God’s Biological Love – The Second-Person Relationship
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The second obstacle to the secularist goal, is the natural superiority of the second-person relationship over that of the first-person and third-person relationships. An individual is a finite creature in that he or she can only interact with others on an intimate and transformative level to the degree in which they can physically place themselves in contact with others. In the practice of second-person relationships down through the last several millennia, its evolution assumed a pace that permitted a relatively smooth assimilation into the society. For there to be true cohesion between the members of a society, there must be the constant opportunity to directly permit the gentle persuasion of the second-person relationship to overcome the individual inclination to self-centeredness. We call this liberty. However, since the late Middle Ages and on into the Enlightenment, where man changed the final cause for his advancement as a society through science – that of the final cause or will of God – to its efficient cause – man himself – our ability to communicate in the second-person relationship has diminished greatly; despite the technological wonders that have afforded us the opportunity to be closer than ever to one another. Continue reading The Rights of Evil – Part 8.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Along with Kathryn, I attended a seminar at St. Peter the Apostle Church a few nights back in Naples, Florida. The speaker was Father Matthew Linn, a Jesuit and healing therapist from Minnesota. He asked the question at the end of his talk, “Can you think of what you have been most grateful for this past year?
My answer was immediate and simple, and also a little shocking for me. “I was most grateful for the fact that God had revealed a truth to me about human choice and human willingness.” I say shocking in the fact that this realization seemed to come so easily to a person who lived his adult life not really defining gratitude, let alone coming to any conclusion on something spiritual and meaningful.
The result of this revealed understanding – in the physical – has translated into an incredible deepening of my spiritual relationship with God; His Word, and His will through the reading of the Old and New Testaments, and an intense study in Philosophy and its relationship with Theology. In the physical, it brought me an exercise routine this year – walking – that has improved my overall health, and has brought about a loss in weight of twenty-eight pounds. In the physical, I am being led to walk the Camino de Santiago; to fulfill the death of my past and ensure the life of my future in God. Continue reading Choice or Willingness – Part Two
It is January 13th, 2009; the day of my birth. As to events that first week, I did give my letter to Kim Sprague that morning. She read it while I silently watched, and I do believe there was a bit of mysticism as the common bond of God being in both of our lives became evident. I’m sure Kim felt something that must have truly been soulful deep; she had prayed for me and it worked! You see there was something that I had not been aware of at the time.
As I had mentioned in my previous post, Kim was attending the School of Ministries at New Hope, late in 2008, and through May of 2009. She had taken a class in evangelism and witnessing. In this class her teacher, Ron Rand, requested his students to list those family members, friends and acquaintances that each student felt they would like to see come to Christ. Kim wrote my name down, along with a few others. Ron then asked the students to select one from that list that they most wanted to receive salvation. Kim circled my name, and then she began to pray.
It is so important that you all know in your heart that you are in God’s service at all times. And that you can do God’s miracles as well and as easily as any Apostle. It is faith, and James addresses faith in noting that, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
What is being said here is that we are all called to something more than personal faith. Not to sit with our faith alone, but to put it into play. To make use of what God has so generously given us – our gifts from God – and to submit to God’s plan for you: in the service of your brothers and sisters. God used His gifts of love and patience – blessed upon Kim – to find a way for me to come home to Him.
Kim suggested church for the coming Sunday, and it seemed right to me. That’s what led me to New Hope Ministries, a non-denomination (Charismatic) church, where I would receive a tremendous amount of education over the next three years. Continue reading The Walls of Jericho
What I Was
This is the first real opportunity I have taken to accumulate my letters, notes and ramblings on the birth of my spirit – ‘born-again’ – as many would call it. Where is it in the Bible? Yes, in John 3:3, Jesus answers Nicodemus with, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Better late than ever, I would say, as my birth came in my 57th year of breathing air upon this earth.
I’ve always had trouble in adopting the term ‘born-again’ to refer to what happened to me. The simple truth is that I had no spiritual life within me; up to the rather dramatic call that God made upon me on January 13th, 2009. Rather I was a man of empirical evidence, logic, and reason. I not only did not know whether a god or gods could exist, but I couldn’t imagine why there would be a need for a god or gods, or even care about such matters. The meaning of life was towards the bottom rung of priorities, unless of course its contemplation could advance my goals. No, I wasn’t one of those totally self-centered, amoral humans that we all know. I had been told many times by various sorts of people of my good moral and caring character. Moderation in all things was my motto. You might say I was extreme about moderation. I could do good as easily as I did evil. I was pious as well as a sinner.
Agnostic? Certainly. Atheist? If pressed for a strong opinion. However, I do remember that at times I could spin the pantheistic formula for the world. God is everything; the ecology of community of all inanimate and animate things and creatures working together in wonderment of self and sustaining creation and transition. In other words, the term God is a condensation of nature in work, and an acknowledgment of nature’s omnipotence. Religion was scientific ignorance, and science is the new religion. It resolved all things without and material that this body and mind of mine had to work with in this world, except it had no answer to all of the things within and immaterial that left me in perpetual wanting of something beyond my grasp. Continue reading My Testimony of the Birth of My Spirit
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
In my last blog, I suggested three purposes for this blog; to witness, to evangelize, and to have discourse in both theology and philosophy. This blog is to offer up the reason for “Why now, this blog”? Why this particular time? After all, I have now been a certified Christian for three years, plus 326 days. Could I not have gotten to this endeavor as my new life unfolded; a blow-by-blow journaling of events as they happened?
Well, in truth, I did write quite a bit. Daily diary entries quickly became letters to family and friends, which gradually grew into compulsive note-taking of the books I read on Gnosticism, early Christianity and philosophy. By the way, it must really sounds crazy that a born-again would dive into Elaine Pagel’s, The Gnostic Gospels, and Sean Martin’s, The Gnostics; let alone venture about in the Nag Hammadi library. Reading the Gospel of John is heady enough on the spiritual level, without choosing to dance with the devil and his deceptions. But I did.
I also choose to read a few books and listen to an audiobook or two on the subject of God’s existence in the dawning light of man’s science. There are a slew of good books and good writers on this subject. Coming into mind are authors John C. Polkinghorne, a physicist and Anglican priest, as well as Willem B. Drees, Keith Ward, and Nancy Frankenberry. Also, the list of Christian scientists is quite lengthy and quite soothing to those who listen to the constant babble and silliness that somehow man learning about the ways of God is in itself a statement of the non-existence of God. Well, I did read and listen. Continue reading The Manual for My Life