How thin the Church's veil: Part 2

The other thing, and this one bothers but does not amuse me, is how the church has forgotten that there's a difference between teaching and explaining. And we've shot holes in some of the sacred mysteries by reacting to every challenge this crooked and depraved generation puts to us.

In good postmodern fashion, when an idea like the Book of Judas or the Da Vinci Codecomes along, the church bends and shapes itself like a large woman modeling a swimsuit in the mirror, looking for an explanation that appeals to the questioner.

What we need to be saying is, "It's interesting that you believe that. To Christians, that's a mystery that we're waiting to find out." What we teach, after all, is foolishness to those who are perishing(1 Corinthians 1:18)-- it's nonsense unless you know the secret, and even for Christians it only works if you're willing to let there be secrets! Christ promised revelation, but he promised it at the proper time, not whenever we decide we need it.

There are mysterious ways at work, after all, and depths we are not meant to plumb. "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."(Hebrews 11:1) There are questions that, if overthought, will damage believers' faith or turn seekers away from it. There are debates that, if we show ourselves too eager to resolve, will degrade Christ's work. These things, since there is so much at stake, we must wait to know until we can receive God's guidance in person about them.

There's a thing going on called the "CSI Effect": courts are finding that people on juries expect more compelling evidence and more guarantees about the quality of said evidence than science can actually provide, since, according to US News, "on TV it's all slam dunk evidence and quick convictions." In reality, forensic science is much less exact. This is bleeding over into debates about church doctrine; people expect clear-cut answers to questions that are much more profound than they realize.

I'm not in favor of letting crime go unsolved, but it is time for the Church to take a step back into mystery. We can teach what we do know, and remind our members and seekers that the source for our knowledge is divinely credible. Beyond that, we need to revel in what we don't (and can't) know, because that's what a life of faith is and that's what we are called to.

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