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Out of the Closet: Deceiving Ourselves

I have met many people who deceive others but I have never met someone who wishes to be deceived.  All acknowledge that they want to know the truth and do not want to be tricked into believing a lie.  Furthermore, no one I know is willing to readily admit that they may have believed a lie.  It is shameful in a way and exposes a weakness.  Thus most people believe that what they believe is the truth.

But many unwittingly do believe lies.

Our extended family is a bit of a mess at the moment.  A nephew who has dropped hints of homosexuality for years used his college graduation party this last week to fling his closet door open in the presence of all who love him.  He emerged from his closet and his relatives had mere hours, some only a fraction of minutes, to formulate a response.

One uncle, only hours before the party, threatened to not show up on moral grounds.  He did not believe that homosexuality was right and did not want to appear to be condoning it.  His stance appeared hypocritical and narrow-minded even to me who also believes homosexuality is wrong.  What made it seem so hypocritical was it was merely his opinion.  It was not based on anything besides his perception:  he didn’t think being gay was right but he viewed what he does as right, just because he felt that way.  Unfortunately, there are many other things in his life and in his children’s lives that others could easily point to as being wrong based on some vague understanding of cultural norms.  And there-in, enters the rub.

The rest of the family lined up against him.  Who is he to call the kettle black?    On and on the self-righteous tongue wagging went until all, either politely or pointedly, agreed that the nephew was not doing anything wrong by living a gay life style.  The uncle who refused to accept it was considered to be wrong and needed to be chastised.

I commend my in-laws, nephews and nieces for wanting to be open-minded about something that they are in many ways uncomfortable with though none of them are big enough to admit it-they contend that it does not pulse them one way or another but the fact that they had to think through it exposes this lie.  I suspect they feel rather good about themselves for being willing to accept something they themselves would not do.  They feel good about themselves for they have not judged but accepted my nephew for his differences.  More importantly, they feel SAFE because they have eliminated through their tolerance any possibility of the finger being pointed at them in the future.   They went home congratulating themselves for taking such a loving stance opposed to the narrow minded one that insisted some sort of moral line was being crossed.

As for me, I sought to remain outside of the conversation because it was obvious no one was really trying to figure out the truth and it was therefore pointless to enter the debate.  Each had assumed they already knew what truth is.  Each was convinced of it.  Yet obviously one of the opposing sides has to be deceived because both can’t be right.  The strange thing is, if I have any discernment at all, all of them on both sides are deceived.

We all want to know the truth but what we want more often is for our pleasures to be granted and we get all bristly when someone wants to stand in our way.  People tote tolerance because they realize what goes around, comes around.  If I take the high road here, they might come back at me with the same high road.  So they all agree to allow everyone to do as they please.  Yet we each have this unexplained need to live rightly.  The only way to do that and allow people to live differently is to remove any moral grounds and replace it with something different-what makes one happy.

We welcome truth when it is on our side and dismiss it when it points the finger at us.  When it accuses us, we would prefer to live in a lie than accept truth.  One cannot reason with a stubborn heart bent on pursuing what they want.  They will find a way to justify their course in their conscience because nothing is more sacred to them than achieving what feels pleasing.

The truth however is often uncomfortable.  It will make us unhappy at times.  We love truth when it enlightens us but hate it when it accuses us.  To truly be happy, one must love truth itself, not how it affects us.  Deception happens when we regard what we love to be truth.

The folly of my family is probably obvious to most of you reading this but my folly is probably not.  I have found that there is no thought that I hold dear that should not be minutely examined.  Where have I allowed myself to be deceived?  What principle, right or pleasure do I cling to so tenaciously that the thought of releasing them makes me ill or despondent?  Why?  Look closely at what you love and determine how you guard it and why you guard it… never assume that the father of lies could not deceive you, even you, holy and blessed by God our Father!  Be careful, circumspect in all things, lest you fall.

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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Discernment, Spiritual Growth

 

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Why then, do you love God?

“What am I loving when I love you God?”The Thinker

I ran across this question while reading Augustine’s Confessions and it got me to thinking. If you take away the pat answers, you might learn a lot about yourself, and God.

Personally speaking,

I do not love his form, the beauty I may imagine.

I do not love His bounty, in that He does not fulfill the pleasures of flesh.

I do not love his embrace, as the embrace of a human and the joy that brings.

I do not love the way He purposed my life to unfold, the trials and disappointments, the dreams left hanging.

And yet I do love Him, but why?  What draws me to Him like a moth to a flame?  What fills me with a love so complete and overwhelming?

I scribbled some thoughts down and the first were revealing.  I encourage you to do the same before you continue reading.  My initial thoughts I think, were the way my flesh responded to Him.  As I continued I found my spirit genuinely responding and it was a wonderful exercise.

I love Him because He makes me feel secure,

I love Him because I think He is the only One I can truly trust,

I love Him because I can’t corrupt Him,

I love Him because He is superior, His ways always outshine mine,

I love Him because He is persistent despite my failures,

I love Him because He is beautiful, but not in a way my eyes see,

because he does fulfill me, but not in the ways my flesh would desire,

because He loves me so intimately, but beyond anything carnal,

because He is love, and though I can’t explain it, I am drawn to love.

He is love.  I was created to be an expression of His image, not merely an object of His love but another loving entity.   In sin I found I could not love, yet through love He made a way to reconstruct me anew, so that I could love again.  And the first one that I should love after He did this, was Him.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Discernment, Spiritual Growth

 

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On the Lighter Side: Run for Your Mule!

stubborn muleForgive me, I can’t help myself.  Perhaps you can chuckle with me, even if it is at something in the Bible.

2 Sam 13:29 always makes me smirk. It reads: “And the servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded.”  Perhaps I’m just warped, but the next part makes me smile.

The king’s sons were panicked. They didn’t casually get up to leave, they jumped up and ran out the door.  If they weren’t fearing they were the next one to be killed they were fearing retribution from King David for being a part of the murder of his son Amnon.  They were freaked out and they knew that this tent was not the place to be.

Which brings me to the part I find funny.  If you were going to run for your life, how would you do it?  Would you dash for your mule?    Wouldn’t you rather kick your sandals off and run like mad?   Apparently I have a very stereotypical view of the mule. Panic stricken over the murder of their brother, the king’s sons jumped on their mules and ran away (at 5 mph)…

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Lighter Side

 

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The Light Bulb that Everyone Saw Before You

I shared something that I thought was marvelous with a friend this week.  It was a concept I saw clearly for the first time but only after intense and prolonged introspection and careful study.  Guess what?  They already knew it.

I wrestle with thoughts fiercely.  Even the most simple understandings I flip over and over in my head, examine, question and verify.  Often this takes much time, extensive reading and deep thought. I am the quintessential theologian, I ask why and how about everything and I tend to keep asking those things long after others are satisfied.

This is why it can be maddening to me to share an insight I’ve had.   After passionately explaining what I see and how I came to that conclusion, I look into the eyes of my hearer and realize that they already knew what to me, is brand new.  I get an enthusiastic nod, and hear, “yes, I totally agree” and then no more comment. If I wait long enough, they will yawn.  And I am left speechless.

Am I a dolt?  Am I just that much slower than the rest in dissecting and analyzing my beliefs?  It has happened enough that I expect this to be a possible response when I share anything with another.

So, of course I had to think about this.  How can others already understand so quickly what I have to spend years studying, though they are not given to that type of study?  After dismissing the idea that they are faking understanding (these are godly, honest people I trust) I’m left with the reality that they probably DO understand what has taken me months and months to come by.

How can that be?  Of course, they may have wrestled with the thoughts before me, but I don’t think that is the case in many of these situations.  So what’s up?

It's a sphere!

It’s a sphere!

Do you believe the world in round?  So do I and I’ve probably spent as much time thinking about it as you, which is pretty close to not at all.  Despite not thinking about it, I get it, we’re not living on a pancake but a hacky sack.  Yet there are those who have spent close to a whole career studying the round nature of the earth and how that relates to everything else in our solar system.  They get it, but on a much deeper level, not in a superior sense, we both get the world is round, but their understanding is richer.

One can know a thing on many levels- the deepness isn’t the essential part, knowing is.

Understanding “God is love” is a wonderful insight.  You may come to that idea easily where another must first deal with the problem of evil, difficult passages, previous paradigms, the concept of feelings and what it means to exist.  If you are as messed up as me you will probably first have to analyze what love is first before you can even begin to entertain the idea of God being loving.  Then you have to separate loving acts from the embodiment of love and on and on it goes.  After years of deliberation, the deep mind comes to the same conclusion as the one steadied on simple faith: “God is love”.  Though the thinker probably had already accepted that in faith, they have examined it so minutely that when they come to the conclusion it seems to be a brand new understanding.

So is thinking deeply a waste of time or worse, some form of vanity?

While it certainly can be a type of vanity and lead to fat-headed pride, the humble heart is simply intrigued and wants to understand because they are insatiably curious.  They have a drive to comprehend.  It is the artist in them.  Going deeper into a simple idea often reveals connections, patterns, textures and richness to the ideal that is difficult to express unless one has meditated upon it.   It reveals the story behind the title.  It is not a waste of time.  It is a blessing.

And so, if you are bent like me, I encourage you, thinking deeply can be a blessing, even if most everyone else thinks you’re a bit daft for marveling at the qualities of a sphere.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Spiritual Gifts

 

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Silent Tongue

goodfriday

Dare I speak on such a day?  I cannot.

(Oh foolish tongue!  What can you muster in light of this?!)

“Thank you Jesus.”  ……Pathetic.

(Silence.)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Quips from the Short Sage

 

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Lonely Soul: A really bad poem (you should read)

Lonely

So a phrase came into my head and I started writing.  After about ten minutes I became annoyed that all of my sentences had a cadence and ended in rhyme but I couldn’t seem to help myself.  Weird.   Anyways, I kept trying to rework it in my normal style and found myself reverting back to cadence each time.  I am no poet, heavens no, but I have given up on trying to express this thought in other ways.

Here’s my really bad free verse (?) -seriously- this is embarrassing, but if you read it out loud and pretend you are at a beat club, maybe, hopefully, it will speak to you.

It is an odd and sorrowful truth, that the more one is pulled in, and the firmer the grasp and will become, the lonelier the soul becomes.

For a season is entered where the pleasures and vices are habitually shunned and your comrades are found to be few, perhaps there is none.  You expose the wonders your eyes have seen and wait for the tug, the grasp of your hand, but the stare is blank.  The nod is there, but a suspicion persists that you did not get it, though you gave thanks.   How in the church, amidst like-minded souls, do I feel bereft and so out in the cold?

Then a Jonathon comes along… not many, it seems two, more likely one, but there he is!  And your heart soars for his soul, his presence, his tongue.  A kindred fire is a soothing balm, for the company of a crowd is replaced by one.

A lonely road, it is taken by few.  But praises!  Trapped in heaven’s solitude, I am not so lonely, I am filled, and I have you.  Time goes by, and deeper I go.  Peace.   I look and startle how one Jonathan has increased.

……Now you are hearing lots of snapping by really polite people….. In all honestly, I am coming to see the blogging community this way.  Blessings to all of you.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Nasty Life Laundry

My sister was arrested this week for two felonies.  All week I have grappled with how I am going to approach the very difficult phone call I need to make to her.

I thought quite a bit about the stupidity of her actions and the evil behind them.  Of course, you know where that led my Christian heart, right back to my own.  I can’t cast a stone, in the past I’ve done similar things and was lucky enough not to have been caught.   Which made me start wondering if I really got away with it Of course God knows my sin, I didn’t get away with it in that sense.  I have confessed the old and try to keep a short account of the new, repented of the whole lot, and I am fully convinced I am forgiven. Condemnation for it is removed from me because of the sacrifice of Christ and my sin is removed from me as far as the East is from the West.  Because of my repentant faith in Him, I am unquestionably forgiven.

My sister’s arrest was in the news.  Her alleged wrong doing is common knowledge if you happen to live where she does.  My dirty laundry never made it to the papers or the local TV news. So in that sense, did I get away with it?  Will it never be brought up again?  Will I get through eternity without anyone but God and I seeing the real me?  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Never Saw That Before, Sin

 

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