What My Church Never Told Me

Walking to the edge of our theology, the farthest reach of what we understand of God, is like getting waist deep in the ocean that goes on as far as the eye can see.

I was raised in a church culture that did not value mystery. In it, the most important thing about life was being right: being right about theology, and then being right about how to live that out. Even the reason God let people into heaven was because ultimately they were right about Jesus (not that I disagree with this, of course). I was told what was true from the Word of God, and like a school curriculum, precept upon precept, it was all handed down to me. It was an environment in which I thrived as well. I went to school, made excellent grades, came home and played my video games, slept, and then repeated. I was a great kid, knowing the right answers and great at not sinning. I also largely stayed inside. It was all very predictable.

No shadows, no questions, no gray areas. A clean system… too clean.

I’ll be somewhat blunt. I don’t think we can understand God any better than our cell phones can understand us.

Romans 11:33

How unsearchable his judgments,

and his paths beyond tracing out!

My mobile phone may know my preferences, tastes, the words I type, and even the sound of my particular voice, but there’s no way it can understand the depths of my relationship with my sister as we converse oceans away or even what’s going through my mind when I’m writing a song. An embellished sequence of 0s and 1s such as a smartphone can’t possibly understand nuanced topics of conversation on a date or the mixing of the smells of cardamom, clove, turmeric, and cilantro as I cook chicken kadai in my kitchen. How limited the processors of our minds!

Then everything changed when I got into college… (I’ll continue the story next week!)

3 Replies to “What My Church Never Told Me”

  1. You seem to know something on the subject so will you please tell me what a god is? Bare with me here and be descriptive enough that a ten year old would understand. Please direct your response to the question. It does seem like a simple request but you’d be surprised at how people tend to jump all around it. Thanks.

    1. I would have to say a God is a beauty, order, and intentionality in the reality that supersedes this one. Within him exists things like personality, narrative, and will, though many times we can only see this a subtly is the wind blowing in the trees. I can’t push this sentiment anyone however, nor do I try to. It’s inherently relational.

      You can’t fit him in a beaker, and yet we take for granted the consistent and elegant laws that define the physical being of the beaker…

      Although I don’t agree with quite everything she says, I really like the way Mayim Bialik provides her perspective in this video: https://www.facebook.com/MissMayim/videos/10158505486470008/


  2. […] unto us…” Yes, of course, God is worthy of respect, but your lofty words don’t impress him. It’s sincere relationship that He is after. Prayer is relationship; it is simple communication, just as between parent and child, husband and […]

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