God Kicks In Our Boxes

I often carry around a box. A box that contains nothing, though for years I believed it held everything.

This box held God.

Or so I thought.

Like so many who have grown up in the church, I have now emerged from the inward, high-built walls of the church in which I was protected from the “lies of the world.” The oddity is I now find a world far different than what I was told about. What once was described in black and white, gray is all I see.

To be a Christian was to be aloof, but to know the answers to all of life’s questions.  I thought I had it all figured out. After all, I had taken the World Views class with the pastor’s wife in which I was taught all the ideas of the world and how they were distortions and lies of the old serpent, the Devil. TRUTH, all of it, was known. There was no room for doubt or an “I don’t know.” I had the sense that I had everything figured out. Faith was a crutch on which the weak Christians leaned. I had logic and knowledge of the Bible. I didn’t need faith and thought less of people who spoke of it.

But then it happened

God kicked in my box.

All that I thought I had figured out, I actually had not.

All that I thought I knew, I actually didn’t.

And it happened in the place where the graves of so many young churchies lay—the college campus. I faced, for the first time, the perspectives and arguments I thought I knew. I did not. All the answers I was given could not stand against those who spoke a contradicting view. There was suddenly room for “I don’t know.” For faith. And it struck me when I could not provide an answer.

And now, after nine years of schooling, I am faced with ever-increasing questions.

The answers never came the way I thought they would. Following Christ gradually became less of a cerebral thing and more a way and walk of life. Even when things never fully made sense or fit in a nice neat package in which I was accustomed.

I was left with more questions than answers. Every time I turned over a rock, thinking I had discovered the answer, 10 more queries emerged. And then I had a revelation.

Perhaps not knowing was the point.

God, the scriptures and TRUTH are not wrapped neatly, contained in some quaint little box with a pretty little bow.

I cannot “get” God because God cannot be gotten. He is infinite. He is beyond the beyond. He transcends our understanding and learning. Anything I could understand of Him is infinitely larger and infinitely transcending. The fullness of God and His truth can never be contained in my box.

Now I am not saying God and Truth cannot be known. What I am saying is that neither one can be fully known. The fullness of TRUTH and God cannot be known by His creation. God, who is the TRUTH, is infinite. Since I am not infinite, I am not capable of fully knowing Him. I have my little mind in my little part of His vast universe.

For all practical purposes, I might as well be blind.

I am groping at TRUTH as one clinging to a wall in the dark, trying to get a picture of the landscape in my mind. Or as a blind person sees another by touching his face.

I want to understand. I want to explore. I want to describe.

This infinite God, no longer in a box, is out in the wild world. And I intend to follow Him there.

Since then, I have been called many things, "heretic" the most common among them. “How can you know the Truth of anything if you doubt your capacity to know Truth?” they say to me.

Well, I don’t know.

I certainly don’t believe TRUTH is something you can “have,” as if you could handle it all.

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I do believe we can know things, but most things are still unknown.

For this belief, I find myself in a strange position—a place in the middle. I receive insults and criticism from both sides. My academic friends, who deny the very existence of truth, think I am foolish for believing that there is such a thing. Yet to my Christian friends, I have “eroded the foundation of our faith.”

While I believe God is not contained in my box, I still find myself carrying it around. Often, with cardboard flaps flopping about. I seem unable to let go. I want to put God back in my box. And I cling to that box for dear life because it is comfortable and deceivingly reassuring that I have God in my arms. I rationalize for the sake of simplicity, teaching or outright practicality. But I consistently find that He will not let me put Him back in.

So often I walk around, carrying this empty box. A vestige of my once completed, systematic and apologetic-ready theology.

But at least I know my box is empty, having long ago unpacked and searched every corner and crevice to make doubly sure it contained nothing. So many Christians are walking around blissfully ignorant, toting their boxes around thinking God is safely contained within.

May God kick in our boxes.



Deebok701 commented…

I think the author is trying to change the ignorant attitudes about truth and God that many Christians who grow up with Christian education often leave their schools with. Often times they're unaware of reality and, like Mr. Keck stated from the beginning, see things "in black and white" with the view that all truths can be known, especially all truths contained in the Bible. The problem I see with that is that Scripture is revealed to us through the Holy Spirit, who reveals different truths to different people depending on what individuals need; therefore, no one can possibly know all truth contained in the Bible. One can only know the biblical truth that is revealed to himself by the Holy Spirit...


Anonymous commented…

I would challenge the author to think twice about claiming his box is empty. By even claiming God is unable to be contained is putting something about God in the box. Though he claims he is on a search for truth, he still shares major truth statements in the article. For example, "So many Christians are walking around blissfully ignorant, toting their boxes around thinking God is safely contained within." Who is to stay God isn't "really" allowing these people to witness TRUTH? And what if their blissful ignorance is in fact a childlike faith (something I myself long for)? So, if it is impossible to empty the box of understanding, as I believe, we might as well fill it with the attributes and truths of God that He has revealed to us through Scripture and the Community of Believers by the Holy Spirit. The uncontainable, incomprehensible God has revealed Himself in His Son, hereby allowing us to fill our box of understanding with the Truth, Jesus Christ Himself. It is the mercy and grace of our awesome God.

However, I do believe that we should never keep our understand of God in a locked steel box, but allow the Holy Spirit to reveal and change the contents of our ideas. This has to be done with prayer and community and a sense of alertness, as the enemy is cunning and deceitful.


Anonymous commented…

good job. you have just emphasized the essence of FAITH. not fully knowing yet believing. good on yah!


Bear471 commented…

You have some very good insights. Many of us have experienced a similar epiphany about our concept of God. It is not new it was the same concept of God Israel had when they thought God was in the box. The question becomes was there value in the box Israel had? I believe there was when it was put in its proper perspective.
We make the same mistake rejecting the Church by assuming the building is the church. Yes there are many inside the popular organized churches that are working hard at limiting God and are trying to hold him in to their box. Still the ark was directed by God and the misuse of it didnt diminish its holiness one bit. The Church as it was intended, a called out assembly, was sanctified by the same Jesus the sanctified the rest of us.
I do agree we need to examine how we view God and what kind of restrictions we try to put on him, the box you allude to. However as a child of God it is also perfectly normal for us to strive to learn more about our father every day. We may not have the answer to every worldly question and we shouldnt claim we do. But the one answer we have is our faith. The faithful have the Holy Spirit and are the co-heirs of everything Jesus has. We just need to redefine Church in our mindset to not only include the traditional but the non- traditional as well. When two of us get together for coffee and end up sharing the wonders of God together are we not in effect in Church? When we place hands on a person and pray for a healing are we not following the admonition given to the Church by Christ?
No you are right we dont have all the answers and we cant keep God in a box, but we cant keep him out of one either if that box is a building. The job of a Christian is to share the God we know and know more about the God we share.
Always keep thinking and keep looking for truth.


chrisfrostsays commented…

Spot on.

What the fundamentalists don't realize is that their church is going out of business. Culture is changing too fast to keep everyone conformed to narrow interpretations. Plus, people don't want to be told what to do. Holiness is something to be pursued out of hunger.

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