Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why is it Wrong?

A song that I like very much, by a Christian group,
has as one of its primary lines, these words:
"...and I have found that the Answer is to Love You
and be Loved by You..."

If you picture the relationship between ourselves
and God as a Father-son relationship (which I think
is the very focal point of the Christian faith),
then consider this analogy, when pondering the idea
of what we commonly call "Moral Absolutes":

Your father is a commander in the Army, and since he
has been away from home since you were born, you've
never really met him; but he has left you a series
of letters in which not only does he declare his
love for you, but which also include a subset of
"guidelines" or "principles" that he wants you to
live by... You've been taught that your father not
only loves you very deeply but that he is also
extremely wise... You're also convinced that one
of these days you're going to finally meet him...

So you decide you're going to be faithful to the
instructions of your father... Some of these are
fairly straight-forward, and their wisdom is apparent:

"Don't hit your sister" (for how would you like it if
she were to hit YOU, for no good reason)... "Don't
stick your finger in the stove flames", and "Don't
play with sharp knives"... Easy enough, right? Nobody
in their right mind questions these "rules", and you
find it easy to obey them...

But what if you develop a friendship with Tom Smith,
down the street, and although reputation and your own
experience show Tom to be a bit of a scoff-law, you
find that you rather like hanging out with Tom, and
you believe those who hold that he is a trouble-maker
to be stuffy, narrow-minded, and biggoted...

And then, right there in the letters, your own father
says, "oh, and stay away from that rebel, Tom Smith!"

And what if you meet other young people who ALSO
think that Tom Smith is pretty cool? And what if
there are enough of them that you begin to believe
that "liking Tom Smith" is not only okay, but what
you were MADE to be like, as part of your "identity",
and you felt a real solidarity with Tom-Smith-likers?

Right then and there, you would have a decision to make:
Do you TRUST that your father loves you deeply, and
has this Rule about Tom Smith because he is wiser than
you and understands the Tom Smiths of the world better
than you, and that his love for you inspired this rule,
or do you decide that your father is out of touch,
old-fashioned, and not "up with the times"?

After all, liking Tom Smith seems to be so pervasive
that how could staying away from him make any sense?

You might go further in saying that your father may not
REALLY be your father after all, OR, that he doesn't really
know you, OR, that when he says "stay away from Tom Smith"
he doesn't REALLY mean "stay away" but only "don't become
like him..." In fact, wouldn't the options for questioning
and even disparaging your father's wisdom be as limitless
as your own imagination and subjective experiences?
Couldn't you ultimately make your father's letters to you
say whatever you WANT them to say?

Well, if you accept that there is a GOD, and that He loves
you -- as His very own child -- deeply and passionately,
doesn't it behoove you to find out if God has communicated
His Will to you, and if so, what that Will is? And can
you not see the very great, and very slippery-slope Danger
that you could make "His Will" really about YOUR wants
and wishes and preferences instead of what He really said?

Christians believe these very same things about what we
call "Moral Absolutes": God LOVES us deeply and passionately,
and He knows what is best for His children far better than
we ourselves... When God calls any particular act a "sin",
we either have to LOVE Him back, and OBEY, or go off in the
profoundly subjective direction of redefining, questioning,
doubting, and finally outright REJECTING His Will...

But at that point, we've lost all sight of Love for HIM
and have really supplanted it with love for OURSELVES...

May God Himself help us to obey His Will, and respond to
His infinite Love for us by acknowledging, in Word and
in Deed, that we love Him in return...

Friday, October 13, 2006

God's Disco Ball

If this analogy strikes you as rather silly, and is of no help
to you in your search for meaning and for the knowledge of
God, then discard it and look elsewhere; but for what it's worth,
consider the idea that each of us has as our ultimate destiny
the becoming of a single mirror on God's cosmic "disco ball"...

Simply put, a disco ball is a sphere made of numerous tiny
mirrors attached to a frame; as the ball spins, the mirrors catch
light that is cast on the whole, creating interesting patterns of
reflected light from the many mirrors which make up the ball...

Each and every tiny mirror on the ball is unique, both in
its position on the ball and its particular reflection of light
at any one moment during the spinning...

Each human Soul was created by God with the potential
to reflect back to God His own Light -- His GLORY -- as we are
someday grafted back into His very being... Indeed, we are most
fully "ourselves" as we reject our own purposes -- being our
own tiny mirrors with our own fulfillment as our primary goal --
and yield to the refining process that makes it possible to
reflect His glory, not so that WE can be noticed but so that
HE can be more completely and gloriously reflected IN us...

Much more depth on this concept can be found by reading about
how mirrors are made; spend a few minutes reading about mirrors
HERE and also HERE...

Jesus said that whoever loses his life for Jesus' sake will find it,
and the broader message of the Gospel is RESSURECTION:
Dying and then being raised to a new KIND of Life, Life that says
"Not my will but THINE be done..."

As each of us submits -- even daily -- to the death of our own fulfillment,
we find Ultimate fulfillment in becoming what we were originally made
to be: Unique expressions of the Glory of God, fitly reflecting back
to Him His own Light...

Every choice we make, every single day, either dulls and smudges
the mirror a bit, or polishes and buffs it a bit (hence the idea of
purification through, sometimes, Suffering), toward the ultimate end
of being either full of own own darkness or full of His light...

There is one important way in which the "disco ball" analogy
breaks down: I said above that God's Glory will be reflected IN us...
Actually, His Glory will be reflected THROUGH us: In God's
"disco ball", the Source of the light comes from INSIDE the ball,
not outside it; in that sense, then, we will be more like PRISMS than
mirrors, and the incredible "light show" that we will enjoy and
participate in and celebrate, for all eternity, will be profoundly beautiful...

The process of "Metamorphosis" (Romans 12:2), condensed and
exemplified for us in the single historical, bodily Ressurection
of Jesus from death, is the entire Gospel in a nutshell: YOU have
Identity and Meaning and Purpose and Value precisely because there is
a place on that "disco ball" which you are -- if you CHOOSE -- destined
to occupy; reject that, refuse to die and be raised, and you will end up
reflecting your own darkness, which of course is no reflection at all;
mirrors (and prisms) devoid of any Light are just useless hunks of rock...