Sunday, January 27, 2008

Seek, but do not Find

"In an age of "I'm OK, You're OK" spirituality, he added, "American spirituality has glorified 'searching' for spiritual meaning, but de-emphasized 'finding.' In other words, it is good to be looking for spirituality, but it is intolerant to actually believe you have found a right faith. ... Intolerance is defined to mean actually believing that your faith is the correct one."

Terry Mattingly quotes Ed Stetzer concerning the current status on religious tolerance in the USA. It's hip to be searching for faith, but uncool to find something definitive. You can read the whole article here

This insight rings true, especially as I continue to have dialogue with many different people who are searching, but not finding. Oh, they find something here and there, but it isn't anything definitive enough to say that the searching is over.

I find this true in my life. There are a few things that I think I have "found"; but there is enough that I am searching that I feel like I can idenitify with all those other searchers. But when I have conversations with those searchers, I am amazed at how unrooted the searching is, how biased the tolerance is for searching. Ironically, what they end up claiming to find is often popular half-truths or uncritical acceptace of biased slander.

For example, it is okay to believe that the Bible is "the good book." It is not okay to believe that it is God's good word to humanity on reality, truth, salvation, and love. It is okay to read the Bible for historical literature, but not okay to insist that God influenced the writing. I am running into more and more people who believe that Constantine basically put the Bible together; the implication that the Bible is man-made, a tool of the empire used to oppress while consolidating power. With a belief like that, no wonder it is easy to discredit church, sermons, preachers, and Christianity.

Of course an intolerant belief like that tends to reveal more about the one who expounds it than it does anything about the Bible, Jesus, or the Church.

P.S. Constantine did not create the Bible. The Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) were completed before the Fall of Jerusalem; the Gospels and Epistles were all in major circulation before the end of the 1st Century (100AD). Constantine didn't convene the Council of Nicea until 325AD, at which the issue of which books to include in the Bible was NOT part of the agenda. Why particular books were and were not included is another issue, which is simpler than conspiracy theorists like to insinuate.

No comments: