So Somebody Put Out the Fire
Perhaps by now – for those who have read a few of my posts – you might think that all things in my life are in the hands of God, and He holds me with tender care and love. I do feel His love and I shall always know that He loves me with an unquenchable fire. I also know now that He must sometimes quench the heat of my pride in the waters that will temper my spirit to the strength that it must be in order to bring about righteous sanctification. I imagine He’d rather see us all sanctified than “purgatorified”, though I also imagine only a few Saints, if any, have ever passed Go and collected Monopoly’s two-hundred dollars without some time in the waiting room.
God hands out no free passes and the trials we face are good opportunities to acknowledge the good path that God has set before us. Suffering comes into trial when knowledge is in want and the lesson must be learned. We all have those moments, as have I, and one such lesson I can recount here.
Over the past year I had worked with a client on the design of her new residence. She had a spiritual mélange of experiences; Presbyterian, Christian Scientist, dabbles with Eastern mysticisms, and New Age encounters. From this all came a mindset that saw truths as illusions and it played viciously against my efforts to move our project along a path of reality. All discussion of design became subject to the most meticulous assessment of even the smallest of matters. And decisions made through this process were continually reassessed in the form of long lists of repetitive thinking that wasted time, spawned endless dead-ends, and endorsed illogical design-processes.
This process created quite a maelstrom for my spirit and there were days when I came home physically ill from a long day with the client. I felt an intense pressure being exerted upon my spirit to another course of belief. It was as if my client had the ability to directly interfere with my walk with my Lord; to confuse all faith and doctrine within me. Honestly, I sensed evil. Poorly, I had chosen my mind to deal with this trial rather than leaving it to God. Continue reading God Is With Us
“Blind as we are, we hinder God, and stop the current of His graces. But when He finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into it His graces and favors plentifully.” Brother Lawrence
In my previous post, God’s Work & My Work, I discussed those instantaneous changes in my life that God simply gifted upon me that early morning in January. For me, they were miraculous and transforming; a new state of being that was foreign, fascinating and salvific. To this day I find myself constantly reflecting on what I have referred to as the surrealism of my continuing path in life. Reality in my adult life was one of the physical. There was no spirituality within because I had been methodically walked – by my family experience and society’s push to relativism and enlightenment – to the belief that things not seen are things not in existence.
Now do not misinterpret what I say here. While as a child I was subject to the family experience without the capability to discern and affect that experience until of sufficient age, and then it was clearly too late, I was not a victim to society at all. I actively sought out the desires I found within me; taking them on as rights of being. As one learns, one acts; for good and evil. In the physical world, one only cooperates as long as it contributes to one’s needs. The world is very competitive, unforgiving, and seemingly indifferent to suffering. The world produces fear which produces sin. God creates things, and all things are good. Man creates choice and action, and in those choices and actions resides sin and evil. No, I earned my way into sin; one lust, one excess, one abuse, one indifference, one unloving act at a time. Continue reading The Order of Willingness
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