Like many people who grew up in a Christian religious context I was taught the purpose of our faith, the meaning of life in fact, was to know God.
Not only was this the goal but it was actually achievable by getting saved, reading the Bible, having a personal relationship with Jesus, going to church, praying, participating in Christian community and basically following the path laid out by church traditions and authorities.
Pursuing this mission – to know God – would set you on the right path.
In the Christian classic “Knowing God”, influential evangelical scholar and teacher, J. I. Packer, says it this way.
Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God most of life’s problems will fall into place of their own accord.
Wow. That’s a confident claim overall, but maybe the most bold and perhaps presumptuous part of that idea is the assumption we can actually know God.
Can we know God? Really? Is that even possible?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that our claims to knowledge (what we know, how we know, the extent of what we know) changes over time. At least it does if we’re growing and evolving.
What happens when your life experience doesn’t fit into the box of what you know? Maybe it’s an experience of God, or Ultimate Reality, or Love or some other deep truth.
What if that experience takes you outside of your current frame of knowing? What if life (usually great love or great suffering) rocks you to the core and what you thought you knew – about God, others, the world, or yourself – you no longer know.
What happens in the unknowing?
Join me in this episode as we talk about the well-trodden path of order, disorder and reorder (and its many synonyms), read the words of an old monk who calls us “to never stop loving no matter what comes your way”, and challenge ourselves to experience God as The Great Mystery, endlessly knowable and unknowable.
Music by Acreage.