Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's of Man & What's of God...?

Just had this following conversation elsewhere ... I frequently share the truth-tid-bits that I find here, there, everywhere, in my daily readings ... sending them to a few discussion lists that I frequent. Some receive them joyously, hungrily ... others object, as they don't all have an overtly "Christian" flavor.

I thought I'd share this conversation, in case it helps anyone else to understand where I'm coming from (today, right now ... can't promise what I'll see tomorrow, LOL!):

She: I guess I am not understanding you, Dena. When I read the articles you post, it is usually written by man.

Me: I'll try to help you understand me, XXXXXX. I see that while we're here on earth, in limited-human form, the ONLY way we can encounter God is through the human-filter ... whether it's what another person has written (including the Bible), or what someone speaks, or what God says in my own heart ... it's coming through a *human*.

I see that God showed us that He could communicate directly, without human intervention, when He wrote the commandments on stone tablets. BUT - for reasons of His own, He has chosen to communicate through human beings ... despite (or perhaps because?) knowing that we are fallible (for He knows how we're made, having made us). He chooses to use fallible humans to communicate -- including in the Bible. Why? I believe it's so we would see the obvious -- that the Bible is not infallible/inerrant -- that we're not to worship it, that we're not to rely upon it, but that we're to use it, and the many accounts of personal encounters folks had with God IN it, to have our *own* personal encounters with the Living God.

Reading about them, in the Bible, whets my appetite for having that very thing myself. I am not content to just read about them. I don't want a second-hand relationship with God -- I want a first-hand experience with God. I won't settle for less. I can't.

The things I share are written by folks who are experiencing God ... in unique ways. I love looking for the congruent message ... so often they share the same message, even though I doubt that any of them knows the others! It's like finding God's clues, all over the place ... for He is everywhere.

I see/hear/sense God in everything around me. He is Omnipresence. He is All in All. In Him we live and move and have our being. There is nowhere I can go where He is not. He is the very Space within and between every atom, ... He is the very Source of all that is -- the very Energy that holds all things together. He is All-Truth, He is All-Life, He is All-Wisdom. He speaks through anything and everything ... He is always speaking. The question is, are we tuning in, or limiting our reception?

I cannot any longer limit my reception/experience of Him in just the scriptures ... nor do I believe that the scriptures were intended to be our only source of His truth. His truth permeates the planet, permeates all peoples. all cultures, all religions, all sciences, all realities. I THRILL to find the same truth He's shown me in my heart, in SO many vastly unique reSources...!

Once upon a time, I was afraid to venture outside of the Bible. I wouldn't read anything but. And then Christ started showing up in all the places where I thought He wasn't "supposed" to be. He IS Truth, no matter what particular manifestation it happens to be. I do not want to limit myself to what *I* think He should speak through. I want to hear Him, all of Him, in any way He chooses to speak.

The Bible is written by men. Humans. Fallible people, like you, like me. That's the only kind of people God has available to work with. By His choice. By His design. Did He inspire the scriptures? Sure! He inspired you, too ... and me. And all of us. We're all God-breathed. God-inspired. But we're not infallible ... and neither are the scriptures ... and neither did God inspire anyone to write that the scriptures are infallible, in the scriptures.

"Infallible and inerrant" are terms that man has given to scripture ... that's meant to be obvious to us -- so that we would *use* the scriptures (for they are "useful"), and *follow* the Spirit, who alone leads us into all truth.

The Bible itself (in the book of John) tells us that Jesus said/did more things than could be recorded in all the books of the world -- which includes the Bible.

She: I guess what it comes down to is God's Word is more important to me than mans.

Me: Yes, of course! But God's word is not the Bible. God's word (logos/dabhar) is that which He speaks to you, through the Spirit. Man's word would actually include much of the scriptures -- and much (most?) of the interpretation of the scriptures.

I encourage you to follow God's word ... but perhaps we can let HIM define what His word actually is ...

Shalom, Dena


marianne said...

Fearless, Dena. Good job. As I was reading, I was thinking....ooooo you are on thin ice here (hearing possible thoughts of others) I thought, OK....better chance to show that we can walk on water ;-) I'm with ya!

cwtpmom said...

Marianne, I had never before caught the symbolism of "walking on water". Thanks for opening that thought up. Walking on water is all about testimony, and it is our faith that keeps us buoyant.

Dena, what I most appreciate about your writing is how you are able to open and articulate Christian thought. I continue to learn from your writing.

I do not think the ONLY way we can encounter God is through another human, but one does need to know which human he can trust. I believe the Bible to be the word of god as far as it is translated correctly.

This is where we (Christians and Mormons) differ because we have the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit given as a gift at the time of baptism, as did Jesus when it visibly rested on him "as a dove". This wasn't a literal bird flying down and landing on his shoulder. Witnesses saw the heavens open and the spirit come down to him "like a personage
Knowing who the Holy Spirit is in relation to Jesus Christ and God the Father, is taught by a human who saw them, and it has made all the difference.

I have never lived outside the bubble of constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, unless by my own actions I have chosen to drift away. I really appreciate knowing how the spirit operates outside of this bubble, and you are the only one who is brave enough to first of all, identify it, and second of all to discuss it. I know the spirit does not resonate with anything Mormon and you, and that's all right. This is about understanding how it does among cultures, and I know it does, and has for centuries. Look at Michaelangelo's art, and classical music. Look at the wisdom in literature. The spirit influence is all around, everywhere.

chris said...

Ditto! I'm with ya too!!

Dena said...

Connie -- sorry for the unclarity (is that a word?).

I didn't say that we can only experience God through *another* human being ... I said that even when I experience God directly myself, I AM experiencing God through the human filter that *I* happen to BE.


My experience of God is filtered through my own mind, perspective, experience, abilities to comprehend. It's still a case of the finite comprehending the Infinite. It's still subject to my own interpretation of whatever it is I'm experiencing. Including my own thoughts about how God is *supposed* to show up.

AISI, we just cannot get away from the human element, in this life. But I don't see that as something that frustrates God (nor should frustrate us). Out of all the possibilities God had at His disposal, this one, this human-limited experience we call life on earth, IS the very one He chose.

So, it matters.

My goal is to move beyond conventional wisdom about it, and move into the radical/alternative wisdom that Jesus taught (and for which He was killed -- there's that thin-ice Marianne referenced...!).

My goal is to see the illusions for what they are (the ego-perspective), and to thus live IN this world, knowing about the higher rules of engagement. Much like Neo was able to operate in the Matrix, once he knew that reality was *beyond* the dream of the Matrix.

(great movie, if y'all haven't seen it ... I saw all 3 Matrix movies several months ago, for the first time, LOL! But right on time for what I've been learning! Would've been wasted on me when they first came out -- I had to keep making the kids stop the movie, so I could take notes...! "Mo-om! You're missing the movie!" No, my dears, I'm getting the point of the movie!)

Dena said...

Connie -

Thanks for your comments - I'm glad that I'm able to help you see inside of this particular "bubble-culture" of Christianity.

I love how you put that! Yes, each religious perspective is like a bubble floating in the vast Ocean of All Truth ... part-of, and yet perspectively separate-from the Whole. As long as we insist on remaining inside of that bubble-only, it seems to me that our view of the whole is limited to that which is merely reflected back to us, from the bubble we maintain.

This was my previous experience ... when I thought, because I had been taught (by man), that Christianity contained "all truth" (how laughably arrogant..!). My worldview was limited to what I thought I knew, what I thought had to be defended. I kept OUT the "much more" that Christ has for us, by insisting that I already possessed "all".

And each bubble insists that their perspective is the ONLY *correct* perspective.

I had to do something that seemed radically dangerous at the time ... I had to pop that bubble, and free-float. Actually, since I wasn't doing so willingly, God had to burst it open for me ... though He first wooed me into being open to "much more" by healing my perspective re. sex (so funny that God would do this, no?) ... which so rocked my world, that I was able to take the journey into yet-more world-rocking awarenesses.

Yes, it was my choice ... I could've clung to what I thought I knew. But, like Saul of Tarsus, it sure didn't FEEL like my choice at the time...! I'm thinking that God, in His mercy, wiped away the fog of what I *thought* I would choose, in order for me to see that my deepest choice, and His choice, were one and the same (& I believe that this is true for ALL of us).

Our truest/deepest will, and His will, are one and the same. Because we are One.

cwtpmom said...

Thanks for the clarification. I know and greatly admire and respect what you're saying Dena. True that I view all religion through the "nature of God" and "creation" bubble that I live in, but the rest of it is totally open-ended. We embrace all truth no matter where it is found. Our scripture is an open canon, meaning we believe God will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. article of faith 9

I keep getting the impression that you think I should burst out of my own bubble, as you did yours. I can feel at-one-ment with god. A few years ago scientists thought our Milky Way was the only Galaxy in the universe. Now they realize galaxies are numberless, as Moses said.
God showed Moses and Abraham pretty much all of creation so they could be the witness to all of us. What percentage of the OT was given us from Moses and/or Abraham?

This testimony is, for me, the difference between walking on thin ice, and walking on water. (thanks for that analogy marianne)

It isn't uncommon for God to reveal His word to special prophets. He did to Moses and Abraham. Why not to Joseph in our time? Joseph is the great paradigm of our day. He shattered the Christian basic bubble, and set people free. Are you going to continue walking on thin ice, or choose to walk on water. When you walk on water how do you feel? Testimony lives. It is real.

Dena said...

Connie - I'm describing my own experience. I can't tell you what you "should" do. From my vantage point, yes, I see that you're in a bubble. Though I see that your bubble is more open to other bubbles, than many bubbles (including the one I came out of) tend to be.

However, many of your posts seem to imply, if not directly state, that the JS perspective is THE hightest perspective. I sense you wanting others (at least us, or perhaps just me) to embrace your bubble ... or your group-think. I do not want *any* group-think. I want to follow the Spirit within, period. I want only the path that God has for me. I do not want to follow any other human being, including Joseph Smith. So, please feel free to share your own experience here ... but the imposition of any group-think is unwelcome ... and will likely be ignored.

Your friendship is valued. Your religious sales-pitch is not.

I repeat: Your friendship is (very!) valued.

wild will said...

I totally agree. I think Paul gave us a warning about his writings when he said "I am a pharisee of the pharisees". I believe that he was trying to say " hey guys I am kinda eat up with this religion stuff but Jesus is all about grace. Paul also said things like "Not God but I command ...." again I think that this was a warning. Most of the passages about dress code in the new testament have these "disclaimers" in them.

Also about the Matrix, check out the make and model of their ship. It's a Mark 4 something or other. As I remember it there was a scripture in mark 4 that was applicable. Also the name of the ship is the Nebuchadnezzer (sp?). The first thing we think about when we think of him is the whole furnace/ worship me thing. After that he caused all of his empire to become Jewish. It's in Daniel check it out. There are so many other cool things about the trilogy but especially the first movie. One last thing to look for and I will stop (I promise LOL). The parallel between the body, soul, and spirit. Body= machine world, Spirit= zion, Soul (mind, will, and emotions... My personal favorite definition)= the Matrix. Where is the war waged? In the mind. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood ... Elsewhere "We take every thought captive...". I am not claiming that they did it on purpose, but there are some very interesting "coincidences".

Dena said...

Will, those connections are FABulous! I caught the references, and made notes, but hadn't connected all those dots!!! (I watched all 3 in a row - whew!)

LOVE your comment - thanks!

cwtpmom said...

I downloaded the Matrix (1) on my computer last night and watched it. I'm going to have to watch it again (sometime) to make more sense of the connections you suggest. I think I caught the symbolism of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and Zion-the church.

Dena, I'll never get what you term "group think" in reference to religion. I find great security in the group, and comfort in what I believe. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, and as long as we are comforted by our belief, we purrrr. I apologize if my purring gets a little obnoxious. I try to only go where I'm led and as you know, "all roads lead....." :)

Give Mark a hug and wish him well. I'll keep you in my prayers. Connie

Dena said...

Thanks for the prayer, Connie! He came through fine ... doctor had to do quite a bit of "bone shaving" (I saw the photos -- quite a mess in there!). He had full knee reconstruction 10 years ago on the other knee, after an injury ... this one was due to the ravages of time, and apparently osteo-arthritis. Doc says Mark will have to have a knee replacement down the road ... but being athletic and a healthy weight, we could stretch it out. We shall see ... we shall try alternative methods...!

The hard part will be to keep the man down for the next 2 days...! He's chomping at the bit to hop on the stationary bike ... and can't WAIT to get back out to race-walking with me. We used to walk/talk/pray/solve global problems in the mornings (which is WHY everything's a mess since he's not been able to walk for months!).

I'm dragging, as I had to get up at zero-dark-thirty (OK, 4:30AM) to get him there by 6:00, so we could waaaaaaaait 'til the doctor showed up to do the surgery. Sigh. I may fade soon ...

Again, I appreciate the prayers!