Friday, September 21, 2007
Conquest vs Consensus
That, at least, is the initial image. Further perusal of the scene reveals betrayal: the castellan standing, guarding a door that is already open and the castle's gentle residents clustered around God where he stands. How could they?
How could they not? Who has betrayed whom? God found the unguarded door the castellan thought no one would ever use. Who, after all, would expect to meet truth in this world? After that, against whom has the defense been necessary?
God makes not a move against anyone. The gentle soul-fragments feel safe. They look over their shoulders, keeping a wary eye upon the castellan who has ever been as lightning and thunder in their lives, merely carrying on what was started years ago.
Conquest. Force. Beating. If you won't do this, well, do it anyway or we'll make you. No matter how big you are, we're bigger and you really have no choice.
Is God any different? He made the Universe and could certainly overwrite any soul He encountered. He has the power.
A lifetime's war is transferred to Him. "Here. You take it." Problem solved. Peace starts to break out. Then the real war starts, as the ancient foundation starts to crack.
No problem conquered is ever conquered. Conquering isn't the same as solving. You can beat them into submission but what happens afterward? Same war, new generation and new generation and new generation.
How do you really solve a problem? God humbled himself to start the process, incarnating as a man no one would look at who then gave up his life as a common criminal. After He did that, would he stop at anything else? There is no defense against that kind of truth except for pure obdurate stubbornness powered by fear. The traditional way to handle fear is to just toss the fearful one into the situation. "Sink or swim, Bud." Defeat after defeat, until accommodation is reached. I simply won't go there.
We're taught to pray for this and that. Trinkets. It's a layer of paint over the deeper idea that prayer is like pulling the "On" handle of a huge machine, or like crawling into the lap of a favored grandfather. Jesus didn't die just so he could give us goodies; what he really wants is to walk with us in the cool of the garden. Us. You. Me. All.
After I dreamed of God in that bare castle courtyard I dreamed "Justification." That brought up memories of Don Neilson's Bible studies in 1972. He talked about justification. It seemed a nice theory but what's that to me? After the dream I still had no real idea, but over the next few days, when I in an unguarded moment actually let God speak, He continued the theme.
I've lived with war all my life. The world seemed determined to stamp out as much of my soul as it could get ahold of, and none of the people I knew cared. "Oh, you'll learn eventually. It's not important. You're too sensitive anyway." I could have become like them. I could have become a screaming rebel. I could see far enough ahead to predict the outcome of both paths, and chose a third. Fake it when with others, be true when alone. I spent a lot of time alone. Even so... the suit changes the man. Get used to living underground and eventually light is just too much. Sensitivity is a burden when one lives in a big city. I got screwed regularly until I finally figured out what door that was using and closed it.
Defense is necessary. God comes along with new ideas, upsetting the long-achieved but delicate balance and things start coming apart. I can't live this way. God continues to call and I can't resist that, but inside I'm ever more strongly polarized. The castellan is trying his best to defend the place, but God is already there. And then the tender, sensitive parts of me just abandon the rest of the castle and cluster around God. Betrayal. They slip under the flails and guns.
What use has God for intellect? Justified, Larry. Why would He care? Long tradition, here. Thinking is always equated with trouble. Why should God be any different? Justified. I am just in God's eyes, as I am, fragments and all. No one has ever respected me for thinking, unless the thought is turned to the solution of an immediate problem. Maybe this is the common experience of people who think deeply about things. Well, part of the problem is always putting the thoughts into words: fleeting images, moving, trying to escape the trap of immobile verbiage.
Anyway, God declares me just. I can stand anywhere with no apology. I need not apologize for emotions, nor for intellect. Each side gained ascendancy for a time but there was never victory. Victory, for God, is something else. Both sides win.
How does one get there? It's not even necessary to believe in the idea of victory. Just keep walking. Well, yes, but I also need to be aware, and that's the really hard part. Most of the time I just don't want to know. I expect the worst. I know what's coming. God always surprises me.
In some ways the surprise is worse than the expectation. In other ways it's not nearly so bad; the fear makes it worse. I've always seen emotions as undermining intellect, like soft bricks in a stone foundation. But intellect is awfully hard on emotion, requiring justification that can't be made. Emotion is its own thing. God says all are justified. God says the lion castellan and the lamb emotions can look at each other, eye to eye, and neither quail nor lash out. What a dreamer He is.