Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Defense of Seekers

About 8 years ago a fellow track coach complained to me about one of his athletes. It seems that this athlete was missing some practices, doing poorly in school, and was generally too much of a free spirit to be coachable. Since I was a pastor at the time, my coaching colleague came to me to see if I could help control the boy. After telling me his problem with coaching the lad he vented his final criticism with disgust in his voice, “he’s always looking for something!” I knew exactly what he meant and he wasn’t referring to the boy looking for his missing running spikes. This boy was one of those “lost soul” types. They go by various names and descriptions: Browsers, Seekers, Lost Souls, Restless Souls. The problem with them is that they usually never change. How do I know? I am one of them. I have always been a Seeker and at the age of 50 I have resigned myself to the “mission” and “pleasure” of seeking. God knows I have tried to stop it, but it’s like trying to change a physical characteristic. Have you ever tried changing your hair color? You can dye your hair, but your true color will always come back. So it is with Seekers. My motto now is, “If you can’t beat em, join em.”

But, is there anything actually wrong with being a seeker? Well, to those who are the Certainty types, which I will call Certaintees, there is a lot that’s wrong with Seekers. Certaintees, the opposite of the Seeker, are sure of most everything and don’t like to question authority from which they derive their certainty. And, they certainly don’t want others questioning their certainty. They want loyal and dutiful followers who conform to the certainty of the Certaintee. Certaintees are not bad people, but just like Seekers they are hard wired to be what they are. It’s hard for Seekers to live in the realm of the Certaintee because they are seen as lightening rods of doubt, skepticism and antiauthoritarianism. There is a fear that the Seeker will eventually upset the apple cart. And, they often will! Can Seekers and Certaintees cohabitate in peace? I believe they can, but an ethic of grace and peace must be at the heart of both types of individuals. The Seeker, for all his desire to know the truth, can deform his restless heart in to a dragnet that would take everyone around him in to his neurotic pool of doubt. The Certaintee also has his issues. He can become corrupt with a power-wielding narcissim; crushing and demoralizing all who oppose him. But don’t get me wrong, I am not arguing for a permanent rift between Seekers and Certaintees. One of the beautiful reasons that Seekers and Certaintees ought to cohabitate is that they can bring their strengths in to a common arena for the benefit of each other. The Seeker can help the Certaintee to look outside his box of certainty to see the prisim of truth. The Certaintee can help the Seeker by bringing him down to earth, out of the cloud of unknowing, by showing him that he can rest in the truth that can be known. Jesus spoke important words for both the Seeker and the Certaintee, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” Both the Seeker and the Certaintee need the focal point of God in place of the Seekers skepticism and the Certaintees Absolutism.



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