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Not getting it

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by trustgod, Nov 24, 2008.

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  1. chosenpath

    chosenpath Senior Veteran

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    Please view the attachment.
     
  2. chosenpath

    chosenpath Senior Veteran

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  3. chosenpath

    chosenpath Senior Veteran

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  4. Ryft

    Ryft Nihil sine Deo.

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    How can you go about changing the way you've defined God thus far, so that your view accords with the God of Christianity, who is personal rather than some abstract entity? The answer is simple: the canon of Scriptures. This was the central theme running through my response to you. It must be through a steadfast commitment to the authority of the Scriptures as God's foundational self-disclosure, a commitment that supersedes any form of autonomous speculations about him. You should rely less on what you think about God and more on what God thinks about himself. If someone held an image of me concocted essentially from their own imaginations, in preference over my own self-disclosure to them, I might be quite offended. I am more of an authority on myself than their imagination is, since I know myself. Maybe it's reasonable to think God might feel similarly when it comes to our thoughts on him.

    I did admit that the allegory would have its weaknesses. Keep in mind that it was used for its illustrative power, as I had pointed out, and should not be thought of as a one-to-one comparison. I also really need you to realize and understand what the allegory was actually trying to illustrate—with respect to the Obama angle, which your point here latched onto: that by reading Obama's own self-disclosure, he went from being a 'name' to being a 'person'. I do not pretend to know him in a personal way. That is not something I said or wanted to even imply. I was merely saying that by reading his book he became a person to me, the way David became a person to Morgan when she read his letters, trying to draw the illustration that you can apprehend the personhood of God by reading his self-disclosure. Until Morgan read David's letters, he was just an abstract concept; until I read Obama's book, he was just an abstract concept; until you read God's self-disclosure, he's just an abstract concept. That's where the comparison lies.

    Perhaps you have a slight degree of misunderstanding, then. I'm really hoping to be delicate on this point, sensitive to your spiritual journey. There is a measure of truth to what you said; however, a relationship with God is based principally upon faith. Love for God is definitely part of this, but here is a point I'd like to underscore: love is not necessarily a euphoric state. I'm going to use another allegory here but, again, it's strictly for illustration, not accuracy.

    Dennis loves his wife Tracy, to whom he has been married for fifteen years. They met and fell in love in college and they have loved each other deeply ever since. His love and devotion to Tracy is ferocious and unmovable. However, he has not sustained a state of euphoria for those entire fifteen years. His love for her is beyond question, but it is not always euphoric; sometimes he gets angry with her, most of the time he feels a euthymic contentedness with her, sometimes they fight and he feels a sense of loneliness by the distance the fight created, but at every moment it is unquestionable that he loves her very dearly. His relationship to her is characterized principally by his faithful devotion to her, and although love for her is definitely part of that faithful devotion, it is not necessarily a euphoric state. At times it is, but most of the time it's not. Love can be euphoric, but euphoria is not love.

    --------------------
    NOTE: It was mentioned to me in private correspondence that I sounded a little bit "peeved" in this post. Admittedly, I'm not sure how that was inferred; nevertheless, I feel compelled to note here, for the sake of anyone else that might think the same, that I was not in any way "peeved" when I wrote this. Not even slightly. As a matter of fact, I was very sensitive and sympathetic, feeling a sense of familiarity with this gentleman's situation because I was in a similar spot at one time in my own journey. Furthermore, as I have noted a few times elsewhere, I almost never write from an emotional state; like this fellow here, I am likewise somewhat stoic when it comes to emotions. I'm really not sure how I could write with a more neutral tone than I already do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
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  5. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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    Hi, thanks for sharing that. Unfortunately, messages like that don't register with me. It was nice, but I have a hard time relating. But I do appreciate your efforts!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  6. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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    Thanks, all for your efforts and thoughts. Thinking further on this subject, I've had a couple thoughts that might shed further light on my inability to get it.

    First, I think I'm just wired differently. Enough so that the need for a supreme being (God, etc.) in my life isn't that great. I can intellectually grasp the concept of a God, who most likely exists, but I cannot, for the life of me, make it beyond that. And I've been trying for 7+ years. Maybe this would change with some crisis in my life, but right now I don't feel the pull, or need, for more than an intellectual curiosity for God. It's like God exists, but yet here I am way down here on earth and life goes on. I guess what I'm saying is that I haven't been personally convinced of the benefit for more than an intellectual curiosity about God.

    Secondly, and this is probably related to my first point, is that in today's society, we have been raised to stand on our own, be independent, and to not lean too much on anyone else. At least that's how I was raised, and this probably pertains more to men than women (I'm generalizing here). Men particularly are expected to be the provided, the leader and strong in on their own. So, going into the personal God-thing with that mindset, it's just another hurdle to a personal God. To admit you cannot stand on your own and aren't independent is to show weakness.

    Thus, unless, as I said, some sort of crisis occurs in my life occurs that might permanently render my perspective on God differently, I suspect that I'm about as close to him as I'll ever get, and further attempts at such will probably remain fruitless and frustrating.
     
  7. tansy

    tansy Senior Member

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    Yes, I can see that this can be a problem.
    Just how much, and in what way are we supposed to depend on God?
    I still struggle myself in some ways with this.
    After all, when you're a baby, you're totally reliant on your parents or other carers, but as you grow up you learn to do more and more for yourself and finally become independent, stand on your own feet and make your own decisions.
    But, just how independent are we really? In practice, we rely on all kinds of people....where would we be without the accumulated knowlege of centuries? Where would we be without doctors, scientists, policemen, farmers etc etc? Wher would we be without friendships or without the person who rings an ambulance if they find us ill or injured and not in a position to get to a phone ourselves?

    The Bible says that God created everything, gives life and also sustains it - so, at the very least we are dependent on Him for that. Also, there is nothoing wrong with depending on another person or asdking them for help with things one is unable to do oneself - even as an independent adult. If, for example, I need some electric rewiring done, then I ask an electrician, or if I need something carried which is too heavy for me, then I ask one of my sons or my husdband. Nowadays, I even have to ask them to open jars sometimes, as I have lost some strenght in my wrists! Most annoying!
    Thus, I don't think there is anything wrong with asking God for, or relying on Him for things we can't provide for ourselves, or do for ouselvbes.
    We cannot provide our own salvation (I assume you already know about that),,,Only God can provide that.
    Also He can and does give us a whole lot more than anyone else on earth (though it would take too long to go into all that)
    Anyway, I do hope that God will reveal Himself to you in a way that you do "get". :)
     
  8. Ryft

    Ryft Nihil sine Deo.

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    And that is entirely your jurisdiction. It is not something I can engage meaningfully (aside from sharing anecdotal testimony with you). But I appreciate your candid honesty.

    The only thing I intend to confront are intellectual or rational obstacles to belief. If someone says that they cannot believe in God for some rational reason, I do what I can to take that obstacle away. With you it was about how to see God more as a personal being than an abstract one; I showed you how to go about that. Whether or not you do it, or even want to, is entirely in your own hands. I can only show you the door (as Morpheus said to Neo). Whether or not you walk through it is up to you. There is indeed a door, and here's where it is. The rest is up to you.

    By the way? When a man acknowledges and taps into a source of strength, it's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of intelligence. When he acknowledges and taps into a source of wisdom greater than his own, it's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of intelligence. I cannot speak to how you were raised, but I can speak the truth. A man is not an island unto himself; he is not expected to have all the answers or all the strength. He is surrounded by resources, none more sure than God and his Word.

    At any rate, thank you for such an articulate and candid conversation. It was refreshing and enlightening for me. I hope you got something out of it, too.
     
  9. ephraimanesti

    ephraimanesti Senior Veteran

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    MY BROTHER,

    If i may say so, it appears that your problem is that you rely on your intelligence rather than your heart to lead you to God. You've got things backwards! This is the same difficulty that got the Apostle Paul in so much trouble that, as you say, it took a major crisis to jar him loose from his left-brain fixation.

    Transpose brain and heart--the former being brought under the control of the later--and you will do just fine. In other words, stop with the Mr. Spock already and give the Spirit space to work!


    A BROTHER/FRIEND/BOND-SLAVE OF CHRIST,
    ephraim
     
  10. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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    So, I'm too smart for my own good? When did reliance on intelligence become a problem?





    Okay, I get it. No intelligence allowed in Christianity. Thanks, but I'll pass.
     
  11. ephraimanesti

    ephraimanesti Senior Veteran

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    Reliance on intelligence becomes a problem when the mind takes off on its own rather than being controlled and guided by the Heart and the Holy Spirit therein dwelling. This is the same grave mistake at the center of our forebears' seeking the "knowledge of good and evil" on their own, apart from God, rather than seeking Truth within through a direct connection with God in their Hearts.

    No--you don't "get it", and have admitted as much--that being the reason for your OP--is that not correct? You are not "wired differently". Your difficulty is that you have not allowed yourself to be re-wired so that your self-described "over intellectualizing," which you "can't get beyond" in reaching out for God, is controlled by your Heart--a Heart tuned in to God and getting its input directly from the Source of all Truth, rather than directly from your unaided and uncontrolled mind which can only falsely claim to understand anything about "truth." Only with God in control is any real intelligence possible.

    A BROTHER/FRIEND/BOND-SLAVE OF CHRIST,
    ephraim
     
  12. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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    I think we're at an impasse here. Saying that reliance on intelligence is a grave mistake doesn't compute with me. Appreciate your help, however.


    If I'm not wired differently, why do I need to be re-wired? That's a contradiction.

    Again, thanks for your help anyways...
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  13. ephraimanesti

    ephraimanesti Senior Veteran

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    You, yourself, diagnosed this as the root of your problem in being unable to touch God. All i am is a mirror. Were you not seeking answers, why ask questions?

    My point was that we are all initially "wired" the same, and you are not "wired" any "differently" than the rest of us--prior to our new Birth into the Kingdom. All human beings since the rebellion in the Garden attempt to use their brains to process their "knowledge of good and evil." Unfortunately, the brain being merely a computer, operates on the principle of "Garbage in--garbage out." Thus the chaotic dying world we inhabit today. Our "knowledge of good and evil" is killing us--physically, mentally, emotionally, and, most importantly, Spiritually--as you appear well aware.

    Salvation from this trap consists of "re-wiring" so that the Heart controls the brain, not the other way around. That is why God promises, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."(Ezekiel 36:26-27) THAT is what you are missing and, hopefully seeking. Shooting the messenger doesn't change the message.


    Help?

    A BROTHER/FRIEND/BOND-SLAVE OF MY LORD CHRIST,
    ephraim
     
  14. Ryft

    Ryft Nihil sine Deo.

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    Never, quite frankly.

    Intelligence is not the problem. Authority is. That's what ephraim is driving at, and quite rightly. From the garden in Eden to our 21st century society, our attitude of 'autonomy' has been the problem, i.e., looking to ourselves as the crucial arbiter of truth, meaning, purpose, etc. Adam and Eve did it, and mankind is still doing it today.

    I think you know that's incredibly unfair.
     
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  15. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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    Authority is very different from intelligence. Why didn't he just say authority, instead of insulting my intelligence by implying that I have to check my brain at the door before I will "get it?"



    He implied that intelligence, i.e., using one's brain, was not compatible with Christianity. At least that's how it came across to me. I think you know that's incredibly wrong.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  16. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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  17. trustgod

    trustgod Regular Member

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    Nope. I never said intelligence was a problem, nor the root of my problem. I merely said I am more of a logical person than an emotional person.


    Garbage in, garbage out is not a "principle" of a computer. It merely predicts the output given a certain set of inputs.

    I was merely trying to be nice...
     
  18. ephraimanesti

    ephraimanesti Senior Veteran

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    MY BROTHER: According to the world's view of things, is not "logic" a by-product of "intelligence?"

    The way you use these tools appears to fall into the category of "straining at gnats and swallowing camels"(Matthew 23:24) which indeed is a huge stumbling block on the road to personal, hands-on, experiental knowledge of a God Who IS Love--a Love which is in no way, shape, or form "logical" in any sense of the word that we humans would be able to understand given our poor "understanding" of the word "love".

    Incidentially, a Loving face-to-face Father-child relationship with our Living/Agapao-ing/ desperately-and-eagerly-awaiting-our-return/ Heavenly Father has absolutely nothing to do with "emotions," in the same way that Spiritual Love (the only Love which has any real meaning and significance above and beyond the level of animals)--AGAPE--has nothing to do with our emotions.


    Principle of computer USAGE, then. Seems to me the point remains, word games being stationary and disallowing progress and all.

    i do appreciate that. Hopefully, some of it will rub off on me.

    A BROTHER/FRIEND/BOND-SLAVE OF MY LORD/GOD/SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST,
    ephraim
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  19. Ryft

    Ryft Nihil sine Deo.

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    I think you simply misunderstood him. Your native tongue is English. His native tongue is Christianese. For him, English is a second language. And he is transcribing into English ideas that are communicated fluently in Christianese; it makes perfect sense to him because these ideas make perfect sense in his native tongue. Me, I'm bilingual; I speak both languages fluently. I know exactly what he's getting at because I'm fluent in Christianese, and I know how to translate that coherently into English so you understand it (as I had done above).

    I am describing the issue metaphorically, of course. I'm using "English" as a metaphor for "secular language that non-believers understand." And Christianese is a metaphor for "gospel language that believers understand." I'm pretty sure you understand what I am getting at.
     
  20. Maranatha27

    Maranatha27 Senior Member

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    TrustGod,

    Faith comes by hearing the Word

    When a person puts thier faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they recieve the Holy Spirit.

    John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

    The "water" spoken of in this passage is the Holy Spirit. A man must have the Holy Spirit to be an heir with Christ. The Holy Spirit is Gods seal on the believer. You may have books in you library that you stamp with you name, this is you "seal" because the book is yours. Yahweh seals his own with the Holy Spirit.

    Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his

    No Spirit, No relationship
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
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