Friday, April 18, 2008

Glorious Disarray

I face my demons, wrestling these angels to the ground
And all that I could find was a thin line between all the saints
And villains - it was crossed
In my own mind

Some day I'm gonna find it, wish I knew what I was looking for
Inside the disarray
I woke up this morning, don't know where I'm going
But it's alright
I wouldn't have it any other way

-Lifehouse, Disarray

Making a statement like the above is a risky thing to do in some Christian circles. Jesus is the Answer, after all, so once you've found him you should have it all figured out. Sooner or later we have to adapt to the fact that, however valuable a companion Jesus may be on our life journey, "finding" him doesn't give us the answers to all of life's questions or wipe away all (or even most) of our issues.

In some churches that means pasting on a happy smile and pretending that everything is hunky dory while the pastor gives yet another "evangelistic" sermon about how perfect the Christian life is. In others it might mean paying lip service to life's challenges while treating the Bible as an "answer book" with surefire step-by-step formulas for whatever ails you.

Even in many churches that rise above such thinking, the focus remains on the end of the journey. We get so caught up in anticipation of heaven (and/or Jesus' imminent return) that we fail to see this life as much more than a speed bump along our way there. The beauty that exists all around us gets scant notice, since it's just part of a fallen world that God's going to wad up and throw away any day now.

This life may be far from perfect - and even downright miserable at times - but there are wonders to be discovered, sometimes in the most unexpected places. There is joy to be found in the midst of uncertainty, but it's easy to miss if we become too focused on "arriving."

Chaos is woven into the very fabric of the universe we inhabit. We're quick to label chaos as "evil," yet scientists are continually discovering how much the order we value is dependent on the existence of chaos. Perhaps chaos, as we define it, is merely a level of order beyond what we currently comprehend. In any case such knowledge, once taken to heart, can only serve to humble us.

Once humbled, we are released from the burden of having to know all the answers. We are free to experience the joy of discovery as our journey continues to unfold. To borrow a line from a popular sitcom, "Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're going to love it."

2 comments:

Craig L. Adams said...

Excellent post. Thanks. I really think the only kind of knowledge available in this life is probable knowledge, since probability is at the heart of everything (just to riff a bit off your remarks on chaos). "This is what X probably means/says/is..." etc. That's the only kind of "knowing" that there is.

wjc said...

Seems like a few of us are in that liminal space... sinceritas posted some similar ideas last week, calling it being on the cusp . Thanks for sharing