It fascinates me really. Sometimes it’s hard to find. Sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes it’s right in front of us but we are blind to it, often willingly.
Pontus Pilate was confused by it. Even today we don’t understand it, which is why we sometimes say “Well, that’s your version of the truth.” But there’s only one version of the truth.
Sometimes we think we know the truth about something or someone based on snippets. But people really are icebergs. We see only the tip sticking out of the water. We don’t see the other 90% that remains hidden.
We’ve all heard the cliche “The more you know the more you don’t know.” But it’s just as valid to say that the more you pursue truth the more you don’t know. We make assumptions about what is true. We contrive theories. We fill in huge gaps with rubbish.
I don’t yet fully know what heaven is like. We have descriptions in Scripture. But we probably cannot fully comprehend the majesty of the place until we see and experience it for ourselves. Likewise, I have a hunch that when we get there we’ll be surprised by who’s there and who’s not.
I have a problem with institutionalized Christianity. We have turned the faith into a sort of Jesus club with vary narrow definitions of who’s in and who’s out, like it’s up to us to decide. We have also reduced the Bible into a list of theological terms and labels.
I have to confess that I have been guilty of these things and am struggling to break free. It’s not that I don’t care about theology, mind you. It’s just that there are many elements in the Bible that remain a mystery to me. There are events, ideas, and concepts that I simply do not understand. I freely admit that. I’m not ashamed to sometimes shrug and say “I don’t know.”
But there are some things I do know. For example, I know that when Christ was asked about the greatest commandment, his response was “Love the Lord,” and the second is just like it: love your neighbor. Therefore, if all you ever accomplish as a Christian is to love the Lord and love your neighbor, I reckon you can’t go wrong.
Likewise, we have altered the supernatural gift of salvation into something rote: we walk down an aisle and recite a certain prayer and the church considers us saved. This is why my favorite account of conversion takes place at the Cross. One of the thieves turns to Christ and asks Him to remember him. That’s all he did. We have no idea what was going on inside the man’s heart. He was an iceberg, too. What we do know is that something very genuine must have taken place, because Christ assured the thief that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day.
This gets me back to my original topic: the truth. It pains me to see institutionized Christians see the tip of an iceberg and proclaim he or she can’t possibly be a Christian because he or she did this or believes that or doesn’t believe this or said that. You don’t know. I don’t know, either.
Even more egregious is the way we sometimes malign an entire denomination because of what they allow or believe or vice versa. Indeed, we are so caught up in denominationalism and being right that the name on the sign has become more important than the One we follow. This is because we have come to value our traditions and our religion more than truth.
Truth is often an inconvenience, or worse. Sometimes it challenges everything we “know.” To quote Rush (the band), “All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary [to] everything in life you thought you knew.”