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.
What a wonderful search! What a wonderful bunch of Theologians! Thank you for sharing. Keep on searching! God bless you!
Thanks Mari-Anna! I didn't even hit the tip of the iceberg on any theology, just quick references 🙂
Holy crap, Jake. I think you're one of the most intelligent people I know. This was excellent. How'd you get so smart?
Seek and knock…
I'm borderline beating a door down here….. just kidding. But you're entirely right. We just have to ask questions.
For some reason, I felt very relaxed reading this post (even though parties make me anxious unless they're close friends in attendance). No one person can have the complete picture because we are all part of the body, prophesying in part and knowing in part. We can trust the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth. He never fails. Thanks Jake. Great post.
Jason, you're right. Nobody will ever get there. Part of me is almost glad, because I like the challenge of continually trying. And I'm glad I helped you feel relaxed, because I certainly wasn't when I was writing it, but that just goes to show how we can ignore our emotions, or at least prevent them from influencing writing!
Searching and yet your host passed you by as a shadow. Perhaps you yourself are being perused by the Holy Spirit of Grace and he is always ready to listen. Not every thing that we think we believe is profound. The simple truth is that Jesus Loves you and wants to fold you in His arms. Yes, he continues to search for you until you allow yourself to be found.
Hazel, I love that He pursues me. The great thing about Holy Spirit is not only does He speak, share, tell, but he also attracts. He makes me want to pursue and better understand who He is. It's pretty much amazing.
I agree with your "…nobody's entirely right." That's right. Some are closer to the truth/Truth than others. Some are too willing to do whatever is needed to avoid differences or cause upsets. We need to be open to the Lord's direction. Ain't much else that counts, or ever will.
Good presentation to us.
You're right. Some people are closer than the others, and frankly, there are things that nobody can fudge on, too. Jesus being the Son of God for instance, pretty dang important. His divinity, the necessity for a savior, we can't jack those up but we certainly get lost in the details! And I don't mind upsetting people who are wrong. Love has to be the biggest factor and I feel that it has to be something that will help them, but hurting feelings isn't bad!
I suspect that our ages are considerably different, but I can say this: I haven't found that one theologian, either. I'm finally old enough to realize that I won't. Instead, I find people along the way who point here and there, and help tremendously at times, but I still find my way back to those pages where I have to read and struggle myself.
We often think of fellowship as a house party; it can also be hunger and suffering, too.
Good post, Jake.
Glynn, I loved what you wrote about fellowship on your blog. It is so much more than a house party! Could you imagine a party full of theologians anyway? It'd either be boring as the deuces, OR absolutely nuts with people yelling at each other, explaining why others are wrong, throwing stones at heretics. I may have to write about that…….
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