Monday, February 13, 2006

the secret is...

i'm still on this messianic secret thing, but now i pretty much finished my paper (except for editing). but writing about the messianic secret reminded me of something i read by john d. caputo in "more radical hermeneutics." he's a philosopher i really like (not that i know a lot of them), and i especially like his book "on religion." but that's beside the point...

in "more radical hermeneutics" he starts out by talking about how the secret of life is that there is no secret--no one knows THE answer, no one knows what they're doing, no one has a more direct line of access to whatever deity might be out there than anyone else.

instead, the secret is "that we do not 'Know' ourselves or one another, that we do not 'Know' the world or God.... That, if anything, is who we are, the ones who do not know who they are, and whose lives are impassioned by the passion of that non-knowing."

i like this way of looking at life--it allows us to be the fallible, not-so-intelligent creatures that we often are, to admit that we don't know what's going on or who we are, and to passionately seek after what might be, with any luck, a glimmer of the truth. it also puts us all on an equal playing field: no one knows what's true in some sense, and yet, all of us have the potential of finding truth as we passionately seek after it, in the midst of mystery and paradox and beautiful confusion. i think this makes life and faith so much more fun and joy-filled. we're not just seeking after some dogma, making sure that we say the magic formulas or know the right behaviors. instead we're on this wild, breathtaking journey towards the ultimate, not knowing where we're going or what it will look like when we get there, just trusting that it will be good in a deeper sense than we can ever dream.

this, i think, is the secretless secret of the kingdom of God which mark tantalizingly whispers in his gospel, calling us to keep looking, keep searching, keep asking questions, don't give up hope. on the same theme, read the words to david wilcox's song "out of the question" (and buy his cd if you like--it's worth it!).

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