December 9 2019
I don’t know
The signature at the end of my email is a four sentence quotation from Louis Penney: the four sentences that lead to wisdom. I’m sorry. I was wrong. I don’t know. I need help. Along with signing off that way, I try to use them whenever possible. Wisdom is elusive but I am ever hopeful.
I don’t know.
The most frequent three-word phrase in both British and American spoken English turns out to be I don’t know, according to corpus research.
“So, in our new book, we make the argument that people should be much more willing to admit what they don’t know.”
Both of those claims may be accurate. In his book Gifts of the Dark wood, Eric Elnes has a chapter entitled The Gift of Uncertainty. The chapter begins with a quotation from Brian McLaren: certainty is overrated.
I borrowed a text and an interpretation from Barbara Brown Taylor and suggested that Nicodemus, when he visits Jesus in John 3, is not condemned but rather is taught that if one is born of the Spirit one has to live with uncertainty. The Spirit, after all, blows where it chooses and we certainly cannot control it and predict where it will go. Too many people want to know, or claim to know, exactly who God is and what God has in mind.
Perhaps they are correct. Perhaps they are claiming to know more than Jesus does. They may.
For me, the life of faith has a certain amount of uncertainty. That is the point. The opposite of faith is not doubt. They opposite of faith is certainty. Do a simple web search on that topic and be surprised at where the Spirit may take you.