I knocked, but it couldn’t be heard above the music and laughter, so I opened the door and walked into my buddy’s home. People stood around talking. Some played video games and others ate. A few brave souls clung to a fire in the sub-zero weather in the back yard. I abandoned my coat to an overfilled rack and began my descent. I needed someone to talk to, but where would I start? I loved everyone I saw.
First, I looked for the birthday boy. He was twenty-seven, a state of being that I wouldn’t topple into for a few more months. I had to congratulate him on living this long and give him his mildly inappropriate card. Then, I’d say “hi” to the friends I didn’t go to church with and therefore hadn’t seen in a while. From there, I’d pick up the conversations I had started earlier this week with my closest friends.
I walked through the living room, dining room and kitchen looking for the center of the night’s festivities, but didn’t find him. My friend Abby popped up out of nowhere. She and I spent about fifteen minutes talking. She continued to go on when I saw my target pass over her shoulder. Being the nice guy I am, I let her finish speaking before I excused myself.
Continuing my search, I ran into Kent. I love Kent, he’s such a good guy- probably the most normal of any of my friends. He picked me up and tried to squeeze the breath from my lungs then proceeded to talk my ear off once he had set me back on my feet. I was genuinely excited to hear about school and his job, so I didn’t mind watching as our mutual friend, the birthday boy passed us. I knew I’d catch up with him eventually.
The night continued like this. Conversation after conversation. I held onto my friend’s card for so long that it was beginning to show signs of wear. Once, I even used it to pick my teeth after indulging in some spinach dip. Still, this was my friend’s house. Even if his guests left, he couldn’t. We would talk, and I’d hand him his card, even if I was the last person to leave this party.
★ ★ ★
I hunt for truth. I want the best, purest form of reality I can get my hands on. I look for it in God’s word, but let’s be honest, there are centuries of study, explanation and insight that I just don’t have, so I have to dig through volumes of books, listen to hours of exegesis, pray and meditate and still read God’s word on my own to find out what’s right.
Some people have a theologian that they love. They have that one significant thinker who has just the right amount of study and just enough revelation to explain everything in a totally coherent matter. I have yet to find that person. I don’t agree with anybody on everything. Calvin made some great points about the limited atonement (when explained correctly) but his notion of irresistible grace? The Bible has plenty of people who easily resisted. Liberation theology makes sense because we live in a disjointed, broken society where the church isn’t the center of any larger community, but it spends too much time on that. Process theology shares some of the same notions that regular protestant Christianity does- that is, until you get to the idea that God isn’t omnipotent. Their ideas get worse as they try to explain God on any level deeper than His existence. I could rip on Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians and those amazing non-denominational people too. Each brand offers their own accurate insights as well as their faults.
In my hunt for truth, I listen to one theologian then move to the next. I have my fellowship with them and move on, making judgments and decisions based on what appears to be verity and what feels like some old white dude grasping at straws. I won’t say that everybody is wrong but rather, nobody’s entirely right. Perhaps this sounds like pride or as though I’m working on my own brand of theology but I can promise you that my endeavor isn’t much more than a humble search for what God wants me to know.
I know that if I hang out in the house long enough,
I’ll find that elusive host and we’ll talk.
That is when I will find what I’ve been looking for.