Sunday, September 4, 2011


Philosophers throughout the ages have enshrouded themselves with the singular question of (=), what it all equals. Descartes imaged that the equals of life might have been the ability to think - "doubt" - "Cogitae Ergo Sum" "I think therefore I equal something." Kierkegaard imagined that the equals of life was some sort of existence of faith, suspended over and above our "Fear and Tembling." Hobbes contemplated the equals of life being, "nastiness, brutishness and shortness."

But all people who have ever lived have wondered about (=).

And most of us know what the equation in life is. For all of us the equation is a little different. But we know the equation. It's always some variant of A + B = C. Or C + D = E, or whatever (I should probably warn you that I was never really very good at math. That's why I became a pastor). For all of us the numerical integers mean different things. "A" for some people is being unemployed. "B" for others is growing up in a single parent home. "C" for others is having a drug addiction. And the integers don't have to be bad or challenging things. "A" could be that you go to church. "B" could be that you like to garden. But what we really want to know is not what the integers are (that's usually pretty obvious), but we want to know what it is that life is all leading to...what does it equal.

One of my all time favorite books is Victor Frankl's, "Man's Search For Meaning." If you haven't read it (and if you haven't, you should), Frankl's book recounts his tortuous and awful existence as a prisoner and internment survivor in the Auschevitz concentration camp, just outside of Katiovits, Poland. Frankl discusses how the experience of being a POW left him completely bereft of any desire to live, or even desire to exist in a world that could harbor and allow such injustices and pain as Auschevitz. Frankl meditated on the complete lostness of his entire existence for days, months, years, on end, as his friends and family members around him all died. Finally, Frankl came to the great epiphany that the most important thing in life was "Choice." Frankl knew that he had a choice to live or die or not. And that in some way, his ability to choose in life is what afforded him "meaning" (hence the title of the book).

To offer a different title for Frankl's book, we could call it, "Man's Search for What it All Equals." And all the people who have ever lived in the history of the world have sought the answer to what it all...equals.

Solomon (SHLOMO), from the Old Testament is the most famous and eloquent example of a sojourner of the elusive (=). Solomon makes the bold statement in the beginning of Ecclesiastes; "Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless." Put into our modern formulation Solomon is really saying, "Nothing Equals Anything, Everything is Equal-less."

All of this really leads up to Jesus. When you think about it, Jesus is the ultimate equals sign. Jesus would ultimately give himself the designation of an equals sign. Jesus said, "I am the WAY, the truth, and the life." Jesus said, "I am the WAY...the equals sign." I am the equals sign for eternity. You and I (A) plus faith in God (B) = equals (Jesus Christ), (C) eternal and fruitful life.

So, what do you think? Book or no book? If you are reading this blog post and you are a famous publisher, I just want you to know that I have a lot more ideas to share about what the concept of (=) actually equals...

All For Now,

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