Thursday, December 22, 2016

You Have Set Me Free! (Letters to My Father - October 9, 2013)

Dear Father,

We're not moving anywhere, Father [I was thinking of moving my family to another state due to a possible change in job]; You have given me work to do and this is the place to do it.

You have set me free from cares of this world.

  • I can sit at my desk at home to work on the book. [I don't recall what I meant by "work on the book." It may have been a book idea, an idea with which I'm still toying to this day.]  
  • I am physically close enough to Doug and church [Word is Truth Christian Church] to visit. 
  • I have an office to which I can go to concentrate on work and even on You [because I would arrive before others and enjoy the quiet time].  
  • I do not have a house to maintain with all its bills and worries. I just have opportunities to pitch in once in a while. 

[I was renting space in an owner-occupied house. Rent covered utilities. I was free of the responsibilities of maintaining a house. At that time in my life, I had enough other things to think about and do. I would just help around the house.]

You have set me free from the pleasures of this world. Things are starting to calm down at home. [Sentences deleted dealing with earthly pleasure and certain others. I had a tendency to try to force what I needed to feel loved, such as deep conversation about doctrine. I was learning to let go of getting my needs met through artificial means, and let others be themselves.] I am seeking less to get validation, affirmation, respect, and [pressured] expressions of love and spirituality.

So what if I don't feel loved by [the people I expected to feel loved by]? You love me. So what if I don't connect to them spiritually? Likewise, religious leaders rejected You. So what if talk [in familiar places] is shallow and without desire for depth? You know there are seeds that fall along the path. So what? [What can I do about someone else's choices?] You have set me free!

In the end, to move now would be a major disruption in my own spiritual growth, as well as others with whom I am interacting. Plus, would there just be a whole new set of long term problems? My adjustment to working remotely all the time, school and homeschool, my spouse's work, new friends, new support groups, new church, different travel requirements and opportunities, etc.

Therefore, I praise You and thank You for your wisdom in carefully planning my circumstances. Let me be at peace with You, and feel Your love, peace, and joy in my heart.  I once talked about my cup overflowing.  Let me know beyond a shadow of a doubt that such is the case again and always will be.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:5-6)


October 9, 2013 (from Topic Notes in e-Sword)

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Dear Reader,

Sorry! I edited this piece by adding commentary or substitute words [in brackets] to explain what is not being said, or removing references to specific people. I don't mean to say anything hurtful.

Rather, I hope I've been able to maintain the essence of what I'm trying to say from my heart so it benefits all.

I left the real first name of my pastor and the full name of our church. Thank you for reading.



MarkB57 said...

In your post I find what seems to be a partially hidden contradiction with what seems to be an assumed authority. I will explore this idea. Before I ask whether I can trust an authority or source of information I want to know what authority is, what it means. So I'll define it here.

By "authority" I mean the source or point of origin of complete trust. Its quality is trustworthiness. I propose it is logical and important to decide which goes first, truth or authority. I'm asking myself which of these orders is possible and which is contradictory. Truth breeds authority. Authority breeds truth.

If I find information to be true, and by that I mean trustworthy, verifiable, logically consistent, and finding no fallacy, no contradictions, then that truth brings authority. Now can authority come first?

Can I have authority first, then truth? That statement, that authority breeds truth, is contradictory. One exception might be when I use "author" or "authority" with a capital "a." As in the "Author of liberty" or the "Authority of all truth," which is the prime mover, the cause of all causes, from God.

By capitalizing a word and leaving it singular, we seem to refer to a metaphor which is so all-inclusive and unimaginable that we can say almost anything about it without any apparent contradiction.

Besides purely logical intellectual conclusions, as an enlightened awake human being I must consider all my senses that I can bring to bear [Sanskrit bharati] including gut sense and emotional energy.

If this or any comment or post becomes a conversation, beware. We will be subject to changing our minds together. [con-versation = with-changing]

I prefer to test my claims by making falsifiable statements. As I consider and test the truth value of such statements, I can eventually discard them, modify them, or build on them. It's that eventual building of knowledge that matters. Before a fact becomes knowledge it must be considered and tested.

So if we converse here, please test what I say with your own thinking.

Food for thought from Mark

Dwight said...

PART ONE: Thank you for your comment. Here's my way of thinking about the terms you highlighted: authority and truth. (In question is God as the authority, and His word as truth.)

I largely journal in the form of a letter because I intentionally want to move away from the very contradiction you point out, which is that this authority is assumed. Because it's my personal perspective, my own transaction, the authority of which I speak, directly named or not, is one that I choose to recognize and respect, not assume. Capitalization is there because of this, my recognition, and so the reader sees it as well. I have no intention of imposing an authority which others do not recognize or respect. The reader is free to recognize the same authority I recognize, to whatever degree. However, I would not want them to recognize the same authority as me without testing it for themselves. Don't take my word for it. I merely suggest the reader consider His word.

So, which comes first, authority or truth? In my case, truth comes first; it establishes a source and/or authority as trustworthy. My primary purpose in sharing these personal 'Letters to God' is to give hope to those who have been hurt, let down, or betrayed by a supposed authority who turn out to be untrustworthy. This includes securing in my own mind what is truth because I have been hurt, let down, and even betrayed by an assumed human authority. I continue to ask myself the question that started me on this journey, "Why do I believe what I believe?" Back when, I quickly realized that I really was assuming someone else's truth and authority without proper inspection and evaluation. Now I know God actually invites inquiry; one cannot diligently seek Him without it.

I wasn't always sure about God and His word. I certainly received a lot of misguided direction, well-intentioned or not. But, I've discovered the word of God to be more flawless in its context and details, and to be more revealing of Himself and His plan than I originally thought. It's much deeper in profound meaning than I could ever have imagined. I tested the truth and logic of His word according to His terms and found His word to be trustworthy and true. Therefore, I recognize Him as an authority in my life.

Do I understand everything about Him and His word? Absolutely not. That's where faith comes in. There was a time I understood so little of He was saying. It seemed refreshing to my soul, but foreign to my ears. But, as I believed and tested things to be true, I felt more comfortable giving Him the benefit of the doubt --i.e. had faith and patience-- and got more answers to questions that started with, "What about this apparent contradiction...?" Eventually, so many questions had been solidly answered to my satisfaction, that I recognized Him as an authority from Whom, to me, truth is sourced. Truth, therefore, as a singular word, combined with the idea of it being a source, means that I trust enough to use it to evaluate other things in and about life.

Dwight said...

PART 2: Lastly, in determining truth, we may have to adjust our methods for testing it. Just as we may dispose of an old assumption to make room for something more sure, we may have to dispose of a system or foundation by which we establish truth. Nevertheless, I believe truth must be established first in order for the authority to be recognized and respected. Also, how can we be led into new discoveries if faith is not part of the process until you can see the logic in it? We must allow for possibilities, not just probabilities. Should we consider the supernatural and not just the natural? That could be deemed as personal preference, many not willing to give up things they hold as indisputable fact. Personally, I wouldn't assume I know better simply because I can relate it to a known law of physics or nature.

Excellent model for conversation about truth, MarkB57. I love it. Our very thoughts and ways may be falsifiable, if we're to be open to new, more certain information. For new thoughts and new ways to replace the old, we cannot hang onto thoughts and ways that used to fit, and try to force both the old and the new to be true at the same time. This is my attitude towards God's word; His thoughts are higher than mine. But, I'll still test it and ask questions about it before I move on.

THANK YOU for the invitation to test your thoughts with mine. Such an attitude is refreshing in an area (religion) where being right is the ruling, unwavering force within and without.