Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Church and the Gospel as a Jigsaw Puzzle

I believe that the Church and the Gospel can be described as the process of putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The border pieces are the "principles of the Gospel", while the internal pieces are unique "doctrines/teachings/current understanding" - which makes the outline malleable enough to be a 9-piece children's puzzle or a 5000-piece, double-sided mountain snow scene that is almost impossible to complete - all dependent on the need and vision of the individual believer. I believe this perspective of establishing understanding within a principle-controlled frame allows us to create whatever puzzles work for us (whatever constitutes our best understanding and perception at any given time), while allowing for further expansion as new principles are identified and assimilated.  

Furthermore, I believe puzzles can be right or correct or even "true" without being "perfect" (whole, complete, fully developed). If I am working on the river, and you are working on the mountainside, and someone else is working on the sky - each of our work can be right and correct and true, without any of them being perfect (fully developed). Each might be "perfect in its sphere" (which is a fascinating concept, in and of itself, and deserving of attention separately), but if one's vision can expand to recognize a vaster sphere . . . (kind of like the closing scene in Men in Black, where the world is seen as a marble in the hands of unknown aliens)  

In order to be totally clear, this is not religious relativism. I believe what makes The LDS Church unique is the sheer breadth and depth of its outline - the unending potential within a nearly limitless puzzle - the real and practical atoning power it unmasks. I believe the difference between that fundamental framework and its counterparts among other denominations is the heart of the statement, "their creeds were an abomination in his sight" - since those creeds serve to limit the potential scope of the outline and replace an ever-expanding framework with clearly defined boundaries. The creeds make the infinite finite - and that is a real shame.


Papa D said...

I want to add in a comment that I also really like the view of the Gospel as a mosaic - of a personal compilation of unique images rather than one image that ultimately is the same for everyone.

Joe said...

I think this describes the way I try to think about the gospel and the church as well. Thank you.