The following analogy captures the core of where I feel myself to be in my understanding.
It is like I’m standing in a market and all the fishmongers are shouting the virtues of what each has to offer.
“Look at this fish,” says one. “See how perfect it is?”
I nod but my looking is interrupted by his neighbor who exclaims, “Don’t buy that fish! Look, over here, I have bigger, meatier, healthier fish for you!”
But the next fishmonger interrupts my interrupter, “Sir! Fresh caught just an hour ago – my fish just came in. They’re like you just pulled in the line yourself a minute ago. Come and see!”
“No, come over here and see what I have,” another fishmonger calls out. “It is the best in the market. Trust me!”
The message, The Word, is what I seek, but each organized church seems to have something different.
“If it is Written, then it is The Truth,” some will say.
“Trust the Bible!”
“It is written!”
But we all use the same written Word and yet there are divisions within divisions in the Christian churches.
How can each church’s “Truth” seem so obvious to each of them but be different from every other church?
Which church should I choose? Where should I go on Sunday? Which faction, which congregation, which variation should I support?
I know that what I see are the tips of the waves. Because of the wind and tide, each wave looks different. And what I see in all those churches are the results of the winds and tides of human understanding.
What I seek, therefore, is not the wave. I seek the force that moves beneath the waves. It moves in the deep. It is the force that, when it reaches shore, its presence is revealed in those rising, cresting and breaking waves.
God is there, in the deep.
I’m in the market for Fish but the fishmongers only seem to have fish. Am I listening to the wrong fishmongers? Am I in the wrong market?
The market and fishmongers are the waves.
God is there, but deeper. What I see in the market of Christian churches are the results of the winds and tides of human understanding.
God is there but deeper, much deeper.
(A special “thank you” to Pastor Denny whose comments help keep me moving, listening, and more importantly, thinking.)
2 thoughts on “Fish! Fresh Fish!”
Who says we’re “organized?”
(Romans 3:4) Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”
(1 John 4:1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
As sometimes happens, it took me several (published) drafts to get this post close to what I was feeling and thinking. As others have noted, the process of writing is often a process of discovering what one thinks and feels. That was very much the case with this post — and I don’t quite have it yet.
But that’s enough thrashing with the words for now. There will be another post on another day. I will leave this one alone now.
Pastor Denny’s comments (above) arrived in the midst of that process, and his thoughts suggest an avenue of exploration I hadn’t considered, that perhaps there is/are some “true” churches as well as many false, misled, or just plain “you got it wrong, dude” churches.