We have to know about a person before we actually get to know a person. Knowing about is different than knowing. People magazine probably provides good examples of this: through People magazine, we get to know about all kinds of people. Clearly, though, we don’t know these people.
This post, over at Micah Tillman’s excellent blog got me thinking about this issue. Micah was thinking about the idea that Christians today are expected to hold many more beliefs than the apostles did. People who came after the apostles were the ones who put words to, and worked out the ramifications of, many things believed by the people who knew Jesus first hand. He made that distinction with reference to God: there is a difference between knowing about God and knowing God.
The thing I’m thinking about is that God isn’t really a special case in this regard. Any relationship we choose to engage in is one where first we knew about the person, and then we actually got to know the person.
Most of us would not be satisfied in our personal lives if we merely knew about our friends. But so many people settle for merely knowing about God, rather than engaging in relationship with Him.
On the other hand, if we didn’t know anything about our friends, it’d be wierd to call them friends. If exchanging a list of facts about ourselves was forbidden, we wouldn’t have much to build on.
Yet it’s also so tempting to merely try to relate to God without knowing anything about him. This other extreme, I guess, is equally dangerous.