Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Walking in the Light, Living in the Dark

Walking in the Dark, living in the light

Walking in the Dark, living in the light
Today as i blog, I once again think out loud. Much like I do when I pray. I start in one place and move across the map with my prayers and focus. In the end i usually sigh and say thank you God for listening to my heart and I thank Him for showing me some small bit of wisdom in the answers I get from His creation, His people, His Spirit. and His word.  And so now I ask again and again and again and I refine and change what I thought was “gospel” for today.....  until the next life class is over and it moves another degree left or right.

It seems the longer you live and view things, you begin to want to look and examine things more closely. One glaring problem with that, is that the closer you look, the more blurry things can become. 

Why the heck didn't God give us macro and telescopic vision in the first place. God knows he could have. Question is, would it have made life better?
I'm thinking not. Why, because He didn’t.  Probably because He knows power or the quest for power in any form, creates a struggle for...  more power. (Genesis....)

So as a person of faith musing here, i ask you, are you walking in the dark while  living in the light, or is it the other way around.  And honestly, does it really matter unless it’s a book, speech or sermon title that needs to sell copies and make some investor, marketing company or publisher happy?

We are products of many things.
The influence of parents, peers, pastors,rabbi’s,bishops,prophets,pundits,shamans, educators, abusers, manipulators, bullies, lovers, friends, enemies, raw DNA, chance and a smile from a grandchild.  
Our thoughts, beliefs, actions and opinions,  don’t they come from what we surround ourselves with.  And you say right about now, well of course they do you idiot.   Yea, I know it’s elementary, but it bears repeating before answering just about any question in your life every day.  For without asking yourself and reminding yourself “who taught me what i believe, and who taught them”, it’s hard to listen honestly and or respect another persons opinion, who just happens to be looking for the same outcome from you.

How is it possible for me to be right and everyone else to be wrong.  Is it good for me to believe my close circle of like minded friends are right, and the rest of the world to be in error. For my views of God and understanding of His scriptures within “my own” community of faith to be right, and others in “error”, and wrong.  Hey, I’m talking about “within” the Christian faith here.  Forget for the moment any other faiths or beliefs we may totally disagree with according to our user manual.  Over and over, in decades of faith, I run into intelligent people rejecting God on this question alone, “how can you be right and 2/3rds the world be wrong”?. 

Most believers answer with, “It’s Gods Word that says it, not I.  I didn’t come up with it, or think of it.   I’m just reading it, studying it and trying to apply it as a follower of Christ”.... but of course that’s based upon my teachers daily and weekly explaining of the scriptures to me, from within their own understandings taught to them in whatever denomination sect they were told “is” the proper understanding.

So with that said I posed myself a question..
How much of my faith and life for that matter is actually derived from taught, spoken or preached fear? 

From fearful parents or pastors trying to save us from hell, by “full understanding” of their understanding.  The life of "you do or you won't" or "You're only good enough IF”, or, “this is what the word really means”...   I'd say much of life and faith is certainly derived from this fear based not faith based parenting and theology.   After all, it is easier to tell you that if you step off the roof you’ll kill yourself, than to tell you it’s your choice and you’ll most likely break a leg or two and cost me time and energy in helping you heal. Easier to say death, hell and damnation, than freewill, choice, consequences and love above all.
No parent is willingly letting their child walk off a building to their death. But so long as they are under our roofs and we have to see and examine their lives every day, it’s easier to  rule through fear and trepidation than love, discussions of natural consequences and the long arduous process of letting people find their own way.  After all , I’d submit that if God is love, free will was His ultimate gift of love before the fall and again as Jesus was His free will offering of himself for us 

As mortals we’ve been taught it’s easier to put on one face in public and another in private than really tell the world you are just as mortal and fallen as the gang banger, dealer, addict, road raged, pick any color of skin going to helper. It’s just easier to say it’s black and white,  I’m right and you’re wrong and I’ll just stay in my like minded group.  You just feel better about yourself if you can discretely judge others with your friends.   But, in the end, you are not just living in a bubble. You are not just watching and guiding your children. They are also listening and watching and basing their future faiths and their values on every thing you say in public and do in private. 
How we doing so far?

When is the last time you updated your Last Will and Testament? I'm sure you hope your loved ones read it and "get" all you promise them.

Well in our faith of Christianity, we say God left us a last will and testament.  All that he left us and willed us is in there.  Old and New last will and Testaments called the Bible.  Man has studied and worked very hard to keep it,  in all it's translations as true as possible to original text. Our faith says that the word is actually living, alive and more powerful than any weapon.  We quote it, we fight over the minutia interpretations. However, we unceremoniously teach our group that the other groups are in error and possibly not really be believers at all, or for sure not filled with the Holy Spirit  if they don't understand it like "we" do, or convert to our higher understanding of it’s meanings.   Our fore fathers in the faith used to build castles for "our" group to secretly show others that we are good, that our steeples reached to God and they should join our club to find Him.   Now our castles are getting more and more diverse,  and pop culture in music and media rule the day along with fashion and play lists.
Believers are drawn to the spectacle of whats the newest and greatest like a fashion magazine.   We tell ourselves it's all to reach the lost.  We now try to be relevant, or contemplevant, or whatever the new "vent" will be in order to reach the lost. Really, doesn’t it begin with just being a neighbor? Hey, I’m lousy at it as well. Not standing on any pedestal here...

In our faith of Christianity, should we study to find the Bibles true meaning and stick to each scriptures meaning and fight for that original intent?,  or is the Word alive and flexible and can you take it out of it’s original context each day to illuminate your life, and speak to your heart and nourish your soul as living word?  You know... how many times have you had a question and opened the bible to find the answer in a remarkable manner ranging from serious to funny to damning to loving..   Prosopological exegesis discusses and studies "Who" said "What" in each scripture, "who" were they talking to, and should we be able to take those "who and whats" and put our own names and faces into scriptures meant for others long ago and spoken not to us? Many would say this is actually in essence twisting scripture to fit our own needs and desires. Sounds blasphemous to me.. yes? or no?

Suddenly my walking in the darkness seems more real. My living in the light more confusing in the light of my own understandings.. and yet, my faith grows stronger.
Suddenly "i once was lost and now I'm found was blind but now I see" , grows dim in the light of my study and haze..  and yet my faith grows stronger.

Now really, no undies in a bundle here. My love of Christ is stronger today than the first day I died to self and ego, bowed a knee to ask for mercy, forgiveness, grace and a new life in Jesus.  It’s important to understand that asking good questions doesn’t change ones heart.  And for all the people who've thought I was lost (over some doctrine or action) and now think I'm found (or more lost) in following Christ, I pray for mercy and grace as they follow that same star and hopefully never stop asking questions about the rest of the heavens.  Most of us have been to funerals of people who by all outward appearances lived  lives where most the family would say 
(that from within their faith) that that family member was lost.  Yet, at a funeral, you dig up any history of "faith" or church related stuff from their childhood and speak of their faith in whatever thread of the past you can find.  All hoping and trusting that in the end they truly were following Him, that in the end they really said “yes Jesus” and that really,  "only God" really knows, and we trust in Him with that outcome.  We trust He is just, and that our brother is in his everlasting arms.  Well  where was that love and grace and trust while they were alive? Was it judge and jury? Their lives and actions received our weekly judgements and verbal sentencing while they lived and struggled to find meaning. Now again am I saying I'm not guilty of this living in the light but walking in the darkness? Heck no. Guilty many times in my egocentric life of judging, forgetting first to listen to my own questions before passing judgement on their faith journey.

So forget about the Jews and Muslims and Hindu's for a moment.  Just think about all the Christ based religions you completely disagree with in your own neighborhood. Mormons, J. Witnesses, Full Blown Calvinists, Sprinklers, Dunkers, Jesus Only..ists, Prosperity Gospel Word O' Faith'rs and 150 others who truly  believer they are right in their four walls,  and you are COMPLETELY wrong and in need of repentance and a savior or two…

Do ya ever wonder what the rest of the worlds religions or people still looking and searching for God think of all our holy dysfunction?

Darkness. Yup, it sure is. Muddled and thick, and we've done a good job  of stirrin up the pot.  Hard for them to see the light amidst our own internal darkness of who's really right.  Well,  mortals we are and mortals we'll stay on this side of the dirt. Fallen and Selfish. Self-righteous and Self Serving. We give God what we want and tell others we give Him our all. It’s part of playing the part we’re told and shown how to play.
Does that make us bad? Heck no, but it doesn’t make us right!  He knows what He created and what happened at the fall for heavens sake… If He is who we say He is, He can handle a bit of crisis and drama, and He can and does love us in spite of what we say and do. After all He is our Dad. Our father, our protector, our defender our hero, our creator, our redeemer our eternal healer.  Do you really think he’s happy about seeing what His kids are doing? In free will and unconditional love I’m sure it’s pretty hard for Him to watch us play out this fallen drama.

So in the light of all that, how can we still live or walk in darkness knowing He loves us that much and wants to see us succeed and celebrate all He's given us?   So how can we judge our brothers and sisters on spiritual matters that we are unsure on ourselves and through life changing our minds on...  The longer we live and learn, the more the writer Solomon makes sense in the book of Ecclesiastes.

So what is the real light. How is it manifest. If we are correct and it truly is Jesus, then how do we embrace it as He would have us?  How do we take it in to transform us into His image so we can walk in the light without turning off the rest of the world...


yup, Love.

So you define it. First in your words then in His words, and in the totality of His Word.  We know perfect love casts out all fear. And since God has no fear and only perfect love, He is saying “I believe in you, I love you,  I created you and I want you to embrace an abundant life”. 

What do you do with that?

Can we say that to others?  “I believe in you, I love you and I trust in your heart?”

Pretty hard when some are told for many generations that you are the enemy and you are worthy of death if you don’t convert. I’m not speaking of Jihad I’m talking about the Crusades. It was sin, it is sin in any faith and it will always be sin. And will it ever stop? Is anyone ready to forgive the past for a future? Sure doesn’t seem like it looking around the world today. For sure Isaac and Ishmael will most likely never lay down swords. And besides being an epic tragedy, it was foretold by an angel in Genesis.

So what can we do? Become a few generations of pacifists and lay down our lives and nations for the potential future of forgiveness and peace? Be taken over by aggressors and bow to their gods or die? Some would.. I can’t.  

Freedom. Everyone wants it.  Naturally and spiritually. No one want to be shackled and held back. 
For all the flaws of America and the understanding and living out of our constitution, I’m a believer that it still has the best chance for most people to thrive and be all God created them to be. More chance for abuse? yes. More chance for personal errors? Sure, that comes with choice and America was all about more choice and diversity. Not diversity that says I have to believe what you believe or you have to believe what I believe.. Just be able to respect each other as people of faith, without the subversive under context to convert or Kill...  

 So how does each of us in our little plots of land mass move ahead and prepare for our real futures. How do we protect our loved ones and try to leave them a chance for an abundant life?  There will always be rich and poor, strong and weak, fast and slow, lucky and unlucky, healthy and unhealthy, living and dying.
What can we do amidst it all and through it all? 

Love. yup love.  Try not to abuse it, over use it, twist it, contort it and define it for our own gain. Be willing to say I’m sorry, Be willing to love another even if they believe nothing you do, be willing to say “forgive them for they know not what they do”.   You will be closer to God who is that unconditional love, you will be a brighter light and the darkness will not seem as dark around you..  as you walk in the darkness and try to live in the light. 

And, be willing and able to protect and defend everyone else's rights for freedom.