Put It On The ‘I Don’t Know’ Shelf

Today’s song is Haunted by One Wolf, because not only is it a good song and I know the guy who wrote it, it also includes the words ‘I don’t know’ in the lyrics. Useless lyric recall skill FTW.

One of the hardest things for a new Christian to learn is that there are a lot of spiritual things that are not addressed in the Bible, or not clearly addressed there by reading plain English translations alone. Many Protestant churches, especially, have embraced the modern scientism ideal which says, ‘everything can be known,’ and leave no room for mystery. But God isn’t meant to be understood that way, and many Christian teachers, especially those who have gone to cemetaries seminaries, are taught pat answers to everything from heaven to hell and in between. They can give the Approved Answer© to everything, but their answers are clinical and unsatisfying to the genuine, seeking heart.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a method of dealing with theological conundrums, or just about any problem, where I have already looked into the issue as thoroughly as I know how (reading books, articles, asking other people) and I still don’t understand, I have a ‘mental shelf’ set up in my brain called the ‘I Don’t Know Shelf’.

Building The Shelf

Let’s say you like Rubik’s Cube puzzles, and have started collecting them. Now let’s say that, like most of the population, you’re really not that good at solving them.

Imagine that shelf in your head. It’s stacked with all sorts of Rubik’s Cubes of every dimension, and other weird puzzles you haven’t figured out yet.

Now you have that shelf in your mind’s eye, imagine the Rubik’s Cubes, which are puzzles, as individual concepts that you don’t understand right now. You’ve tried looking into them, thinking about them, maybe even meditated or prayed on them, and you still don’t understand. Maybe you feel frustrated or angry at yourself for not understanding it.

That’s when you put it on the ‘I Don’t Know Shelf’.

There’s no shame in putting a concept or an idea on hold for now, until you have some more information or revelation through thought and prayer.

There’s also no shame in adding things to that shelf that you previously thought you understood, but now realize you haven’t the faintest clue.

Here are two practical examples from this past week.

  1. I was talking with a liberal Hillary fan on Twitter. She was one of the few who actually asked me questions and answered my questions without blocking me, which is a refreshing thing (most people don’t want their ideas and viewpoints challenged). So instead of me challenging her viewpoints directly, it ended up that she challenged mine.How so? I asked her point-blank, ‘why are you supporting Hillary?’

    She gave me two answers: one, that ‘Hillary has the most experience in government’, and two, ‘Hillary is going to move the country in the right direction instead of the wrong direction.’Now, this is the question that I had put on the ‘I don’t know’ shelf before: why can anyone vote for Hillary, when she’s the most dishonest liar and crook, most likely a sociopath, et cetera, et cetera? And all of a sudden, I had the answer: because of liberal progressive thought.

    ‘Progressive’ thought says that society is always moving, always proceeding, in a better direction. ‘Every day we get better and better in every way.’ It’s like a Star Trek: The Next Generation thing: eventually humankind is going to solve all the problems and live happily ever after (when we’re not getting conquered or cheated by aliens). The concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are twisted from Judeo-Christian concepts into ‘what is expedient?’ and ‘what is not?’

    Unfortunately, ‘forward’ and ‘backward’, to the progressive mind, is entirely arbitrary and depends on The Narrative, that ever-changing set of ideas which dictate what is trendy now, such as, ‘hey, let’s support unlimited Muslim immigration, and anyone who objects, saying that there might be terrorists among them, is a bigoted racist pig.’ (This concept is working great in Europe right now, with Islamic extremists murdering people on a daily basis.

    So, in a sense, I took down the ‘why would anyone vote for Hillary’ cube, and instead of viewing those voters as monsters, I understand a little more about what makes them tick. They’re still complete idiots, but I understand them a little better now.

  2. This guy.

    ‘God told me to buy Tyler Perry’s house’?

    What the hell?

    Now, being someone who is familiar with Charismania, I can confidently say that this guy is a wonk. But what happened here?

    I discussed this with my wife at length yesterday. Knowing what I know about mental health and Christianity, we were only able to come up with a few ideas:

    1. He’s lying, or at least isn’t being honest about his ‘encounter with God’. Maybe he got a few goosebumps when he said, ‘Lawd, I want that house!’ and all of a sudden it’s God’s will.
    2. He’s crazy–probably schizophrenic or bipolar. Maybe he is hearing the voice of his optimism, and it’s rattling around in the pressure cooker of his head.
    3. …what? What else could there be? I don’t necessarily believe in demons, at least not in the Charismatic sense, so…what is the other possibility?

Since I don’t know, I have to put that on the shelf too.

Here are a few more things that I don’t understand that I feel like I should understand. Some are esoteric, some are everyday:

  1. How hell and demons work. I don’t believe in Eternal Conscious Torment, and I find that these items not being in the Creeds (especially the Nicene Creed) interesting. So how do they work? And why did my ‘demon problems’ disappear when I started medication?
  2. How to find out more about Cultural Marxism and Progressive Liberalism…and how to put a stop to the destruction of Western society by these atheist and anti-theist mobs.
  3. How to effectively argue with a #NeverTrump junkie–everyone I’ve met who is one is near-certifiably insane, except this guy. He gets it.
  4. How to know when I’m hearing from God, and how and why his Presence seems to ‘work’ at times, and why sometimes the answers I get through prayer feel unclear.

These are items that I have to come back to later.

I don’t have to get mad at myself for not having answers, because one could write volumes on any of these topics and still not fully explore them. I just put whatever it is on the shelf and come back to it later. Many times I’ll have some off time in the car or something and my mind will wander back to it, or I will read an article that day that fills in a missing piece. One more cube of the puzzle in place. Some puzzles will never be fixed–God and humans are infinitely complex–but we can analyze almost everything until we get a good fix on it, and then pass that knowledge on to humanity so all of us profit.

If you don’t understand, just put it on the shelf.

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