Which guides can you trust?

Flying the old way, via hot air, Festival, Albuquerque, NM

Flying the old way, via hot air, Albuquerque, NM

Lately, I’ve discovered that some of the writers I like – and most importantly, some of the writers who are tugging my friends who don’t know Jesus closer to God – are writers that most of my Christian friends don’t trust.

And you know, there are plenty of writers I don’t trust either. Not if I’m asking for the full route from here to Heaven.

I find myself wondering, in this vein, how in the world Bugs Bunny (or anyone else) could have found their way to Albuquerque back before GPS or even those cool little Triple-A Trip-Tik thingies. Because of course, once you’ve found your way to Albuquerque, you never leave. So the only people to help you along are people who’ve heard about Albuquerque … people who’ve thought someday they should go to Albuquerque … people who’ve met people who are en route to Albuquerque … but no one who’s ever been there themselves.

So if you want to go to Albuquerque, you have a couple of choices. You can complain that there aren’t any trustworthy guides. You can gripe that the people who’ve gone to Albuquerque are obviously too self-centered to pay attention to people like you who just want a little attention and a few directions. Or you can get as far as you can with what help you can get from each guide you find, knowing full well that you accidentally could spend a winter in Toronto, a summer in the Everglades, or a spring planting wheat in Kansas as you follow their best inadequate understanding of the route. You could even overshoot and end up in an orange grove in Southern California — not an unpleasant error, but not where you had targeted.

None of the available guides knows how to get exactly where we’re trying to go. But all of them are trying with great enthusiasm. And we end up closer by packing the car and getting started than by sitting in the driveway complaining that no one has invented GPS yet.

How much harder to guide someone to Heaven! No one alive has ever been there, and the people who have sought to learn the most about God still know, at best, “in part” and represent “a poor reflection” of who God intends them to be (Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, chapter 13, verse 12). That should give us the freedom to know we can be mistaken, even when we’re doing our best to guide people to the most important place they’ll ever go.

So those authors my friends don’t like … and the ones I don’t like? They all have the same failing. They’re human. And there’s only one way to measure them. Not by my own imperfect knowledge, but by whether the people they’re guiding showing signs of getting closer to God and heaven.

God made Christians for: Trusting God more than we trust our most favorite writers — and more than we distrust our least favorites.

Related Articles

Thanks to Bugs Bunny, the web is full of posts, plus a game, titled “Which Way to Albuquerque?” Although what Bugs really said was, “I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.” Here are a few that struck my fancy.




About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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One Response to Which guides can you trust?

  1. There’s a pretty big goof in this post, but I’m going to correct it in a comment instead of rewriting. As a Christian, I do know someone who’s been to “Albuquerque” and back. Christianity claims that its God has lived in Heaven and on earth, and guides us today with that perspective on the challenges we face … as well as that clarity about how to get from here to there.

    That still doesn’t mean that we’re always clear about the directions we hear. How well does an ant understand English? My guess, not always so great. And while I’m pretty sure my cats understand me, they tend to have minds of their own — which means that today, the ironing board got tipped over and its legs tangled in the cord of a hot iron.

    I know I want to go to Albuquerque. And sometimes, no matter what God’s saying, I just want to jump up on the ironing board and see if I can see that shiny thing on the wall I’ve been wondering about.

    Listen for God’s direction. Jesus has been there. The Holy Spirit is right here. You can get to Albuquerque. God has promised.

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