Well… it’s a Mystery.

blurry painting

George Carlin pokes fun at the priests and nuns of his youth, who whenever they were asked a tough theological question would respond with; “Well…it’s a mystery”. Like Carlin, I left the Roman Catholic church as a young man, not out of any disagreement or dissatisfaction – just disinterest. Maybe the church didn’t have all the answers, but, at the time I didn’t have too many questions, either.

25 years later I had plenty of questions and finally found the answers to all of them, in the Bible. Like Saul of Tarsus, the scales had fallen from my eyes. But unlike Saul, who caught only glimpses of God, as through a glass darkly, for me everything was crystal clear. The Bible had become the Rosetta stone of my life, and I no longer needed to stumble about, hoping for the best. Every question, every concern, every choice that I was presented with could now be handled with absolute certainty, simply by opening the Good Book. Those who did not, or chose not to, have access to the Bible were as blind as I used to be.

A few years later I am no longer so sure about all that the Bible has to say. Things that I was once so positive about – who Jesus was, what God wants of us, what God’s plan of salvation is ( or what salvation even means) – all have been turned on their heads. (As David Gray sings, “I used to be so definite“). The stark relief of Biblical blacks and whites that I once cherished are now like sidewalk chalk drawings in the rain. The colors run together, some of the images becoming blurry. The pictures are no longer static, intricately detailed and well defined. Changing and shifting, the colors blend and flow, each drop of rain adding to, as well as taking away from, the softened tapestry, yet the beauty of the art still shines through. If the paintings themselves are no longer quite so well defined, so obviously apparent, they now stimulate the imagination, inviting each of us to become active participants as we are called to bring our own unique perspectives into play.

It may seem risky to look at God in this way – fewer absolutes, more possibilities, with no real boundaries. But might it not be riskier still to take the infinite God, creator of the universe, and define him precisely, and only, as how we encounter him in scriptures? When we lovingly open ourselves up to the im-possibilities of God we will be invited into encounters with the Unknown. In every picture that God paints us into, in some mystical and mysterious way, we will also find Jesus.

  1. #1 by lovewillbringustogether on May 5, 2008 - 11:35 pm

    Floating in a Sea of Fosters? I have not touched a drop of the stuff for Decades! 😯

    I did have a glass of Chardonnay with Dinner with friends on Sat night though… and we had no bread so we settled for Cake. 🙂

    B4d h4d good thoughts on Death ( die to ourself every day) but i think it is the SAME basic thing to all – that we die to the ego’s desire – the obeying/’following’ of that which fills us with fleshy desire instead of following the Will of His Spirit.

    Whatever it is for each one of us personally is what we must ‘put aside’ ( eliminate; die to) daily, and there can be many, many ‘its’. (the sin is not in the thing – but the desire for that thing)


  2. #2 by logiopath on May 6, 2008 - 11:31 pm

    Hey! What happened to my other posts? Afraid of a little truth, Napoleon of Ellicot?

    I’m tired of all the testosterone. How about a little sugar?

  3. #3 by Christian on May 7, 2008 - 8:20 pm

    I know not of what you speak, Logio. (Nothing new there). What other posts?

    Sugah? You want a little, sugah? Bruce…..

  4. #4 by Alan on May 19, 2008 - 4:25 pm

    I certainly relate to “it’s a mystery” right about now. God’s actions, or what God is allowing into our life, has us a bit confused ….

    Two weeks ago I thought I had things figured out. I was pretty sure the next chapter of my life involved going from one child to three and raising twin girls. I was concerned about the challenge ahead but resolved to welcome them into our lives– I even posted about it at my blog above. Every report (and trust me, there were many) said they were doing fine and we were praising God for the good news.

    And then something totally unforseen and “mysterious” happened. One of our daughters was born with extensive brain damage and only survived for two days — read about it at the link above if you want. We were shocked; we’re still shocked; we truly don’t begin to know what to think at this point. We cling to our faith in God; we believe it sustained us through the past couple weeks but at the same time we’re pretty confused with God right now. We love God but we sure don’t like the circumstances right now; nothing makes sesne. Life sure does seem like a mystery to me right now. And I don’t think Scooby Doo and the gang can solve it in 1/2 hour… 🙂

  5. #5 by Christian on May 20, 2008 - 6:38 pm

    Alan. I’m so sorry for you and your family on your loss. But I am so happy for you and your new arrival. I can’t imagine what this would be like for me but your writing helps. I recommend that everyone go and read their story;


    It’s so easy to see God’s purpose in pain, loss and sorrow. Until it happens to you.

  6. #6 by Michelle on May 20, 2008 - 8:48 pm

    Alan, I read your story and tried to comment…

    Just wanted to let you know, I am praying for you and your family.

    May you find comfort in the God of all comfort.

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