We value and embrace mystery.
[Mystery] must be entered into… For we do not solve mysteries; we enter into them. The deeper we enter into them, the more illumination we get.... a problem is solved, it is over and done with. We go on to other problems… But a mystery, once recognized, is something we are never finished with. It is never exhausted. Instead, we return to it again and it unfolds new levels to us… We live in a universe permeated by a divine reality whose hem we touch when we encounter mysteries. (-Diogenes Allen)
If modernity waxed formulaic, it may be said that postmodernity is waning formulaic. Twentieth century mainliners put God in a handmade, gilded box; twentieth century evangelicals shoeboxed God their own simple way; charismatics, seekers, home-churchers -- whomever -- they all had their version of grab-n-go, portion-controlled God (would you like fries with that, ma'am?).
When the name of the game was Knowledge, we did what we could to tidy up the rough edges of the gospel; we rationalized, categorized, worked out our alliterative homiletics and matching three-point sermons fearlessly. When the strategy du jour was 'defending' the gospel (the gospel needs defending?), we hunkered down and constructed bulwarks. Airtight apologetics. Our authors and authorities plumbed the depths of God and returned with answers (by-golly)!
But Holy God always breaks out of our best attempts at boxing him up, boxing him in. He breaks out of our best-constructed apologetics. He offends us. He makes us stumble. He makes us eat his flesh and drink his blood. He embodies mystery. Beauty. Awe. Wonder.
Ecclesiax described an intentional return to mystery this way:
God is more than just a collection of rational propositions meant to be engaged by our brains alone. God is Spirit. God is mysterious. Mystical. We would not be in favor of nullifying the supernatural, opting for the cold, factual, scientific analysis that has tried to put God in a quantifiable box. We believe that God is beyond our finite attempts to 'box-ify' Him. Our best articulated theology is like a crayon scribble to the eyes of God. God allows us the privilege, the joy, of experiencing Him on His terms... we believe, mystical terms...
As we move forward "not having all the answers but knowing the one who does" we are freed up to take the word of God devotionally and for edification rather than as a database. We are freed up to echo the role of paraclete and come alongside someone who is hurt and simply be with them, rather than explaining the answer to their persistent "whys" -- and maybe we'll be blessed with community wherein we may enter as sojourners into further mysteries: the crucifixion and resurrection, the body and blood, the bread and the wine, the ascention, the mystery of the annunciation, the Incarnation, the baptism of Christ, the eschaton.
Cedar Ridge Community Church put it nicely:
We recognize that this world, life and God are all too profound and complex to be reduced to simplistic formulas or to be neatly packed and cataloged in boxes. We embrace the wonder and mystery of all of creation and of the Creator, and seek to celebrate, enjoy, and experience the goodness of God, that far surpasses our understanding.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ appeared in the flesh
and was shown to be righteous by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
and was announced to the nations.
He was believed on in the world
and was taken up into heaven.