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Hide and Seek? 12 April 2017

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Life, Role-Playing Games.
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In any RPGs there are certain skills that punch above their weight (indeed it was the offering of skills at all, beyond certain class-related activities in Dungeons & Dragons, that shaped the hobby, at least for me, into something beyond “kill the monsters and take their stuff”). Traveller even has the rather wonderful Jack-of-All-Trades, a skill that can be used to at least make up for a lack of skill, reducing penalties for not knowing how to do anything into something a little more manageable. Difficult rather than impossible. Beyond this though are those skills to do with perception, which tend to go by names such as Spot Hidden or Recon, allowing a better chance at seeing beyond the normal, finding those things that are out of sight or remembering strategically important detail. All of them are in some way synonymous for the challenge word of the day: search.

In some ways we have it easy when we are looking for things. The internet offers search engines (bringing to my mind not so my the one which has become eponymous, but older ones like Alta Vista, even Webcrawler – for which I was delighted to find that the logo is still recognisable!) webcrawler logoof far greater power than I suspect we appreciate. (Who now really has to craft search terms in elaborate Boolean logic?) Our email packages and file managers take most of the strain out of trying to remember the exact name or date to within a month, and free us from the laborious and fallible methodology of scrolling through every single header or directory. Yet even beyond the virtual and digital we have the old, but generally reliable thing known as the index, the encyclopedia, the dictionary or even the telephone directory. For locations we have maps of all sorts, folded paper or inconvenienced electrons, paper and virtual.

But what about the less tangible? True happiness? True love? The meaning for our lives, or the linkage to the realm of the spirit?arguments of scientific discovery

One of the great not-quite-paradoxes of the Christian faith, and yet still hotly contested (a bit like the nature vs nurture one of scientific enquiry) is whether we should use the language of finding God or being found by God, whether we search for him or whether he searches us out. “I found Jesus!” “Where was he? Hiding behind the rose bush?” versus “I was lost, but Jesus found me.” Scriptures may be found to support either position. There are exhortations on the one hand to “seek the Lord while he may be found” (and it’s counter, “thought they seek me, yet they will not find me”) balanced with the incarnate example of Christ coming to find us in human form, on a divine search-and-rescue mission (and then, at least according to John’s Gospel speaking in terms of them chosen to know him)!

Do we search for God, or does the Divine find us? Perhaps it’s all a false dichotomy anyway, the both-and rather than the either-or. It’s a bit like that old question about whether the pint glass is half-full or half-empty. Both miss the point that (at least from the Christian perspective) God is knowable, and that the glass is re-fillable. All I need to do know is find someone who’ll reliably re-fill my glass…

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