Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Looking Not to Find

I got into a recent discussion about spiritual seeking. We agreed that seeking in general is what God would want us to do, rather than being satisfied. But I wasn't so sure it is the seeking God delights in.

We got into this discussion because there is a guy we both know who is on a spiritual quest. He goes to church in the Episcopal tradition right now. But he has tried other denominations, reads about different doctrinal perspectives and different religious books, and recently tried out Wiccanism. The people I talked to believed that his search is a good thing, but he shouldn't be in a leadership role at church. I generally agreed with that. But I also questioned the legitimacy of his search.

From my perspective searching involves discipline, rather than getting a little here and a little there. If I am in search of being a surgeon, I can read a few books and ask mechanics and lawyers their perspectives on surgical techniques. But I will never be a surgeon. Unless I find out what it takes to become a surgeon, and then pursuing that course, I am confusing effort with truth.
There was a woman who was looking for her keys. A man came by and asked, "What are you doing?"

She said, "I am looking for my keys. I dropped them way over there by the bushes."

The man was puzzled. "Why are you looking over here?"

She responds, "Oh. The light is much better over here."

Do you see the problem? I encounter people all the time who say they are spiritually seeking, or seeking the existence of God. Some even say they are seeking the right religion. Is that really true?

Many times the real intent is find something that makes us feel good. But who looks for the truth? I mean, really looks. According to Scripture, the problem with mankind is that nobody is seeking. (Romans 3:3-19) I believe this is true. We use the idea of seeking as a smoke screen to help us feel important and purposeful. But we are really avoiding the hard answers. In essence, we are looking not to find.

So, it is much easier to be intellectual inquirers, transcend to another plain of existence, follow some guru, or just find our goal in the act of pursuit itself. But the goal of any search is to find. In our culture, it is sometimes seen as arrogant or wrong to actually find answers to your questions. It seems so shallow compared to being a doubter, or enjoying the journey of discovery. Finding what you are looking for seems so dogmatic. But the nature of truth is, well, dogmatic.

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