Monday, September 2, 2013

The Pearl of Great Price

I keep thinking about the pearl of great price, the hidden treasure. The thing you sell it all for. And honestly, the past few years have been about selling all of it: everything I was taught was orthodoxy, everything I was told was right doctrine. I sold off Christianity in order to find Christ. I had to, it gets so noisy in that echo chamber and sometimes you have to run far, far away. And if that doesn't make sense and you think I've disappointed Cyprian for saying so, then disappoint him I have, but my deepest concern these past few years hasn't been whether or not what I think or believe lines up with the Church Fathers. I had to sell off the fathers, the traditions, the inerrantists, the Scriptures, the most holy ballots, in order to find Him. A Man of Sorrows, An Outcast, On the Fringe, Acquainted with Grief. I went deep into the trenches of grief and anger and acute loneliness. Once I was a son, now I was on my own. I had to give up certainty to find the God-Man worth being uncertain about. I had to give up the Creeds, yes, even those gems, to find Him. And I did. And with that, I rediscovered the Creeds and the Scriptures and the Tradition, but those are not Him, and that was the lesson this constantly searching heart needed most desperately to learn, because those were stilts I set my wavering heart on in intellectual confidence, and I needed crutches made from the Tree of Divine Love.

"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."

I needed distance from dogma to find Him. And if that doesn't make sense to you, or you think I'm in deep error, did you read what I said? I found HIM! And should that not be all that matters? For some we must lose our faith to find it, anew, stripped of everything unessential--polished, shining, a pearl. Pearls occur when the mollusk is attacked or invaded by intruders, and the mollusk has to protect itself. The Kingdom of God is like a thing that is constantly under attack, yet it creates a thing of beauty, and you sell everything for it because something that creates exquisite beauty from excruciating pain is worth any sacrifice.

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