"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by God." - I Corinthians 8:1b-3
I was walking with my friend Quinn in an unfamiliar city. He asked if I had been keeping an eye out for the place we were going.
"Don't worry," I assured him. "It will be coming up in a few blocks on our side of the street."
"Are you sure?" he asked skeptically.
A few blocks later, Quinn pointed to a large neon sign marking our destination...on the other side.
It feels so good to know things. Or to believe I know things. Or to pretend I know things. It gives me a sense of importance. Especially when I know about important things, like God.
There's a whole field dedicated to pretending to know things about God. It's called theology.
The exact proportion of Jesus' humanity and divinity. The mechanics of salvation. The nature of the trinity. There are Facebook groups full of clergy arguing about them right now!
People have written whole libraries on their knowledge of God. I write at least 600 words every month on the subject.
I like to think God is as gracious as Quinn when I get it wrong. Just a knowing smile that says, "oh you" and a nudge in the right direction.
In my embarrassment about making a mistake, I remember there's something better than knowing: being known. By Quinn. By God.
Paul says that being known comes with love. That's where we should focus our energy. Loving God. And after all, that's hard enough to get right.
All-Knowing and Unknowable, make me an expert on love.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.