Sunday, March 02, 2008

abode part deux


"Listen to me, Raistlin. The magic will not solve your problems. It will only add to them. The magic will not make people like you. It will increase their distrust. The magic will not ease your pain. It will twist and burn inside you until sometimes you think that even death would be preferable."


what i have found, in my own experience, is that when a person encounters the living god, she asks for some pretty crazy things that can be hard to understand. or even believe that it is indeed her speaking. for example -

acts 10:9-15 tells us the story of peter and an encounter he had with god through a vision that completely negated previous instructions of the written, "scriptural", variety. (lev. 11:3-8)

likewise we also read the story of samson in the book of judges. many of us already know the story of samson and delilah. but it is not often pointed out that we are told in judges 14:4 that, "...it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines..." completely negating his own decree in deut. 7:3

he asked ezekiel to lay on his side for 430 days and "lay siege" to a model of jerusalem. as well as cook his food during this time over human shit. ezekiel said that was a little much for him, so god said it was ok to use cow shit instead.

he asked hosea to marry a prostitue who would be completely faithless to him and rip his heart out and embarass him over and over and over and over.

point being, god asks ridiculous things of his most intimate followers. mostly, i believe, because they are actually listening and willing to respond with obedience. none of these things were done because any of these men "read about them in scripture." so how did they know? what did god's servants do before there was a bible?

nate has spoken on this subject at length elsewhere. so i won't overlap too much.

because what i'm really talking about here, if we can all recall, is how my views of the bible have changed and why i don't believe in doctrines anymore. in my opinion and experience, the bible is not to be believed because it is god dictating our behaviors to us or laying down some sort of an inflexible law by which we must live in order to be saved. and i don't think the bible is to be believed because it has wonderful logical arguments for showing others how wrong they or their belief systems are. i know this is the majority evangelical view, and one i used to hold, but no longer.

i believe the bible because it is a continuious story of lives changed. people who had radical encounters with a "divine other being" and the resulting events surrounding such encounters. period. end of story. which leaves much more room for learning how to "hear" god through the studying of the encounters of others. which is a much different thing from thinking that if we "imitate" these people, and their specific actions based on specific requests god made of them, that we will too somehow have an experience of god.

i believe the pharisees used to use this same type of approach. and jesus said to them, based on this approach, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life..." note that what jesus is saying here, in plain language, is that the scriptures ARE NOT WHAT GIVES US LIFE. in fact he follows up this statement directly by saying, "...it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." "coming to jesus" gives us life. because jesus gives us access to the great "divine other being". it is not reading a book and thinking that obeying this book is what we need to do in order to please the "divine other being". that approach, in my opinion, is a lie served up by men for whom that lie benefits them. i.e. putting them in places of authority that they love, leaving people under their care dependant on their interpretations of the bible. and leaving the sheep devoid of the knowledge that they can hear directly from god themselves. not needing a human mediator.

(for extra fun, the very next statement that jesus makes in this passage is, "I do not receive glory from men." how does THAT fit in with what goes on in most evangelical churches every week?)

well, we're about 7 more lines down in my notes, and again, this is enough for now. looks like we will need one more post to complete this thought. but let's see where this conversation goes first...

38 comments:

One Voice of Many said...

jon -
I don't disagree with you about the bible being a narrative of lives changed. I think the only thing that I want to call attention to here is brought about by the examples that you chose. Those were some pretty ridiculous things that God (supposedly) told those men to do. And I've also had the teaching that God does stuff like those to see if you're listening, to see if He can trust you, etc. etc. But... seriously... am I to trust and give my heart to a God that would do such mind-F'ing with people?! I still wonder if the writers of the story give God credit for something that really wasn't from Him. I'm back to the idea of, sure God gets credit ultimately because He is the originator of all things, but we come up with quite a few loads of crap on our own. If it works out for the good, God gets credit. If it goes to hell, "we missed it".

Again, those examples are great for me to use to explain why I stay so frustrated with the God concept anyway. Sure being asked to trust Him in a few leaps of faith is reasonable but a lot of that other stuff is just so extreme. It's hard to fathom that anyone other than a sadist would think that's a good idea to put someone through.

Ruth said...

HiJon,

I have been tracking with you the past couple of weeks and enjoying the banter. I must say that you do jerk my pharisaical chain and I like that. (so what's the deal with God being a she?)

However, I am a truth seeker and what you are saying resonates truth to me.

You are right about doctrine and you put it very well in this post. Jesus never gave doctrine. He never gave formualas.(try making a doctrine of the mud and spit healing). Instead he talked about heart attitudes.

One of the most powerful stories about Jesus throwing "doctrine" out the window and looking deeper at the heart of the matter was when he told the Pharisees who had entrapped the prostitute whoever was without sin to cast the first stone.

What you are saying can be summed up in Jesus words in Matthew 27:29

"Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."

We are merely Pharisees when we don't apply the power of God to the scriptures and just take them as doctrine to be imitated.

I encourage you Jon to keep talking it up. You have some good thoughts and you articulate them well. Its a good thing you stopped at point 7 though cause you have given us enough to chew on for now. I'll be back to see the rest.

Nate said...

I brought more donuts, since Michelle finished them of last time. Please, be condsiderate of others, I brought enough for the class, if everyone takes only one.

Michelle,
So often, we try to see God theough the evangelical filter. The "everything God does is wonderful" filter. That there is no evil in God. Well, after studying the bible. I think God is most like the God Emporer of Dune, Leto the 2nd. Capricious, always looking for enjoyment from his creations, and when he doesn't get it, he wipes it out. Noah's story. Noah was an anomilous surprise in the evil world that he saw. He asked him to do stupid things, like build an ark on dry land so big, that he could never get it to water. But Jon, not really remebering all about the stories you shared, what were the outcomes of those requests? Did they end up making a point God wanted to make?

Hi Ruth,
Nice to see you, let me be the first to welcome you. Jon and I are brothers, and we have come at this "new relationship with God thing" from two different directions, and have ended up in the same place.

I have got that God values intent, over action. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Repentance(to change ones mind/belief structure), Confession(to agree with), belief in God, Faith in Jesus supplied Grace. Love the lord God with all your heart/mind/soul/strength, and your neighbor as yourself. That is it. Nothing else required. The obedience get dicey at times, and uncomfortable. But, it normally is ego pain versus real pain. But, I would fully love a new view point in the mix. Just livens things up.

One Voice of Many said...

:talks with mouth shoved full of donuts:
Nate - I dunno - your God sounds worse than mine. He just toys with humanity for enjoyment and then when it's not there He wipes them out? If that's the case, we would not be having this conversation now. Either that or my idea of enjoyment in humanity is completely different from His. I know what you're going to say to that ... nevermind.

I still say He's more neutral than we give Him credit for. He's not all sappy like the evangelicals say; although when they get to the topic of hell they don't paint Him as very sappy. Nor do I think He's like what you've described (if I read that the way you intended). I think He'd rather you go get me more donuts, actually. Yup.. pretty sure I "heard God" on that one. :-))

Michelle

Nate said...

Your ploy to make me go on a donut run will not work while I am sober.

This is really how I see God. He made the world according to certain rules. He let that world go. He still watches everyone, but does not interfere unless it is one of his own, or he sees an opportunity to turn someone to him. Other than that, it just goes. That goes along with my thinking that he made us as he wants us, why shouldwe be anything else. He made the world the eay he wants it, why should he make it anything else. We are here for His pleasure.

Also, unless you have read the dune series, the reference to Leto the 2nd doesn't really connect.

Oh look, a hidden bear claw, excuse me.

jON said...

obviously, you guys still don't really get it. we are in the midst of a potluck of infinite possibilities. the thought of needing to go on a run seems silly. don't believe me? here we go...

here's some more donuts. glazed, jelly, and cake varieties. a turkey dinner complete with all the fixin's (yes, fixin's), some screamingly fresh spicy tuna hand rolls, gooey and warm spinach artichoke dip in a soft bread bowl, and some deliciously hot nacho cheese with my favorite tortilla strips. and to wash it all down, some icy cold dr. pepper in glass bottles. hopefully that will last you whipper snappers for awhile.

i apologize for my relative silence, but we have been sick in this household the likes of which have not been seen in a long time. my fever that i've had since friday JUST broke today. and now erin, who HAD been taking care of the 3 of us started going south, so now it's my turn.

thank god ONE of us has been well enough to do that. and thank god we got our tax return on friday, the very day i fell ill, to finance this little sickfest that has kept me out of work. and thank god that although it takes sickness for this kind of thing to happen in our over-frenzied modern world, my family has gotten to be together all day every day for the past 5 days.

ruth, i'll start with you. WELCOME! damn it, welcome. always good to see a new face around here unafraid to pop up their head and say hello. you'd be surprised how many people prefer to just peek but don't want to jump into the flow. are we that intimidating? anyway...

always curious how people find their way over, but i am guessing that long story short, you found me through deconstructed christian? does that mean you've been tracking the conversation since velvet elvis?

the deal with god being a she is that god is neither a he nor a she. so... since that's makes god being a "he" somewhat arbitrary and patriarchal in my mind, i like to call her a she to jolt not only myself but also my fellow readers into reimagining our tiny god boxes. when god is a she, i don't get the old man in the beard picture so much, you know? plus, unless the term El Shaddai (the breasted one) was referring to man-boobs, i'm guessing god isn't too twisted up with being identified as feminine.

and interestingly enough, we had a conversation about the prostitute and the "first stone" last november. part 1 and part 2. if you're interested.

which makes a great segue into michelle. you were around for that conversation. in fact, you joined us not too long before that. and if you recall, i was having the same troubles you are now. why would god destroy me if he cares about me so much?

ANSWER: so that i can finally begin to be who he made me to be. not who i've been told i should be. and not who i think i should be. but who i actually am. who he has created me to be. and that person doesn't fit within the four walls of a church, and he definitely doesn't fit ANYWHERE inside of evangelical doctrine. this guy eats with whores and sinners and invites them over and shows them the same kind of love he wants to get shown. and when needed, he'll even share what little he has because he knows god has got tomorrow covered. i don't need to worry about tomorrow. i only need to make it through today. and if that means i don't eat today, i'm fine with that. i know i'll eat tomorrow.

which flies in the face of prosperity teaching. you notice that particular teaching only benefits the ones doing the collecting, right? our good buddy paul said, "...men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."

i don't think he said this as law, but out of his experience. and it is an experience i can agree with now. nate can attest to this as well. but until you trust and obey and experience first hand the power of the truth in this, no mere words of mine can convince you. because they're just empty words. the power is in the proof. i know what you're getting ready to head through, and it is an exciting time if you're willing to see it as such. many don't like waiting moment to moment for god's deliverance, but it sure is a fuck-all exciting time. make no mistake about that. hardly ever a dull day. and if you do get a dull day, thank god for letting you have one.

and to tie nate and michelle together here, i do agree that god is not an overt meddler with everyone. there are times when he takes decisions out of people's hands (as with our father's suicide attempt and extrodinarily miraculous thwarting) but those things are so rare, they don't make good examples of normal.

but i do know that for myself, the more i trust god to provide for us, the more of myself i find in prayer about this very thing constantly. constantly making the needs of my family and those around me known, and then LOOKING and EXPECTING answers and finding them in the strangest of places and times once i began to simply accept the provision of my NEEDS and not my PLANS.

god is at work right now in EVERYONE'S life, but many do not have ears to hear through many generations of neglect. one of the things i do is draw near to the people whom god puts on my heart and in my path and i begin to hear what god is speaking into their lives at the moment so that they may begin to hear and see for themselves.

but don't take my word for it. you tell me what an amazing conicidence its been for you to have stumbled into this group of worldwide folk from such varied backgrounds and geographical locations that have been able to help (even if a little) and speak to you right where you need at this moment without judgement or fear.

when you get a moment, you'll need to remember to thank that jug of milk for leading you to this group to help carry your heart through such a tough time.

(fuck, where did all of that come from? see what happens when i don't open my mouth for a few days? imagine what it's like to be my wife! blah, blah, blah, blah, day and night.)

peace everyone. much love.

Ruth said...

Hello again - welcome back Jon, I hope your family is better now. I was beginning to wonder if I was in the wrong room but they have been very hospitable here in your absence.
I might have found you through Deconstructed Christian but I'm not sure now. You know how you just start going down a rabbit trail in blog land and before you know it you are somewhere and you don’t know how you got there? In fact, I feel a little bit like Alice at the tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Did someone say there’s donuts?

So I get what you’re saying about the girl/boy thing with God….it’s feels kinda irreverent and Jesus did refer to God as his Father in the masculine sense. But hey, each to their own…….I’m sure you won’t burn in hell for it.

However, I’m having a hard time with the F WORD being thrown about among the God talk. I mean even if it wasn’t God talk I would still have a problem with it but somehow it just makes it worse when it’s God talk. You get what I’m talking about when I say you jerk my Pharisaical chain?

As for you Nate – I read your “about me” and Yikes!!! Too much information!!! However, I did appreciate your story. You guys really got a raw deal. I think all PKs do. Not that I didn’t. But it helps me put my churched life into perspective. I am about the same age as you.

I read part 1 and part 2 from November that you referred to Jon. There was some great stuff there. You “Church Kids Gone Wrong” know how to ask the right questions cause you know the bible. That’s awesome!
I hope you realize that I am just having fun when I poke my church lady finger at you. Yes, some of the things you say get a rise in me but I see enough truth and fruit to make me stick around awhile.

Valorosa said...

Hello Ruth

I just am in awe of what you have just said ... :-)

"You know how you just start going down a rabbit trail ..."

LOL now THAT rings a bell ;-)

Ruth said...

Hi Valorosa,

Thanks....I'm glad I made you laugh. One never knows how they are taken in these blind conversations, especially since I'm the new kid in the class.

I really do feel like Alice.

Nate said...

Well Ruth,
Some of the language we pop out will have some explatives in it once in a while. But that is just who we are. We believe God made us the way we are, and we should be who we are. Otherwise we are not being who God would have us be. That in our eyes is disobedience to Him. Just an explanation.

From my studies, God is a spirit, that means asexual. Not male or female. So being the many breasted one to father are just descriptions.

Michelle,
Jon just came out of the fire, you are going through the middle of it. I can't help you get out of it, I can only support you through it. Oh, Jon says it is exciting. I thought it just plain sucked. Was it worth it on the other side? OH, yeah, but it still sucked.

Jon what are you trying to do, make me fat?

jON said...

gosh, this is fun.

ruth, believe me. yours is not the first pharisaical chain i've "yanked." strange thing is that its never intentional. pharisees just seem to lay their chain in a tangled mess all around them so that anyone near can't help but trip over it, thereby "yanking" it, unless you learn from them how to delicately dance through their hoops according to their specifications.

one day, i just got sick of dancing and walked away. that pissed them off the most. that i wasn't going to dance for them anymore. because i was damn good at it. and entertaining to boot. but i digress.

as to the language... i do not fault you for feeling what you feel. that kneejerk has been ingrained into most anyone who has grown up anywhere near a part of english speaking western society. one day, however, i just stopped believing in "bad words." the fact that any specific grouping of consonants and vowels could be "bad" in and of themselves just lost all meaning and reason. it is the language i grew up around and it is the language of the people i live among. as such, it is also my primary language. i try to be considerate of my audience, i do. but at the same time, this is also my place to be free with my thoughts and being and when it expresses perfectly what i wish to express, i express it. no shame. no twinge. truly from the heart and completely from faith. (i ranted about it ,twice, a couple of years ago...)

but to be fair, alice, i think i should give you some slight background on this tea-party. most of us here(but not all), have been run afoul in some way shape or form by the organized church. some in more painful circumstances than others. mostly, because of the very things that we now talk about freely in this place.

singularly, these were isolated instances that left us feeling broken and alone, but somehow we all stumbled into this rabbit hole as well. some of us taking great pains to carve out and prepare it as a room and a tea-party for people to stumble into.

we do engage in fairly intricate and serious god talk, but our hearts are generally light. once in a while you'll see some old heat flare up when one is reminded of their ordeal at the hands of "leadership"... but we're working on it.

and just so there's no mistake, i have been declared by an ordained pastor and an elder that i am "dangerous" and "not to be fellowshiped with." i figure if you're going to engage in any god talk here, you should be fair warned that it will be with at least one bonified heretic. you know, like you might want somebody with herpes to tell you beforehand.

but if you're still not scared, and wish to engage, then we speak of anything here. ask anything, no one is afraid to hear you out or even add perspective. because here, we're not afraid of heresy.

in fact, the king of this party is also a heretic. he kind of showed us the way, you could say... ;-)

and nate, i'm not the one making you fat. do i need to post some recent pictures as well? :-)

One Voice of Many said...

I'm rounding up on year three of this shit-storm of faith crisis. I'm quite tired of it. To add fuel to the fire, we thought we had come to the part of the tunnel where we did see a light. It turns out that the light is, indeed, a train.

jON said...

very sorry to hear that.

i'm sorry if i gave the impression that having your life dismantled is fun. the dismantling is not fun. and i am sorry for your pain and yet another disappoinment.

One Voice of Many said...

jon -

thanks...

I didn't take it that you were trying to say that being dismanteled is fun. Nate was totally stirring you up again. ;-)

I just see no real point it. I'm definitely convinced that God set things in motions, put it on spin cycle, and lets it go. This whole specific mapping that He supposedly does has to be untrue OR He's very very cruel. Trying to believe the best, I am forced to think He just doesn't intervene either way.

jON said...

so you've never once grown through hardship? not once has your difficulties prepared you for a greater challenge down the road? if they haven't that's just fine. it just hasn't been that way for me. i have never gone through pointless suffering, so it strikes me as odd. maybe i should just consider myself lucky.

One Voice of Many said...

jon -
:sigh:
I get your point. But does that mean circumstances are constructed for any spiritual reason or just the simple fact or what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? I think it's the latter.

jON said...

thank you for sighing. i wanted to do it earlier, but i didn't, because i didn't want you to think it's aimed at you. there are times when i ask god, "are you trying to kill this woman?"

but it's something we all go through in one form or another. i can't speak as to your specifics, but i can give examples from others' lives. mine as well.

i experienced severe mental and emotional suffering because of work on 3 separate occasions in my life. each time because i had the same type of job. the first two times, however, as i look back were necessary experiences that i needed to get as a means to where i am now. the third time, however, was not preparing me for anything. it was teaching me. 2 things. #1. - i hate, i mean HATE having authority over people and i simply do not function well when i have it. #2. - when i take matters into my own hands, and try to provide for myself, i fail in a big way.
and to top things off in such a state of despair, i generally enp up grasping at straws and setting my hopes upon those straws only to have them dashed time and time and time again.

so, in the end, i simply needed to find a place where i am okay, mentally and emotionally, to help ride things out from a positive perspective. because the shit-storm never ends. it is literally one thing after another (seemingly) until you die.

so it can be one or the other. either you need to get yourself and your family to another "place" or you're being prepared for something down the road. i have no idea which is which.

i don't know why i feel such a strong kinship with you and your situation, i just know i identify with it strongly and for some reason i don't want to see you give up and live a mediocre life just to get by. i want to see you living with the fullest joy possible.

even if you're beaten and chained to the wall in some prison somewhere...

Valorosa said...

Ecclesiastes shares a lot of light on these questions asked.

How empty life seems unless you are willing to just "be"

chpt. 3

" I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God."


chpt. 8

" So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, "I know," he cannot discover."

On my search for these particular passages I saw this ...

You know I don't think you can ever not learn something new every time you read this amazing book.

3:14
" I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

That which is has been already and that which will be HAS ALREADY BEEN, for God seeks what has passed by."

God seeks what has passed by

Hmmmm :-)

Ruth said...

Well thanks Jon for the heads up about the communicable disease that’s going around. I think I will continue to engage in the verbal intercourse. This is a good party and the refreshments are great!

Okay – so both you and Nate are saying that the vulgarity is not so much a need to be vulgar but an expression of yourself based on your social environment. I can buy that. Some of my best friends are vulgar, including my husband when he gets frustrated. Myself, I’m a bit of a priss.

Michelle, I can't imagine what your life circumstances are but I want to encourage you to keep seeking a real faith and not a faith that just blindly accepts.

It wasn't until I heard the Lord speak to me personally that I began to have a real faith. We can sing "Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so" until we are blue in the face, but it doesn't mean a thing until we hear Him tell us that in our own spirit. I shared my story a few weeks ago on my blog. It's called "In the Palm of His Hand"

Nate said...

Alright Michelle,
I have been making a study of the fire that you are going through. I prayed about it, and got permission to tell you about it. It is time. so if you would like to understand what God is doing, please email me. Telling someone what is happening before it is time, causes too many problems. So I do not want to post it in the open, where someone who should not see it, finds it. Jon, if you want in too, it will help you understand what was going on.

jON said...

nate, fire away. i enjoy getting genuine email and not spam.

ruth, then welcome to our group! obviously, this is blog-land and no one stays in only one place. we all have our own little circles that we travel among. but here in this place, we do our most esoteric thinking and you are most welcome to join in any time. (and even bring snacks as the mood strikes...)

michelle, nothing but blessings and peace to you and your family. i'll leave you alone for awhile :-) i hope things look better in the light of this new day.

if no one has anything to say on the actual topic at hand, then i will move on to part 3. which, hopefully, will finish this up.

One Voice of Many said...

Val - God seeks what has passed by. I've never heard that. Care to expound what it could possibly mean?

Ruth - thanks for the encouragement. I feel silly for being so upset after realizing how many times I've said that I decided God isn't in the details of life. I can't quite narrow down what exactly about that angers me. I'm working on trying to separate it though.

Nate - I emailed you. Fire away.

Jon - No need to leave me alone, so to speak. I'm interested in the conversation that comes about through all of this. I've just been busy with Cub Scout events today for my eldest son.

I do hope that being chained to the wall in prison isn't what allows me to be me. Gosh... then I could certainly ask "can this get any worse?!" lol Actually in that perspective, I definitely shouldn't be whining. That's exactly where some people are, literally.
But I hear the sentiment behind it, so thank you.

Valorosa said...

Actually, Michelle I had never noticed it before either. I was hoping that someone here might have some thoughts on it ... LOL

and Jon I have told you before that I believe that the Bible is a guide book ... a very good one and really the only one of it's kind.

The Bible points us to the Father and the Holy Spirit and tells, what we all need desperately to know, that our sins have been paid for and we have free access to the Father through the Son and yes, I believe the Holy Spirit is very female in personality... motherly actually... guiding us into truth convicting us of sin .. tweaking our conscience and comforting us.

As for Christ not receiving glory from men ... I'm wondering if he was talking about His transformation. His body glorified. He preferred praise from His Father.

He was God in the flesh though ... quite an intertwining of the three persons of God that we have been introduced to. There may be many more.

;-)

Ruth said...

Michelle ~ if you are telling yourself that "God isn't in the details of life" than you are lying to yourself!! He is definitely in the details. His thoughts of you outnumber the sand. Please read Psalm 139!!!! I know its for you. Bless you sister. I'm praying for you.

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

One Voice of Many said...

Ruth -
Thank you for your kind thoughts and posting of the Psalm. I do often appreciate the psalms as I tend to be about as melancholy as those writers were. You'll also discover about me that I circle back to "but... " more times than is profitable for any of us. So with that disclaimer; But....

Is that FROM God stating very plainly that He is indeed in the details or is that written by someone with high hopes while in a grateful and appreciative mood?

Care to guess which one that I think it is? ;-)

Michelle

Valorosa said...

I guess you could say that David had high hopes and was in an appreciative mood towards the Lord... He had lived through God getting him out of a lot of pretty tight situations. Life and death and war kinds of things ... something so alien to us.

He had also walked close and been forgiven for his many errors in his life here.

A man after God's own heart and yet he had done so many crappy things.

So does anyone want to bite as far as Ecclesiastes 3 goes?

3:14
" I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

That which is has been already and that which will be HAS ALREADY BEEN, for God seeks what has passed by."

Because if my life has already been then I might as well relax ... there's not a friggin' thing I can do :-)

I'm gonna just go eat drink and be merry

Woohoo !!!

Ruth said...

Michelle you said "Is that FROM God stating very plainly that He is indeed in the details or is that written by someone with high hopes while in a grateful and appreciative mood?"

I am making the assumption that we all believe that David's words are inspired by God. He speaks with God's heart. In other places in the Psalms he actually predicts minute details of Jesus' life and death. Jesus himself, quotes David's words many times as the word of God.

So Michelle and Val.....do you both believe that much of the Bible is just some guy's rant?

Val - your perspective on Ecclesiastes 3 is interesting. I think it opens up to thoughts of predestination and God's sovereignty and all that jazz.

I think God looks more at what is in our heart than what we are eating and drinking and how merry we are. I think he wants us to be merry!

Valorosa said...

"do you both believe that much of the Bible is just some guy's rant?"

Nope ... I don't ... I can't speak for Michelle.

I DO see from what Michelle has shared with us a place where many of us have been ... frustration with His silence among us is something we all can relate to.

The lack of healing among us ... nation wide ... I see 'healings' happening that people 'think' are miracles mostly. Things that would have healed up anyway.
I'm in the medical field and have been watching for a bonafide neurological healing. It is one area of the body that once seriously damaged does not heal itself.
In your church, Ruth, are there any people in wheelchairs who come every week WHO YOU 'ALL' KNOW. Are there any who get up and walk because anyone is operating in the gifts of the spirit ? Or do they just come every week and go home the same way.
It seems to me that if we actually have the gifts of the spirit these things should be happening among us ... why do we have to wait for a travelling evangelist to drop by?

Benny Hin was caught by 6o minutes faking it, I'm not saying that everything he has done has been that way but his reason for faking a healing was to increase the faith of the people watching ... to me this is just shibeanits. Anyone else?

There have been these fakers among us here in my town as well.

All of a sudden the church I went to was filled to the brim with people who came to be healed and it seemed ears were opened and all sorts of things you can't really see and could never know if they were healed happened ... and after all was said and done ... the people went home and guess what ..not one of our people in our congregation was healed ... only people we didn't know ... LOLOLOL

Why do they thing we are so stupid?

People here at Jon's are asking these very hard questions and looking at our faith in a more real way ... we want the truth, we won't settle for anything less. There is great sin among our church dwellers, especially among the leadership who stand to gain the most. They depend on their congregations for money and that combo causes problems right off the block.

Money issues will cause compromise

I really think we need to look at things in a whole new light.

I don't think it was ever meant to be this way. A workman is worthy of his wages ... yes ... but let's be sure they are really God's workmen... it is getting harder and harder to tell. I'm almost 100% certain that most sitting at the heads of todays churches are not sold out to God ... they are sold out to the organization who feeds them. They truly have learned how not to rock the boat to keep themselves robed with their trips to Florida etc.
OK I'm speaking from a northern climate here ...

The apostle Paul was happy to be pleasing God and that was reward enough for him ...

Lots of tough journeys and lots of eye opening lonely times with God pressing me hard to see and learn these things.

He is the alpha and omega the beginning and the end and He will not be mocked.

And I think this road of mockery is the road our two affluent nations have been walking down.

And we wonder why He is silent.

So the question is what do we do about it ... if anything.

It seems that He is opening the eyes of individuals and not whole bodies of people. I've been looking .. I have not found a whole body but I have found individuals.

Ruth said...

Wow - Valorosa, you've got some very valuable things to say. I would like to respond but need a chance to wrap my mind around it.

Perhaps I was a little too sarcastic when I asked you whether you thought the bible was just "some guy's rant"., I hope I didn't offend you.

It was because of your response to Michelle..

"I guess you could say that David had high hopes and was in an appreciative mood towards the Lord... "

I was wondering if you thought it was just David's heart talking or if you believe it is also God talking through David.

I was just assuming that we all thought that David's words in the Psalms are inspired by God. It never occurred to me to think anything else.

One Voice of Many said...

Ruth - the perfect inspired word of God as evidenced by the Holy Scriptures... well, the jury in my head is still out on that one. I know.. I know... more fires being stoked in my honor; I'm just being honest. I at least have come back in a bit from the edge of they were completely fabricated by a people desperately wanting a religious and historical reason to claim a piece of land. (thanks History channel for furthering my nuttiness)

I do believe the honesty of the heart behind the Scriptures. I can at least sit there. As you can tell there isn't a lot of things of faith that I am sure of these days. I used to be sure.. so sure of things. That was another life ago.

Michelle

One Voice of Many said...

Val -
The NIV translation has that verse this way:
Whatever is has already been,

and what will be has been before;

and God will call the past to account.


So "God looks to the past" and "God will call the past to account" makes sense to me.

Michelle

wanting more said...

Strangely enough, at our church building this morning, our "pastor" actually spoke on just what you are saying...I was pretty astonished, but then nearing the end of the "message" it turned out to be more of the same if you do this, then you will get this sort of deal. I was excited at first though! I love your version of Ezekiel - thanks for making me laugh. And for getting me out of my god box.

If you haven't checked out my blog lately, we're moving again! This time to a city, so it won't be as tough.

I totally get why you believe God "destroys" us such as we see it...in order to cause us to be exactly what HE created us to be, WHO we really are...your complete answer sounds soo soo just like a book I just read. It has really changed my whole view of God...or IS CHANGING my view...or giving me more freedom to explore Him, I don't know if I'll ever have a "view" or "perspective". It's called, "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore." By Jake somebody...It's a story, an easy read. I recommend it. Though, it seems you already know it!

Michelle,
I have no idea what you are going through...but from my own experience - going through it presently - sometimes God just has to completely wipe your spiritual slate clean...just make you feel completely at a loss. Does any of it matter? Do I know a damn thing about this God? Nothing I've ever thought I've known is true anymore...you just get to this place where you don't give a shit anymore, you stop trying to understand because you are not sure it even matters...and I think I'm learning that this is actually a pretty good place in His eyes. Sounds crazy, huh? But, if He rids us of all of the religion we've been bound up in (more than I could even imagine) our tainted perspectives on who He is, what His word means, and all of it...then maybe we can really hear Him and know the real Him. My question to him lately has been, "God - who in the world are you?" WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU? I still don't have an answer, but I still know He exists, and for now that is all I can claim to know...

It's late...does this have anything to do with anything?

jON said...

"...for god seeks what has passed by..."

only spitballing here, but it strikes a chord with me to think of the garden. of eden. to think of the time after we, as humans, were created, BEFORE we decided to engage in the ONE THING we were asked not to engage in. complete freedom but for ONE simple request. to not eat the "fruit of the knowledge of good and evil."

and i think that god was able to accomplish this goal through the cross. to return the world to a "garden state" by removing the entire body of sin for all time. now we are free to simply live, but i think we would do well to not eat from that same fruit. strange, though, that "the knowledge of good and evil" is almost exclusively the fruit that we are given to snack on in most evangelical god-circles. and i think that is one of the reasons that we fail so miserably in all of the areas of concern which you spoke, wendy.

but i digress. i don't understand it entirely, its just something i noticed. i noticed that when i stopped trying to understand good and evil, and stopped asking "who will go to heaven?" or "who will go to hell?" i found that the "word was near." the less i judged a person, the more i loved them. this includes my own view of myself as well.

as to this bible author question... it is actually a great segue to part 3 of this. so i won't go into it entirely here, but i will say that i think that as people were moved in their hearts to communicate, they did. but i don't think that these people were approached by god, who came to them as a boss would approach a secretary, saying, "take a letter for me..."

i think these people spoke out of their hearts from the basis of their experience and as such, through reading about their thoughts and experiences, we can learn how to recognize the same spirit they encountered as we encounter it.

but i do not think that the bible is god trying to communicate to us through code or using a person to "speak for him." not that god doesn't do this, the prophets are a good example of this, but i don't think that is ENTIRELY AND WITHOUT FAIL what the bible is. i don't think it is god laying down a law. especially after he took such great pains, even sacrificing his son, to remove the first law!

when i read the bible from this view, i find myself more able to engage in a free relationship with god and not being bound by either another person's ideas, mode of operation, or specific directives they were given by god to them.

Ruth said...

"It seems that He is opening the eyes of individuals and not whole bodies of people. I've been looking .. I have not found a whole body but I have found individuals"

Yes Val - I see that too. A while ago I was complaining to a friend about my lonliness and despair with the body of Christ. She said she saw a picture of many individual fires burning and that soon they will all join together.

I have tucked that in my heart as hope that God is doing something out there.

I was really taken with your story about the healings at your church. You're right - it is laughable. My church is a word based evangelical church and although they say they believe in all the spiritual gifts, they don't really. I think if any healing went on they would shut it down.

In my blogland journeys, I have been learning about how damaging the abuses in the charasmastic churches have been. My experience has been with oppression in the evangelical church. I am not sure now what the lesser of the two evils are.

I do know that for some reason God wants me to stay at my church. Several times he's told me in various ways that I am a "warm ember".

This is why I love blogging and talking it up with other embers...it keeps me warm.

Thank you all for welcoming me to your room. I have really enjoyed a place to warm up.

Michelle - I hear the pain in your voice. You have a sweet and humble spirit and you are aproaching your faith from an honest place. I know the Lord will woo you back.

I'm sorry Jon for taking your post down a rabbit trail :) What you said about the bible author question is resonating with me but it's throwing me for a loop. I'm looking forward to your next post.

Nate said...

Hey, got some stuff, it is in the cubed post.

One Voice of Many said...

Val -
You said:
Benny Hin was caught by 6o minutes faking it, I'm not saying that everything he has done has been that way but his reason for faking a healing was to increase the faith of the people watching ... to me this is just shibeanits. Anyone else?

My husband is in the know related to Benny from his bodyguard experience/networking/friends. Benny has a team that travels with him including protection. 60 minutes was right on. He's a total faker. The whole mass hysteria, group think, positive thinking, wishful thinking, etc., that he feeds into is just a self perpetuating high-dollar lifestyle for him. I have NO respect for him at all.

One Voice of Many said...

Ruth -
You said:
You have a sweet and humble spirit and you are aproaching your faith from an honest place. I know the Lord will woo you back.

Comments like these amaze me. I hope that what you read in my words is a true reflection. Sweet and humble is NOT how I see myself. ;-)

But still, these comments give me hope and I appreciate everyone's responses with all of my quandaries.

Michelle

One Voice of Many said...

jon -
there are times when i ask god, "are you trying to kill this woman?"

Wouldn't a nice Bible thumping evangelical agree and say "Yes, He is... He's trying to kill all of you so that you're solely dependent on Him!" Wait..that sounds like Nate! :-)

Sorry --coffee induced banter ;-)

Michelle