Monday, July 22, 2013

Final Post

As of this entry, there is no new content being recorded here, but if you find something in the files of interest or benefit to you, I am grateful.
Generally summarized, this blog contains topics and perspectives attempting to illustrate the following:
God the Father is not distant but within the Christian by the reality of His in-dwelling Presence, I may fully know righteousness through the work of Christ on the Cross; and I experience His deep love and express His authority through an authentic loving of others. I am comforted that this life and its injustice shall pass, and the government of Earth will rest upon the Truth and Purity of Jesus one day. In all things in the mean time, I know His Kingdom has come to Earth in my heart and share in the fruit of that wonderful state with and among my brethren fellow believers.

Applying the teachings of Jesus to life, I often referenced the Bible. My intent was not so much to teach the Bible as to illustrate a common man using the Bible. I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar nor a trained seminarian, and that is the point. A person may reach for and read the Bible with confidence that guidance for both every day living and the deep Truth of the eternal Lord Jesus may be found.

As an aid to the reader, when I have referenced a scripture the words are highlighted as a link to There, the full context may be read (started July 08; older posts lack this feature). The Crosswalk link used has an option to highlight the text with key words linked to a Greek lexicon entry. Very handy for getting to the root of the matter.

A biographical series which focuses on church authority is here.

May the Truth of Jesus ever bring you comfort and guidance for living!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thank You, Faithful Readers!!

I have decided that this blog has run its course. I will come up with one last post, and I have plans for another but differently themed blog to be started soon. "Soon" being a relative term, of course.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Overflowing Joy

Joy to you this Resurrection Sunday!

As I opened my bathroom cabinet this morning, a shaving cream can was in the midst of a failed valve. This picture shows the can with the main lid still on. There is a 1 mm hole in the top through which all this foam was escaping.

May the joy of the Lord be overflowing
this day...overflowing, spilling over, covering all those around you!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nature is Smarter than We Are

So humanity is at the intersection of two theories that cannot talk to each other. General Relativity, or the theory that explains everything larger than us, and Quantum Physics, which describes everything smaller than us cannot be put together. It makes no sense says one speaker in the video. The mathematical language which is the basis for both theories, when put together, results in an answer that makes no sense to science.

Okay. So what does that mean?

The greatest human minds cannot fathom what God has put together, perhaps?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An interesting article reporting on research that is somewhat connected to recent topics here in the Wild Wood.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Christian Response to Newtown, Part 2

Continuing from 01/17/13…

Though I didn’t quote this part of my friend’s letter, his thesis was that my position did not acknowledge the biological likelihood of genetically determined mental illness behind Adam Lanza’s actions. Therein, when I attributed his shooting of innocents to a spiritual condition, the rational explanation of why this happened was not addressed. My friend asked me to consider if placing the blame for Newtown on the fallen nature rather than the shooter’s mental condition failed to answer the true needs of this situation. 

“…if we ignore the REAL cause of his problems, by claiming that his actions are a logical result of our fallen nature as a species,…”

I guess this is what philosophy is all about. 
philosophy = the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.[1]  

"What is REAL?" is a corollary of the "What is truth?" Someone asked Pilate.

So spiritual versus rational:

From a rational point of view, I completely agree with my friend. The mentally ill are not supported or helped as needed. A practical response to the Newtown massacre is to look carefully at ways to improve how this larger system we call society responds to these individuals. I agree. I rationally get this.

Spiritual point of view: A spiritual failing of the society is to reject God, and thereby miss out on the REAL resource available to humans which is the depth of mercy and justice such an approach calls for. Our society will always divert resources to other causes than the weak among us until some tragedy demands we do otherwise. As a society, we fail miserably in the practical areas because we miss our potential. We miss our potential because we reject God and thereby remove ourselves from the influence of the Holy Spirit.

In his letter, my friend asks if ignoring the mental illness of Lanza and pointing to the fallen nature as a root cause of the event, are we not sinning against Lanza by casting stones at him and by extrapolation, the mentally ill? Three responses come to my mind.

1. I do not blame Lanza for his fallen nature nor did I state I felt the mentally ill generally should be punished for their behaviors which fail societal norms. I brought up the fallen nature in the article as the root of our collective fascination with sex and violence. Individually, I would have to accept that I am like Lanza and all other humans in a place of dealing with the fallen nature. This is something Lanza could not do. Is his fallen nature a causative factor in his actions? Or was a physiological mental illness the complete source of his irrational behavior?  God knows for certain; I do not. 

2. “Casting stones” in the context in which Jesus used the term is an act of punishment. The adulterous woman was to be stoned which was in line with law by which the Jews lived. One thing which is often mixed up is the difference between a voice which condemns sinful acts calling for punishment and a voice which calls for sin to be addressed. Jesus did turn to the woman--who was guilty--and though He had turned the improper judgment of those who would stone her into the mercy of walking away, did He not identify her sinfulness when He told her to sin no more? It is not casting a stone, that is to say moving to punish or condemn Adam Lanza (or anyone mentally ill) for his actions, to acknowledge that the sinful attitudes of the culture around him provided a context for expressing feelings he had no ability to process either emotionally or intellectually. 

3. Accepting the intersection of the spiritual and rational in this case, I see a need  to speak out concerning the spiritual dynamics which swirl through this and other stories of mayhem that occur in our society, while I recognize the need for and support rational responses of supporting families and the individuals burdened by mental illness. 

My friend’s position is not wrong, and my original premise of cause is not negated.  There is a unity in our responses that seeks inspiration in the revelation of Christ and takes action as a result.

The conundrums we face as Christians in addressing morality in an amoral, technologically advanced, and hyped-on-entertainment society is why I named this blog, Spirit in the Wild Wood.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Christian's Response to Newtown, Part 1

The last post on the Newtown massacre had an interesting result. People I know in my community have become aware of this blog, and writing some thoughts the last time brought personal feedback from exactly two people in the local community. That has never happened before.  It is notable, these comments were directly opposite of each other.

One thing I have learned in life: disagreement is natural and it does not indicate either party is necessarily wrong. Perspective and the concurrent subjectivity will always cause differences of opinion. None of us escape this.

One community member wrote me privately and one spoke to me at work. With the writer’s permission, I quote from the letter:
“I feel like this shooter in Ct. was deeply let down. He needed help. He clearly was not normal mentally-he was mentally ill. He had no place to lay his head.”

Later he writes:
“And if we ignore the REAL cause of his problems, by claiming that his actions are a logical result of our fallen nature as a species, are we as a society not sinning against him, casting stones that shouldn't be cast?”

I knew as I wrote my initial thoughts on the Newtown massacre, that the perspective represented by the above quotes would be held by many. My effort now is not to debunk the challenge of these words appearing in opposition to mine but demonstrate how these two opposing views are, in fact, in unison. The power of individual perspective is its weakness, as it states its case it often will not expound the complete truth.

For the sake of analysis, divide the topic of how to respond as a Christian to Newtown, into two modalities of thinking. These are spiritual and rational.

By spiritual, I mean simply accepting there is a spirit realm existent which interacts with our material life in ways that are both inscrutable and logical. Though the spirit dimension is neither measurable nor quantifiable and would appear therefore to defy logic, I accept a point of intersection between the spirit dimension and the material dimension which is logically understood.

By rational, I mean both a perspective and an identified system of thought:
1. the principle or habit of accepting reason as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, or conduct. 2. Philosophy. a. the doctrine that reason alone is a source of knowledge and is independent of experience. b. (in the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, etc.) the doctrine that all knowledge is expressible in self-evident propositions or their consequences.[1]

Many issues of today in the US, it appears to this author, are rooted in the dichotomy presented above between spiritual and rational thought. Western Civilization moved consistently toward rationalism from the Renaissance forward. At one point, this movement became so profound it is now named the Age of Reason. One patriot of renown in our country’s history, Thomas Paine, who helped stir revolution with his pamphlet, “Common Sense,” also wrote one entitled “Age of Reason.”

In the second pamphlet, he writes passionately about the problem as he saw it of religion hindering humanity by its lack of rational thought. We continue to struggle today as a society to balance the benefits of values which many find taught by religion with practical thinking in the construct of law and economics.

The author quoted above mixes spiritual allusion into both of the points he made challenging my last post.  “He had no place to lay his head,” are words used to describe Lanza’s deep estrangement from the world around him. The sentence is in my mind an allusion to Matthew 8:20 NAS. Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

In the second quote, “…(A)re we as a society not sinning against him, casting stones that shouldn't be cast?”  This is clearly a reference to John 8:2-12. My friend’s point is to call me to my spiritual roots as I examine the Newtown massacre and have compassion on the mentally ill person who has been victimized in a sense by the lack of needed help which made him and those around him vulnerable to his mental illness.

Next up on this path in the Wildwood, the unity I see between what appears as our differing thoughts.