Living In The I Don’t Know

“I don’t know much, but I know I love you.  And that may be all I need to know.”  (I Don’t Know Much by Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt) This is our wedding song.  Little did Michelle and I know, at that time, just how true these words would be in our life together.  For we don’t know much.  But knowing that we love of each other has covered up a multitude of educational deficiencies.

Nobody knows much.  Yes, some know more than others.  Some know a great deal about a few things and others know a few things about a great deal. Yet, in the scheme of life, the scope of the universe, the depth of reality and the breadth of eternity, none of us know much.

All of this leaves us in a quandary.  Will you admit that you don’t know much?  Will you get good at living in the I don’t know or will you constantly seek out answers and explanations in order to avoid, even the appearance, of living in the I don’t know?  Will you be able to live by faith or do you have to live by knowledge?  Only accepting what can be proven by your five senses.  Banashing all of the rest as the superstitious ramblings of fringe groups and mainstream outliers.

I once heard that you can’t educate someone into faith, but you sure can educate someone out of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of education.  I have two generations of educators in my family right now.  And I educate for a living.  What I believe this statement is pointing out is our cultural inability, as humans, to live in the I don’t know.

Regardless of admitting it or not, we all naturally realize how much we don’t know.  Thus, we pride ourselves on education.  We worship education as a god.  We lay our time, talents and treasures at the altar of education.  Just look at the increase in higher education in America, especially graduate level education, in the past one hundred years.  More and more people are getting more and more educated.  More and more people are also going deeper and deeper into debt, in order to pay for becoming more educated.

You can bemoan the student loan crises in our country, but it is simple capitalistic supply and demand at its finest.  Since more and more people want more and more education, more and more universities are opening up and raising their prices.  So, more and more lending institutions are willing to fund these higher costs, because of higher demand, with higher interest rate loans.  For we will find the money and the time to do whatever it is that we want to do.  And we want to be educated, so that we can avoid living in the I don’t know.

Yet, what is the foundation of education in the first place?  Acknowledging the I don’t know.  We learn because we don’t know and we want to know.  The catch is that once you learn something it simply opens up your understanding of how much more you don’t know.  It is a never-ending cycle of acknowledging the I don’t know and seeking out answers.  Just to turn around and discover there is still so much more that you don’t know.

Life is a journey.  Education is a journey.  Faith is a journey.  None of us are born having all the answers.  We seek.  We search.  We ask.  And sometimes, we even find.  Our problem shows up when, sometimes, all we can do is believe.  All we can do is live in the I don’t know.

What an unbelieving, educated world, finds simply unbelievable are Christians who have gotten good at living in the I don’t know.  Christians who acknowledge all that they do not know and then walk out the door and live by faith.  That is what an educated, unbelieving world, finds simply unbelievable.