Intellectual bankruptcy –
that’s what I reach
When the grey matter
runs out of steam
plain to be seen
Not far to go
ought to do
– to show
clearly we are through
our ‘great capacity’…
– a dud –
– a damp squib –
Running out of breath
Breath easy – at the infinite
Speak easy – to the infinite
Because a listening ear
But only as we bow
and give way
How can we do otherwise?
Wise in our own conceits
will never do
Obvious to me.
Obvious to you?
We need the lover
of our souls
to make us whole
From without – to within
Jesus knocks at the door
And brings the preparation
of the gospel of peace
To finiteness –
Infiniteness gives His words
To rebuke –
to love – to comfort – to save
Infinite – finite
Infinite – mingles with the finite
’til one gives way
You lose the chess game
You have never
than what is supplied by
the Infinite One
the Only Begotten Son.
There are many, what we call, negative attitudes carried by all kinds of different people, from all walks of life.
To counteract this there is a ‘brand’ of Christianity that tries to go the opposite direction.
It propagates a positive-speech only message.
Everything must be said in a non-corrective fashion. We mustn’t use any words that give the idea that we are excluding people from the camp.
Everyone should be embraced with the understanding that we all need the Grace of God.
Never point out sin, or give people the impression that you are not an understanding person. That you don’t have sympathy and empathy for them.
Don’t preach at people, accept them just as they are. Give them mental massages, rather than mental messages.
Don’t mention their faults, in case they feel rejected.
Preach lesson 56 in the book of 100 lessons, don’t start at lesson one, per chance it’s something that has a hint of fault finding in it.
Teach them straight away from the spiritual ‘University’ curriculum. Don’t start at the spiritual ‘Primary School’ text books, per chance they feel – you are saying they are ‘stupid’.
What’s that? ‘They have never visited a Christian – ‘school of thought’ – at all?’
Doesn’t matter, throw them in at the deep end of the pool, don’t start by demonstrating the swim strokes, lest they feel disqualified from the Olympic swimming team standards, feeling inadequate because they don’t measure up, through you – pointing out – what they are doing wrong.
This approach says – being positive must not allow the antithesis. Start with adhering to the premise that there are no negatives.
“People need loved not corrected”, is usually how it goes.
And so as this approach to Christian preaching and teaching takes place, (with no balance to it) ‘spiritually’ spoilt children are raised, who have no spiritual backbone and end up flighting from local church to local church. They move around looking for a fresh ‘massage’. (Romans 16/18)
An example of a response from those used to the positive affirmation only message might be: (e.g.)
“Someone told me that they preferred the coat I wore last week than the one I’m wearing now. So I’m out of here. I don’t need that kind of negative talk!’
A lot of this ‘positives only’ kind of teaching/preaching stems from the idea that we must accept people exactly as they are, after all if it wasn’t for the Grace of God, in accepting us, how could we possibly stand?
This is true.
But God has accepted born again believers with the purpose of raising us into maturity, in our walk with Jesus.
To do this He wants to change us. The key to growing in a right way, is knowing how to appropriate the message of God’s grace properly, through our experience of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
However the very fact He wants to change us, incorporates the idea, that we are needing to be changed from something to something, in the first place. (II Corinthians 3/18)
It involves a purging process. We cannot be changed from sinful behaviour to that which is acceptable with The Lord God – if we don’t know what the negative behaviour is – that we are meant to be changed from, – in the first place.
We should not sit as ‘holier than thou…’ in our heart attitude to our fellow man. We all need to experience change together. (Isaiah 65/5).
But there is something missing in the ‘positive only’ message, that brings us out of balance into a lop-sided pseudo Biblical stance.
Immediately someone tries to point out what is wrong with others, they are labelled a ‘legalist’, accused of standing with the devil and so on, (and believe me I have had my fill of real legalism).
They get labelled ‘self-righteous’, throwers of stones that they should throw at themselves.
‘Judge not that you be not judged’ is conveniently pulled out of the ‘positive only’ storehouse – a scripture they use not to inform but rather (contradicting their own ethos) to accuse with.
And in reaction to the man who wants to point out that sin is a real problem, that needs sorted (he admits – starting with his own sin first) – low and behold those who are positive thinking (dare I say it – ‘junkies’) start to accuse the same man in language they claim to have previously found abhorrent.
Failing to realise that they are now suddenly in violation of their own positive-only stance, by pointing out (negatively) – the faults of those who point out faults!
The point is – life is both positive and negative. Let’s be real. That’s not only a good place to start – but the only place to start.
Sin is man’s problem and dilemma – to overlook the existence of sin and rebellion and selfishness, to overlook that the world is in, and has always been in – a mess – through rebellion against a Holy and Loving God, is the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ blindness scenario, (a future post on this to come).
NB: The negative (to be pointed out) is sin and the positive is goodness, (the goodness of God) – per chance this (in the context of this post) needs to be clarified.
Now let’s pause here and mention another ‘brand’ of Christianity: The hard-nosed, often hard hearted, religious Pharisaism of legalistic and hell imposing judgementalists, who consider they are specially chosen to condemn the world to hell on God’s behalf.
They condemn everyone and anyone who does not conform exactly to their particular Manifesto.
Condemning and dismissing all and sundry. Imposing the sentence of death and annihilation on anyone who dances on a dance floor, or takes a little wine for their stomach sake, or tries to look clean and well dressed, (such vanity they would claim).
They are they – who strain at gnats and swallow camels, (Matthew 23/24).
Who live in a demonic dictatorship mentality, where they sit as ‘judges of all the earth’. They are ‘soaking wet’ with – ‘cultish’ manipulation and control, with no desire to set anyone free from anything.
But rather they are religiously (hell) bent on getting others to join them and become ‘exclusive’ as the elite propagators of a death cult. (take your pick with regards to what such groups choose as their label, Christian or otherwise), (Matthew 23/15).
So what is missing in these two ‘brands’ of Christianity? (we could mention other religions that pretty much fit these descriptions also).
In the first ‘brand’ there is shallow acceptance, easy believe-ism, addressing their audience as though there is no problem whatsoever, and they are free to join the ‘love-feast’. You are accepted and there is no need to change.
The other ‘brand’ have outward-conformity rules that all must strictly adhere to, there is no promise of ‘Life and life more abundant’. (John 10/10)
Only adherence to their narrow-minded religious rule book, will bring acceptance. Step out of line once – and there you go – on your way to hell again.
(There is such a place as hell, make no mistake, but who is going there, is alone decided by the judge of all the earth, who will do what is right). (Genesis 18/25).
So the obvious word that comes to mind when addressing ‘what is missing’ in both these messages is the word balance.
The term ‘A word in season’ refers to a word that is right for the situation it addresses.
(Proverbs 15/23) -A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
The knowledge we communicate whether negative truth or positive truth, is dependant on the need of the hour.
I needed badly to hear that I was a mess (the negative truth). Before I could reach out for the delivering hand of Jesus Christ. He took me out of my ignorance and unbelief through sin, – into the truth and experience of His Glorious Gospel of Peace (the positive truth), (Romans 3/23) (John 3/16).
I am so thankful for His Saving Grace, that even when I was DEAD in trespasses and sins – He came to point it out and positively offered me his love and companionship, supplying His liberating changing ability to set me free from the dominion of my own selfishness. (Romans 6/14).
Having begun in a relationship with Him – I will not be made perfect by my own unaided willpower, but rather through a personal daily relationship with Him. (Galatians 3/3).
I am so thankful that I saw the need to be guilty first (the negative truth) before I could lose my guilt, as the highest authority in the universe forgave me (the positive truth), (Romans 3/19) (I John 1/9).
Dictionary definition of –
a quality of mystery, glamour, or power associated with someone or something: the mystique surrounding the monarchy.
• an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialised knowledge.
There is a mystique that is created around certain individuals, cultish groups, or religions.
It is the part (copied and pasted below) of the above dictionary definition that I have in mind:
• an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialised knowledge.
An air of secrecy that can baffle those who seemingly do not have this (person’s) specialised knowledge.
To manipulate or control the minds of cult followers, this aspect of ‘specialised knowledge’ is propagated in the ears of the followers by the ‘guru’ figure who seeks unquestioning obedience.
This can lead to bazaar acts of subservience to the leaders wishes. This deception can illicit blind loyalty which can be expressed in all kinds of ways, inclusive of sexual deviance, all cultivated by an idea that this person has superior knowledge, outside the norm.
Often these individuals claim god-given enlightenment, and that they are ‘special’.
That they are cut from a ‘superior’ cloth than the rest of mankind. And therefore unfaltering and un-altering obedience is the obvious response to this superior being – (don’t think so).
For everything that is one hundred percent genuine in the life of The Lord Jesus Christ – there is an exact deceptive copy.
You name them and you will find that – for every genuine attribute of His – there is a false alternative.
There is a false pseudo version of all He is. And all of His wonderful attributes are claimed – to be also found in many false Christ’s or cult leaders who deceive others into the kind of sick subservience they demand.
Jesus does not violate the free gift of volition he has given to all of mankind. The free gift of ‘free-will’. The power of choice.
In the interests of destroying what destroys – He will eventually step in and wind things up for good.
This will come in His timing and no one knows the hour or the day that this will happen.
But only then will He completely overrule the free-will of man from His standpoint of infinitely superior wisdom, and in the benevolent interest of all of His creation. Responding in pure righteousness to the litany of sinful wrong decisions since time began.
In the light of all of this – it is important that we (as the scripture says:) ‘believe not every spirit’. (I John 4/1)
But the Christian gospel is brought to us by God (who is a Spirit) and unfortunately many will believe the lying manipulation of deceivers who claim – ‘Lo here is the Christ or there is the Christ…’ (Matthew 24/23)
All done to usually seek some kind of advantage over their followers for their own gain and the feathering of their own nest. (Unfortunately this can creep into the Christian church also).
Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ it was said of Him – that ‘No man ever spoke like this man’ (John 7/46)
He was and is the Son of God.
He was one-hundred-percent genuine. In Him was found no sin.
Many however – were the accusations railed against Him. The accusations were false. But He was/is true.
Unfortunately no one can claim His spotless, blameless character/nature. Because all have sinned and fallen short of His glory and standard.
All includes you and I.
And so to claim in light of what I have just written that I can claim to have knowledge that is not common to all, might at first sound like a contradiction to the above paragraphs.
Lining myself up to be tarred with the same brush as those referred to above.
But consider the words of God and what He claims for His followers –
Addressing His followers –
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
God desires Christians to have and therefore supplies knowledge of His will – and the point I’m making in the context of this post – He therefore supplies/makes available – wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Not everyone has that wisdom and spiritual understanding filling them.
But it is offered to Christ’s followers, and is part of their inheritance as believers.
This is not given to make us superior or to court the blind obedience of others, but it is something that is God-given, and sets us apart from others, through the gift of God, and His unearned favour.
Here we read of this understanding that He has given us.
It has been given by revelation. The Son of God has come and given us an understanding.
There was a time when we didn’t have it – like many who still don’t. But then the Holy Spirit entered our lives and He has ‘given us an understanding…’
1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Listen too, to what the Apostle Paul says:
1 Corinthians 4:1
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Stewards of what? The mysteries of God.
Revealing that what we know is a mystery.
Here is a dictionary definition of mystery:
something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain…
Difficult, even impossible to understand or explain.
Yet the revelation of these mysteries, has been given to true… (notice I say ‘true’, as in ‘genuine’, for every true genuine professor of Christ – there is a false one)
…given to genuine followers of Christ, and we steward the mysteries carefully.
Does that mean we want others to consider us superior, or a cut above the rest, or that we want others to follow us, in some kind of repugnant subservient way?
Not at all. The only way anyone should follow me – is if I take them and introduce them to Jesus Christ.
Let me know if you desire directions – after which you can go to Him yourself.
10 And the disciples came and said to Him (Jesus), “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you (His followers) to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
(bold highlighting – mine throughout)
Folding her dress in lady-like fashion over her knee
She raised her hand to touch her lips to make sure no remaining trace of crumbs could be seen.
She lifted the tea cup and projected her little
finger in courtly gesture.
Sipping the tea more silently than silent
She glanced across the room – side eyed.
Unnoticed she noticed the tall gentleman standing with one hand in his suit coat pocket and his other arm leaning weightlessly against the hotel reception desk.
Did she know him, had she known him in the past?
The curiosity was getting too strong to be ignored.
She must find out what this sense of familiarity meant.
Was it her imagination taking over? Was the compass of her imagination wrongly directing her into the foggy memory realm of her past, so that she was all at sea?
Decorum must be sacrificed. So she stood to her feet and crossing the hotel foyer she walked straight up to the stranger.
“Sorry but have we met?” she stammered.
The gentleman looked lovingly into her eyes, and softly said: “Dorothy, Dorothy, it’s all right, it’s all right – you’re my wife, our room is ready.”
It is difficult not to fall into the trap of having pre-conceived ideas about everything under the sun.
In a world of confusion – where black is white, right is wrong, truth has been replaced with half-truths, and lies. When we are bombarded with information (to sort out) per second, per day, who can form any right conclusions?
Next we get ‘False News’.
Many believe the lie, and the lies.
CONFUSION – the Bible says: God is not the author of confusion. (I Cor. 14/33)
There is one who is – though.
He is called the ‘Father of lies’. (John 8/44)
Described as the ‘god of this world’. (II Cor. 4/4)
It’s his job to hide and to keep the world confused, with his hidden influence. (II Cor. 4/2)
To quote a Dob Dylan lyric: speaking of the mind – ‘don’t let an egg get laid in there by something you can’t see…’
And when there is confusion there is every evil work. (James 3/16)
And it will get worse and worse. (II Timothy 3/13)
The dictionary definition of the word ‘preconceived’ is as follows:
tr.v. pre·con·ceived, pre·con·ceiv·ing, pre·con·ceives
To form (an opinion, for example) before possessing full or adequate knowledge or experience.
Full or adequate knowledge or experience – missing.
When it comes to the major truths about life and death, we must come to a place where we will search until we find, if not full, then adequate knowledge about the options, before we can possibly come to the right conclusions.
It is my suggestion, that ‘…people are destroyed for lack of knowledge’ (Hosea 4/6)
Knowledge leads to experience. Sometimes we have experiences first, that lead us to knowledgeable conclusions, or conclusions based on a proper understanding of the experiences we have had.
Burn your finger in the fire, and through the experience you have gained knowledge.
It changes your life from then on, when you see a fire – you do not allow your hands anywhere near it, – because you have learned by experience not to do so.
Likewise if we are told beforehand the right way of things, and we refuse the knowledge, and do not allow a full or adequate perusal of the knowledge that is being given to us, then we shall have a pre-conceived notion about it, and never come to the experience of the knowledge that is being passed on to us.
Preconceived ideas we already have, can prevent us from proper investigation of the truth (or lie) found in the knowledge someone wants to share with us.
Of course the consequences of keeping to our pre-conceived notions, and not taking the time to investigate will vary.
If I decide not to try a strawberry sweet for the rest of my life, that is lack of experiential knowledge that I can get away with.
If I have a preconceived notion about the here and the hereafter and about what is the best and only route to take spiritually, the consequences are eternal.
2 Timothy 3:7
…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
THE DECISION MAKER
She stood alone equidistant from the cabin and
the river that went out to sea.
Her long hair echoing the movement of the waving flag as it rose and fell beside her, like a ballerina’s response to the lapping water.
Her dress of curtain lace, way out of date in fashion-land, nevertheless had an unmistakable look of professional quality.
Her feet were shod with silver shoes that shone unexpectedly in the moonlight.
Across her forehead she displayed a band of gold, tied
in a knot just like the rope of the flag.
As she stood poised in decision making mode, she kissed her own hand tween finger and thumb, indicating through hunched shoulders that she was deep in thought about the decision she was about to make.
At last, after eternal moments. she hurried to the riverside. Taking a deep breath she cried out to sea.
Three times she bellowed the same thing. Then she waited.
Again her finger and thumb found their way to her lips. And again she hunched over, this time, in listening mode.
There was no reply to her trumpeted shout. So she turned, hair and dress turning with her in expressive wave, and walked slowly to the cabin resigning herself to – no result.