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Striving for the Impossible… and loving it

asymptotic 2I love the word asymptotic. I’m not a mathematician. No offense intended to all you left brained calculus types, but I actually hate doing math.  It seems to me, however, that asymptotic defines my life’s work… and yours too if Christ-likeness, Biblical understanding, theology, and/or any other branch of human knowledge political, social, economic, scientific or religious is important to you in the here and now.

In layman’s terms, asymptotic describes the gradual move toward a point that you will never actually reach—Getting ever closer but never arriving. Something akin to dividing the space between you and another object by half with each step… you will never actually arrive at that point, though the space between you will get consistently smaller.

Those devotees to the laziest of all disciplines (i.e. deconstruction) thrive primarily on rendering all things meaningless by rendering all goals unreachable. Any level of uncertainty in knowledge, is, for them, excuse enough to abandon faith in a position, definition, project, or goal. Doubt is their weapon against everything except despair. They build nothing because everything that can be built by man can be destroyed by man… so, why bother? They live to contradict, tear down, deny.

Many Christians actually play into the nefarious hands of deconstructionists when they defend their hearts from attacks against their faith by believing that they HAVE gained certainty. They set the hope of their faith on KNOWING and anything that even smells of complexity or question or investigation is anathema. Any hint of new discovery is not a welcome addition to the growing body of knowledge shared by the community of faith, but an unacceptable challenge to the notion that the knowledge of the past was complete and sufficient. When the deconstructionist succeeds in sowing seeds of doubt into such a heart, which one bent on denial and disproof can always sow, even in the stoutest of souls, faith teeters. The only defense is a closed mind, and a closed mind is not a growing mind open to an asymptotic movement toward truest knowledge.

The Christian faith is not about certainty, however; it is about faith and conviction and the dedication of one’s self to many tasks of mind and soul that will never be completed in this world. The Christian faith is (pardon me for quoting that famous scholar Miley Cyrus) about the climb and not about reaching the summit. The value of our growing knowledge and our constant pursuit of Christ-likeness is not found in the hope of attainment of some final product, some perfect knowledge, some ultimate state of Jesus-hood, but in our constant striving to leave behind the us of our past for the hope of the renewed and improved us of tomorrow… a little smarter, a little more faithful, triumphant over another hurdle, richer for having passed successfully in the end through yet another trial; indeed, whatever the false prophets of our faith may tell you, there are many things about ourselves and about God that we can only learn through suffering.

So, why am I saying all this? Two reasons.

1. Many will try to tell you that uncertainty and imperfection renders your attempts to discover God in this world, in your circumstances, and in the pages of Scripture meaningless. You can never know all. You will never arrive this side of eternity. That does not, however, render the pursuit meaningless. The choices you make in the here and now are an important part of your journey toward eternity. They set the stage for your forever and much of the meaning is found in the journey itself. Journey well.

2. Many others will try to tell you that the journey is unnecessary, that the knowledge we (meaning they themselves) have is sufficient, that the constant striving for more knowledge is an insult to the things we (again, they) have received from those who have gone before us (though they usually know little about Christian History). All that we need to do is rest on our laurels in the traditions we have received without getting ourselves all fussy bothered with things like scholarship, biblical languages, and the like.

Both despise the asymptotic nature of the Christian journey for different reasons. Me? I relish the road and am determined to die as far down its path as I can.

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