Friday, November 25, 2005
Clifford Simak, in "City," suggests that it's an ability of people see accurately through the words and other limitations to the real concepts in another person. The story grows around a particular system of philosophy that humans might some day achieve. It's a good idea.
We already have what we need to do this. He's the Holy Spirit.
Sandra, in a recent Blog entry, talks about being transformed. I left a comment there that I hoped would add some light to what she said. Another person left several comments, one of which criticized me for being so noisy in my talking about God. Perhaps I'm using the noise to cover up that deep hole? Whitewash over the rotten fence?
It's a good question, and I'm the questioning type. How do I know God is real? We all have ways of finding things we trust. Reality is what doesn't change when you quit looking at it.
At the same time, I suspect that if my beliefs were more fashionable I wouldn't be criticized. If I trumpeted a nice melange of New Age and shamanistic ideas and gave it a fancy name, it would be seen as a fascinating presentation of ideas rather than as proselytizing. Truth is a hard thing to contain within words and communicating it requires work from both the sender and the receiver. As Erwin said last Sunday, quoting someone else, "You can't see it if you don't believe it."
We're very well trained to see things as our world expects. To deviate from that is to risk becoming an outcast. There's even a caste of proud outcasts who conform to the ideas of the other outcasts. To walk with Jesus is to be guided away from all such comforting holes to drop into. He teaches me to stop, look, and see the truth.
Communicating it is something else. I try to state events and situations as clearly as I can, but any such effort is well beyond what our short-attention-span world encourages. You just have to keep to your course, stay true to what Jesus teaches, as he himself stayed true to what his Father taught him. That's all I can do.
Finding truth is an interesting proposition. Truth itself rarely changes, but its face changes as I change and circumstances around it change. Truth doesn't mind being tested, compared to other things to see if the pattern of change, or the pattern behind that pattern, changes in a way that squares with observed reality. That can be compared to the reality that God himself has presented in his Word and also shows in how our world works underneath the human level.
I don't know why this is so important to me. I need to know why an answer is true, why it works. This is handy in my job as a troubleshooter, but it's rather difficult in places like churches. The real problem with off-the-shelf answers is that I have no idea how to fix them when they break. If I understand them I can fix them, or find a new one. More trusting people probably do better with listening to others and accepting what they say. I hold everything in abeyance until various pieces come together, or not. If not, I toss the whole load.
Why am I so vociferous in describing my relationship with God? Because I'm still here, and the simplest explanation for that is his direct involvement in my life. It's OK to talk about answers that work in fixing computers or cars. Why not spiritual matters? If I talk about the answers God has given me, now I'm pushing an agenda. I don't see it that way. I'm not ashamed to be a follower of Jesus. I'm rather shamed that my techniques for living have failed so badly--it's a stain on my self-reliant principles--but I am still alive. I've learned thereby that I was never designed to be independent. Better to be alive and ashamed than go down holding fast to principles that just don't work.
What Jesus teaches works. This is a pearl of great price in world that cherishes pretty illusions wrapped up in fancy words. Jesus' love for us never changes. His love is no metaphor, but it's so big that it doesn't fit any words very well. The only way to learn it is to ask Him to teach you, to open your eyes.
All I can do is tell the truth as best I can.
I just think it's intersting, people's double standards when it comes to talking about God. Why is it that the one God who is really there is assumed to be fake, and the gods who roll over themselves in promises but never do anything but give people an excuse to use their own bootstraps get all the air time?
Those of us who've run out of bootstraps have to find real answers.