I think one of the most tragic aspects of our legalism is the loss of mystery. We seem to want to learn enough so that we can explain God. How dare we try to claim that we can ever fully understand Him? When we lose our sense of His mystery, He becomes nothing more than a scientifically explainable phenomenon, something we can comprehend and therefore control. Or at least we fool ourselves into thinking so.
I think she has hit something on the head. As a part of my heritage in an Enlightenment-born faith, one of the great pursuits has been for knowledge. We have tried to figured out all of the aspects of religion and to put it into a nice little box, whether it's the Trinity or grace or any of the great mysteries of faith.
One of the things that I'm figuring out as I go through life is that God is so much bigger than I ever imagined. It's like my parents getting smarter the older I get. There is a mystery to God that if I try to figure it out, there's something deeply profound lost there. Mystery is a fact of faith. Without mystery, there is almost no faith. It's only knowledge.
And the truth of the matter is, as much as I'm starting to recognize that God is bigger and more mysterious than I have imagined, so is the Gospel. The Gospel is the love of God that fills me with wonder and calls me to action. It reminds me of something that I heard Todd Hunter say once. When we have reduced the Gospel to a bumper sticker, we have lost the mystery. And the implications of that statement are profound.
It means that the Gospel is not spread in drive-by evangelism. Bringing someone to church as the primary means of "conversion" is not something that holds value. If the Gospel is more than a bumper sticker, or 5 steps, or getting every jot and tittle right, then what is it?
It's relationship. It's loving someone no matter his or her condition, spiritual, physical, or whatever. It's being willing to sacrifice ourselves at the altar of others' needs. It's showing the love of Christ in our words and our actions.
But it takes us as believers to recognize the wonder of the mystery of God. If we lose that wonder, how can we pass it on? If our faith is reduced to knowledge or mentally assenting to a predetermined set of issues, where is the wonder? That child-like awe that comes from recognizing that there is mystery, that there is more than we know, and more than we could ever know.