Years ago, people used to say the word “seeker” for those who chose not to be affiliated with a church. At first that sounded like a good term to me, since I thought of people who are seeking God, or who are seeking a faith community of some kind in which to belong. But soon the word began to give off a whiff of judgment: were we church people implying they were seeking something that we had found? If they were “seekers,” were we “finders?”
These past ten years or so, I’ve gotten to know some people who are “spiritual but not religious” (another potentially troublesome phrase). Some are my closest friends, in fact. I’ve discovered that they are seeking but also finding. For some, it’s more a matter of language: “the universe” instead of “God,” for instance. That’s a different twist on theology than my own version, but so is the theology of many people who use the same “God” words as I do.
And then there are some remarkable people I’ve grown close to in the church who are “seekers – finders – seekers.” They have an insatiable hunger for knowing God more closely and following Jesus more authentically. So they seek deepening experiences of the divine, have real encounters with the biblical and cosmic God, and then find themselves seeking even greater authenticity as people of faith. They ask questions and find answers, which lead to more questions of a truer nature.
Long ago, I thought that goodness was the primary characteristic of a Christian, but I gave that up. Now I think it is openness. Openness to seeking, then finding, then seeking once more. God is pretty cosmic, after all, and we’re such limited creatures.
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