The Technical Pursuit of God (or 'why I like accidents')
Some people are technical. They read manuals and learn from text books. They hook up a home theater the right way the first time, because they looked at the diagram. They think through things, and make lists of pros and cons. They know procedures, the nine-steps to whatever, if you will. Some people do that. I dont. I hate manuals. I hook up first and ask questions later. I have noticed a trend. A dangerous one, I’m convinced. A trend of the technical and the spiritual again combining forces. It’s very dark-force-Star-Wars-ish. I say again on purpose. Again because the combination has reared its head in places and times before now, like the Pharisees during Jesus’ day. We suppose we have killed the beast, but he keeps popping up in previously uncharted water. I think equations are good for a lot of things. I use the percent equation often. You know the one x over a hundred cross multiplied by whatever fraction and you have a percentage. Thats very useful. Especially if you play sports, which I dont but fantasize often about, so the equation comes in handy trying to figure out what my stats could have been. “I could have shot 83 percent from the field tonight,” I might say. Or theres the occasional “My pass percentage completion of 96 percent makes Peyton Manning look like a” (Ill end it there for decencys sake). Of course these arent true. Its just nice to apply the percent equation to life. I dont think there are equations with our relationship with God. Oh, I mean we try to come up with them, dont we? A little sin + Jesus’ sacrifice + a repentant heart = forgiveness. Simple. Right? I have a problem with equations like that. Not so much because it takes something that is SO vastly significant and demotes it to a sequence of operations. And its not so much that it over simplifies things. My problem with equations and this technical pursuit of God is that it lacks beauty. Have you ever looked at the cover of a manual? I have. I dont read them often, but I’ve noticed the covers. They’re kind of boring. Normally, the cover isnt even in color. Its more of a: “Heres the necessary information, now you do your thing with it”. Since when has the pursuit of God had anything to do with information? The pursuit of God centers on beauty. And beauty is not found in an equation. Our little forgiveness equation doesnt show the deep enfolded texture of a heart that has broke to accept its futility and embraced the love that Christ showered down on the cross. You dont see his eyes in that equation do you? I think most of the really great strides in our pursuit of God happen on accident. Those moments where truth shoots up out of no where and somehow you see greatness that wasnt there. Those moments when you feel inspired to dance, and you know you cant dance, but you do it anyway and look like a total idiot who is apparently caged in by a distinct lack of talent but who is totally free on the inside. Those moments when a strangers eye becomes more than a strangers eye and you realize that for an instant you looked into the soul of someone else and you deeply cared about them. Those accidents. That beauty. Forever theorists have said that there is no equation for beauty. It is an irrational, internal judgment that defies rules and restraints. That sounds similar to something the bible calls faith. Faith is beautiful. Faith is beautiful because it doesnt make any sense. There are no equations for faith either. A guy named Kierkegaard wrote a long time ago about faith. He looked at the fact that it doesnt make sense, and that he couldnt come up with an equation for faith so he somewhat coined the leap of faith approach to life. The imagery of a leap of faith scares the poop out of me. I get the picture of jumping into a well. A bottomless well. A well that is filled with rocks. Its gonna hurt. Kierkegaard is considered a heretic. Mostly because smart Christian preachers want people to buy into the forgiveness equation, and not blindly jump. Kierkegaard is a heretic. Mostly because faith isnt about where youre jumping. Its who youre jumping to. The beauty of the redemption story compels me to live centrally inside the message of Jesus. In the end, its beauty, not equations that sustain that journey. So, wherever you are, the beauty of redemption is all around. Enjoy that beauty. Let it surprise you, and on accident, one day, you’ll notice that you are being compelled to something much greater than yourself. Something so beautiful, that it has consumed your life. In a way, its taken your life and offered you a new one. Which, really, is the most beautiful thing of all.