says "Andrew" said but then signed "Philip" ?

I think Ravi's right and I also think people often misplace mystery. The Christian view is certainly filled with it, and even Paul talks of mysteries being revealed in time (and revealed openly).

The dangerous tendency of many evangelicals is an uneasiness of not 'knowing' things and so assign names to things without knowing the true nature of things. Acting like you know more than you do is just as obnoxious as insisting that you must know less for something to be meaingful.

Andrew said...

Andrew is my middle name. I had an interesting event with my brother the other day. I would like to talk to you sometime about it. He has a very Neitzsche-type view of Christianity, and I'm hoping to sit down with him later to understand him more, but he raised some questions that I need help searching for the answers. You know how to get me.