"Mystery isn't something that you cannot understand..."

The conversations in and around the denomination that I serve (United Methodist) are complex and, at times, frustrating. I expect that 7 billion people will have different conclusions/positions on the issues of the day. I was prepared for that since the times I would be in an argument with my brother as a child who each saw "what happened to the lamp" much differently (no matter what you hear, I did not throw the ball!) What throws me off is the relationship to mystery that we have. 

As a teenager, I came across a VHS tape of the cult classic movie "Clue". The 1980's were bold. If you are among the odd people who, like me, has seen this movie you may recall there is not an ending to the movie. For those who have not seen the movie, I should clarify - it has more than one ending. Like I said, bold.

 left to right: Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), Wadsworth (Tim Curry), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), and Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan)

left to right: Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), Wadsworth (Tim Curry), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), and Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan)

The end of "Clue" is what you might call a mystery - the irony is not lost on the filmmakers that a 'who done it" movie leaves you wondering "who did done it?" It is not a mystery because you don't know the end but it is a mystery because there is more than one ending. 

(Insert smooth pivot and classy theological language here so the reader makes the transition from a weird movie to spiritual formation...) 

Richard Rohr's book, Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, has a great little line near the beginning of the book about mystery:

"Remember, mystery isn't something that you cannot understand - it is something that you can endlessly understand! There is no point at which you can say, "I've got it." Always and forever, mystery gets you!"

Part of why so many people are captured by the movie and board game of "Clue" is the mystery. It is not the one answer, but the endless answers to the question of "who done it?" that draw people in until it "gets you!"

(Head nod to the reader that they are smart enough to see how this relates to God.)

To my fellow sisters and brothers in my believed UMC, let us remember that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are mystery not because we cannot understand them but because we can endlessly understand them! There is not one interpretation of scripture that is "it". There is not one version of the Bible that is "it".

My heart aches not when we disagree but when we reduce a mystery to something that we cannot know and thus become content with the first answer that "feels right."

There is more than one ending to this story.