“I should like to change the name ‘seekers’ to ‘explorers.’ There is a considerable difference there: we do not ‘seek’ the Atlantic we explore it. The whole field of religious exploration has to be explored and has to be described in a language understandable to modern men and women.”~Ole Olden, 1955
When I think about it seeking seems to mean that I’m looking for something, that I haven’t yet encountered what it is I’m searching for, but I’m on my way to encountering it. If I’m seeking Lake Michigan when I find it the search is over, but if I were to explore Lake Michigan the discovery will continue until I want to stop. Exploration is a more difficult path than seeking, because it requires a certain amount of child-like curiosity and a willingness to give up on expectations.
I’ve always been an explorer, and have never been much of a seeker, mostly because I don’t see the point in it. For me seeking means that once I find what I need the journey is over, I can settle down with my new found philosophy and never have to question anything ever again. I can’t accept that. My life is ever moving and ever evolving without an end in sight. Exploration allows me to examine my personal philosophies and see what exactly I believe, and if necessary, remove those aspects of my life that might in some way be harmful to me or to others.
As seasoned explorers we must travel with a compass, for me this compass is contained within the testimonies. They give me a ground with which I can view the new territories that I venture into and help me to figure out what parts of myself I might need to examine. They aren’t so rigid as most religious doctrines that might narrow my vision, but instead represent the fruits of a life focused inward and in the end help me to translate my love into my outer life no matter where I might explore.
"This compass is contained within the testimonies."
But doesn't limit the available territory, then!
Yes! And Jim, you are so right about not being able to explore something that hasn't been discovered!
Might I also note that explorers go out seeking what they believe must be there, without knowing exactly what they might find. Think of Columbus seeking India, not to mention explorers seeking the southern tip of Africa or the Northwest Passage. They had tools--language and understanding--but no other map. And in that sense they were very much seekers, even though we might not call them that.
I am not sure this analogy works, however. If one is "exploring," those maps are important, but you may have been given the maps by other people. You build on previous knowledge. Without language (maps), you have a blank slate and no language to explain what you are looking FOR, let alone what you find, or, more importantly, What has found YOU. The Northwest Passage didn't seek us and never will.
Take it from a born&bred agnostic who couldn't figure out what was pursuing her. I needed to learn from others, in adulthood, in order to make sense of my experiences--something that people who grew up with church teachings didn't have to learn from scratch. It was only through these maps from others that I learned that something was Seeking (actually, pursuing) me. Only then could I seek God.