Being a witness for God is a truly inspiring activity; a motivating, galvanizing, and reassuring activity that does affect all those who hear or read your words; see or feel the imperative of the body in spiritual movement. It is an activity that I never experienced until my spiritual birth.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
I have to admit that while the recognized term for a person who experiences a spiritual rebirth of the human soul or spirit are the two words “born-again”, I continually refer to my awakening and transformation as my spiritual birth – my real birth.
Witnessing is the simple act of communication on a spiritual level; through the physical expression of your mind and your body. The effects of your witnessing is also simple in its results; the transforming of the mind and body of others. I like to look at witnessing as a minor miracle.
At the same time, witnessing is a truly cathartic activity; a conducive, healing, and purifying activity that does affect the full measure of who you are as an apostle of God. It may be the most important of works that one engages in as they walk out the path of sanctification with God. It is as a prayer; a prayer that is enlarged, focused and delivered straight to the recipient. One could almost see it as bypassing God Himself, but I think we all know the truth here, and how much He is pleased with this adventure on our parts, for it is the essence of what God calls us all to do – to love our neighbor – and in so doing, love God with all our hearts.
So, to a point, this is the first central theme of this blog. I do believe that a new Christian has a particular frame of reference that can be fresh in its simplicity and lack of depth of the Christian ‘language’, and as such, it may be most valuable a witnessing to all others; especially to the person who lives in the world and without Christ.
This witness can be familiar words with new meanings for those who are secularists; both agnostic and atheist. I paint the stroke of secularism in this manner because I believe that everyone, at many points in their lives, find themselves on the balance beam; a slip and they fall. At those moments we all contemplate the scope of our lives and measure them against the possibility that there is more than just our fettered attempts at achieving some form of harmony and happiness. As a new Christian who has suddenly been handed a well-formed life from the potter’s wheel, and has found a whole new way of seeing things – a way to real harmony and happiness – I can offer my secular brother and sister an opportunity to take a peek into God’s world; not where the language is antediluvian and the doctrinal demands seem to be set on shredding all joy, but rather an opportunity to see a path by which one can walk in a truth that is motivating, galvanizing, and reassuring; and at the same time conducive, healing and purifying.
For the fallen-away, the mature and the cradle Christians, this witness can be a balancing that permits a centering, a renewed experience, or at least a joy in seeing a new Christian toddle about as a baby midst balloons and bright wrappings. If any of you have been a parent, I ask that you close your eyes for a moment, and bring the vision of your first child into your mind. He or she is but one year old, fears bring tears, and you find your child nestled in your arms as you walk about; consoling and encouraging as you go. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a real tear-jerker for me. Love does that. God does that. That’s the agape that brings God to clarity, and demonstrates a perfect reality in this world that Plato’s forms could never do. For these Christians my witness is the light on the lampstand.
Out of all witnessing comes evangelization, and this is my second central theme for this blog. I have had the opportunity to evangelize through mission activities that have kept me close to home and has taken me into other countries. I have done this both through my first church, New Hope Ministries in Naples Florida, and through outside ministries like Patricia Hilliard Ministries, Love-a-Child in Haiti, and Living Water Teaching in Guatemala. I have spent time in fund-raising, produced videos, promoted missions, started new programs, dispensed Christmas gifts to Mayan children, and stood at the lectern delivering the word of God. It has all been revelational, growth-inspiring, and amazingly spiritual to say the least.
The Philosophy of Theology
As a new Christian I am poor at my sound doctrinal apologetics, and very poor at scripture. Kathryn, my wife will be much my source when I am in need of remembering from where a particular verse came. What I can do though in great abundance is discern God’s truths. I have always held this gift within me, and quite frankly, it contributed greatly to my inability to witness during my entire life as an adult. My gift created a festering loneliness that bred more the hermit than it ever did the leader. Now you ask how this can be, and the answer is simple. I always knew the answer I had was the wrong one. My answer was always a physical prescription for this world, when something always told me the truth laid elsewhere. I just didn’t know where.
And this brings me to my third central theme for my blog. While other Christians read the books of the Bible, the letters of the great Fathers of the Church, and the latest self-help book from evangelists like Joyce Meyers and Myles Munroe, I have found nourishment in the studies of early Christianity, Gnosticism, and the ever evolving world of philosophy – from Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, up through Augustine and Aquinas, onto Descartes, Hume, and Kant, and thrusting into Hegel, Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Frankly, my favorite is Alasdair MacIntyre. His 1981 book, After Virtue, is a look at the dysfunctional qualities of our society’s moral discourse. Thank the Lord I have only lightly read on any one of them. Foundational thought is fascinating, though brain exhausting.
The point here, of this instinctual pursuit of mine, is that I fundamentally seek the ground floor of all things that can be understood. As a designer, I break form & function down to its very components and make few assumptions on how to rebuild a design element I have recently deconstructed. Each rebuild is necessary to its purpose; giving change to and variance to all rebuilds. I like to know the limits in order to know the center. I relish the discourse in order to assess the truth. I believe theology and philosophy is the study of one common God.
In so saying, I encourage all who might wish to comment to please challenge. I am a new Christian, not a Doctor of Philosophy or Theology. I will venture into waters of darkness just to see how dark they can be. It does not mean I find those waters either attractive or acceptable. It just means that for Jesus to have us all walk upon those waters someday, that we at least give them a cursory look before stepping out of the boat.