Pakistan is still reeling from the destruction of the floods. I have personal friends who are struggling through and offering their presence to these families. I think that’s the key, not offering them answers; answers can be destructive. Peace isn’t finding an answer to your problem, its knowing that you’re not alone.
The last thing we should do is offer the victims answers. We can’t control nature. If anything, nature reminds us time again that we are exiled from our illusions of power. Nature reminds us that we are truly unsovereign beings. Powerless, without answers to fix it all.
I recently watched 2012 with John Cusack, another apocalyptic narrative of humanity rescuing the world from the end of itself. But, I think that’s where the movie errs. I think we need to the world reach the end of itself. The more we sustain the world in the matrix of its empty promises, the more we become the sentient beings who exist only to insure its survival.
Much like the woman in the CNN footage who is mourning the tragic loss of her ‘Golden Boy’, I think Christianitys’ golden boy is the idea that we are meant to offer answers. If anything, we are more like the local fisherman who are there ‘fishing’ out the dead bodies. Our presence has more influence than any answer could. that is the dangerous assumption within the matrix of Christianity, that we have all the answers, and that the answers will fix everything. Sometimes the truth will imprison you rather than set you free.
If we think of truth as something that itself leads to an end, than truth will demonstrate its inflexibility by creating bars that we eventually will call home. I think that we have to come to a place where realize Christianity isn’t about offering answers, but rather presence. The answers negate the experience. Salvation in the orthodox sense is an answer, rather the idea of the incarnation was a helpless, powerless baby coming not to give answers, but to be present.Salvation means healing, not healed.
There is a direct difference in those words, the semantic structure of each word says a lot about the intentions of who is bringing the salvation. Maybe, we can embrace truth as something that progresses and evolves, much like the ancient Eastern religions. Rather than trying to colonize truth and offer it others, maybe we can invite others to race with us discovering the speedily pace of truth that leads us into our own personal evolution.
Much like in the story of Job, God doesn’t respond to Job’s deep struggles with answers, in fact, he avoids them. Maybe like philosophe Slavoj Zizek posits, God is overwhelmed by how messy her creation really turned out. So, rather than offering answers to Job, God sits in the unrest with Job, God doesn’t rail at Job, God shares in the frustration. God and Job are overwhelmed by the experience — Together.
I think the last thing the gospel was meant to be was an answer.
Maybe a reminder that we’re not alone through the junk we go through. Maybe like the fisherman, we are looking for those moments of deadness and picking them up and sadly letting them go.
Notice when Jesus utters the words “I have come to give you life to the full” – he doesn’t say: ” I have come to give you a life filled with answers, with peace, with more money than you can handle, or anything the American dream can offer. The word for full or abundant in the Hebrew means overwhelming, more than you can handle.
A life consumed by life.
But in life, there is sadness, there is struggle, there is pain, there is hope, laughter, friendship, betrayal, and beauty. But, most of the beauty we experience is in the breakdown. Jesus offers consummation. Offers a space where can experience the overwhelming confusion and beauty all at the same time. If we offer people answers, than we deny them the experience of a life to the full.