You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
The name of this website was inspired by U2’s song “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” I chose this name because the song, as well as its title, reflects my life as a search and a journey.
Much has been said about this song – many believing its lyrics are evidence that Bono has departed from his Christian faith. After all, such Christians would say, “Bono writes of Christ’s redemption and yet says that he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Wouldn’t a true Christian find total fulfillment in Christ? If so, what’s Bono still looking for?” However, I believe this song reflects the continuing post-conversion struggle, a realization that life is a journey and a determination to search for – as well as be part of – the coming of God’s kingdom here on earth.
In this sense, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for: while I’ve found everything in Jesus for He is everything to me, I’m still looking for more evidences of His kingdom here on earth, and indeed I’m still, as His disciple, bringing His kingdom here on earth (Matt. 6:10).
I believe that Christianity has largely lost a biblical understanding of the persistence of struggle (and suffering) in this lifetime. In theological terms, many Christians have an “over-realized eschatology” – that is, many Christians overstate the realization of the presence of the kingdom of God on this earth. This is evident when we hear that becoming a Christian will solve all our problems and that as Christians we will only feel love, joy and peace for the rest of the days of our lives. Christians speak often of the victories we have had; few share of the struggles and pain. Yet that’s not because there aren’t any in our lives or in this world, but because we often feel it’s wrong and perhaps immature to speak of this other side of our Christian lives. It is as though a good Christian would have it all together, his life all worked out. Yet non-Christians easily see through such an inauthentic facade. Many reject Christianity because Christians don’t interact with the painful realities of this world. It is as though the poverty, the suffering, the pain in this world do not exist – for they have everything they need in Christ and there is nothing more to search for.
A more realistic view of Christianity is thus needed. One that recognizes that while Jesus has died on the Cross, there is still much to be done in this world. There is still poverty, still sadness, still pain, still sickness, still suffering, still sin, still many things that will be eliminated when Jesus comes again. Meanwhile, as Christians we ought to seek heaven on earth, that God’s perfect kingdom come. We seek it, we search for it, we declare His Kingdom has come and is coming and we go about doing works that reflect that such is the case.
Here on earth, between Jesus’ first coming and second, we experience both joy and sadness, peace and conflict, love and hatred, order and confusion. We thank Jesus for what He has done on the Cross – the victory He has won – yet we realize the fullness of His Kingdom coming on earth will only occur when He comes again. In between, there is much for us to do. Indeed, side by side the joy and love and fullness we experience is the existence of sadness, hatred, emptiness, suffering, pain, poverty and confusion.
True Christianity acknowledges the problems of this world and interacts with them; it does not avoid them. It doesn’t declare it has all the answers to all the questions. It exhorts its believers to get involved in this world and not to be satisfied with merely passively waiting for the “pie in the sky.” It recognizes the necessity of both evangelism and social justice, spiritual transformation as well as physical transformation.
Such is a Christianity with enough realism to realize there is much still to be done in this world, yet with enough idealism to strive to change this world for the better. It is one that recognizes that on one hand human effort will not fully transform this world – only God will when Jesus comes again – yet on the other hand that because God’s desire is to renew and transform this world for the better, we ought to be part of His perfect plan and strive to make this world a better place.
Such is a Christianity that I’ve come to embrace in recent years – one which I feel is more balanced and holistic. Proclaiming that I still haven’t found what I’m looking for is thus believing with Steve Stockman that:
As I look at Rwanda, Angola, Mozambique, Sarajevo or Belfast city I do not see what I’m looking for. As I look at a Church filled with gossip, malicious lies in the name of truth, guilt building Pharisees, bigoted hypocrites I do not see what I am looking for. As I look into my life and see the egotistical, selfish sinful, husband son or friend I do not see what I am looking for… And so we look at Philippians chapter 3 and find St. Paul was a U2 fan or maybe Bono has read Paul! Paul finds contentment in the justification that comes in Christ’s righteousness, not his own legalistic finding of what he was looking for but then he goes on to to make it so clear that he hasn’t found the holiness he wants to find and that forgetting what is behind he strives on towards the prize. He makes it clear twice that what he is looking for is not what he has but that the gospel gives the springboard to head towards it. So my conclusion is that U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For” is probably the best hymn written in this century, it has the theology of the cross but is centred in the reality of a fallen humanity and is about striving towards a better man and a better world. Bringing the kingdom. As Bono himself said in a Hot Press interview a few years ago “I love that bit in the Lord’s Prayer about being on earth as it is in heaven. Now we could all do with a whole dose of that.” (Prophets or Christian Boys Who Lost Their Way?)
And thus this is what my website as well as my life is about. Inspired by the loosened chains that Christ has brought about through His death on the Cross, I cannot be but eternally grateful. Yet I also recognize that there is much to be done in this world. God’s Kingdom has come in the first coming of Christ, yet only in the second will its fullness be realized. Meanwhile, poverty, suffering, sickness and pain still persists in this fallen world; righteousness, peace and joy has not yet been found in all places. Life for the Christian in this world is to seek for that in all places, it is a striving to see the kingdom come here in this world, a search for heaven on earth. With a healthy dose of both idealism and realism, we ought to push on to reflect the love of God to all people – the love He has shown us 2,000 years ago, the love we now show to others who need to experience it this day.
P.S.: The above was written years ago and reflects my passion for social justice. While that passion still exists, I probably would write things differently if I were to write this “about” page now (2010). Beyond social justice, I’ve also become interested in missions, the message of grace and the practice of the supernatural (healing, prophesy, etc.) over the past few years. While God’s kingdom has not come in its fullness here on earth – and thus in that sense “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” – the Christian’s call is to declare it and bring it down on earth as it is in heaven.