Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

22 September, 2016

CHRISTIANITY IN THE CONTEXT OF TODAY'S CHANGING WORLD

I believe: “The writing of the Bible was conditioned by the language, thought and setting of its time. The Bible must be read in its historical context.”

We cannot hold on to the past. We know that traditional structures disappear; however, these disappearances have cost dearly. We have responses in ourselves to which we must attend, if we want to appropriately encounter the new world that is bearing us into rapidly changing times.

As a reforming Christian who has withdrawn (temporarily?) from active church participation, I do not believe in scripture as the literal and inerrant word of God. I have come to understand that scripture was inspired by God, but written by human beings who were, just as much as we all are, limited by psychological, sociological, cultural and historical circumstances.

I was recently taken with the words of old friend Wes Denyer: "Scripture is the best ‘word’ we have in trying to understand the will of God for us, but it is not inerrant, and we should not limit God to the words of scripture."

In other words, is it possible, as we gain knowledge and insight, as our vision of humanity is expanded and as the circumstances of the world change, that we may be able to see more clearly the nature of the God who called us into existence?

I believe God is the same yesterday, today and forever, but is it possible our ability to understand who God is, and what God requires of us, may change, develop and grow? For example, in the sixth chapter of the Book of Joshua, after the fall of the city of Jericho, by order of the Lord (the will of God) “they devoted to destruction by the sword all in the city, both men and women, young and old.”

I do not believe for one minute that God ever commanded the slaughter of babies and old people! However, what I can understand is that people who lived in a time of continual fear and danger of violent death, and where life was “poor, nasty, brutish, and short” – would would be consistent with the nature of their own lives. They could imagine a God who called upon them to kill every man, woman and child, because that was the kind of world in which they lived.

To say that our understanding of who God was in the darkness of those times should continue to be the God we worship in 2016 is to limit God. We cannot continue to impose those cultural, historical and physical circumstances of the past on our understanding of God today.


As a for-instance and as society has advanced, in the past century our North American churches (to their credit) have moved away from gender bias and male-only leadership, racial bigotry and anti-gay positioning. Apologies have been made and reconciliation, in a number of instances, is ongoing.  

So, still staying within the Old Testament, we find the same Hebrew people who believed God told them to commit genocide, developing and growing into a new understanding of God.  We read things like:

• “They will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more” (Micah 4:3).

• “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

• When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. Love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:34).

We learn and we grow, albeit slowly and often reluctantly.  We have a way to go...We should all attempt to understand our world and its people in new ways, allowing us to live with greater compassion and justice, with more freedom and opportunities for all. In so doing, we set God free from our old and limited (religious) prejudices, narrow-minded thinking, intolerance, racism and hatred.

God doesn’t change…but we can!  So must our churches, if they wish to remain relevant.


Sadly, however, I have to concede that we'll never completely catch up to the speed of change in our brief lifetimes.  We're only human, limited by circumstances that are not necessarily of our own making.

We tend to blindly cling to, even fight for, centuries-old traditions and belief systems because we think that archaic biblical scriptures still apply to us in the 21st Century.

Give the God of today more credit than that!  Look at the reality of the world freely and without prejudice.  The wise individual is the one who sees reality as it really is and who looks into the depths of things. We are not taken out of the world but thrust into the midst of the fray for that is the place that, in Christ, God has made his own.

Dream the impossible dream...We need to continually pray individually and corporately for an understanding that has universal acceptance.  

08 September, 2016

A SWAN SONG: INTUITION TELLING ME IT'S TIME TO MOVE AWAY AND BEYOND

I find it difficult to have anything resembling a real conversation with younger people today...Two or three-word utterances at best.  Equally unsettling is the reality that, for the most part, anything I write is taken with a grain of salt as coming from an old man who espouses old-fashioned ideas and values and is, at best, tolerated and given quick dismissal.

This morning I happened to eaves-drop on a conversation between a couple of folks in my age category. They mutually agreed in lamenting that "minding their own business" had become a reality in their lives and besides, "no one really listens anymore."  I could not help but think "Welcome to the club!"

For some time now I have struggled with the thought, or intuition, that I am wasting my time (countless hours of mind-rendering preparation) in writing pieces that in reality go absolutely nowhere.  The gratification in pride of authorship wanes in the isolation of advanced age and the realization that more and more as life progresses, one tends to talk primarily to oneself.

Is it healthy to listen to, and act upon, intuition?  I truly think so!

I read recently that "Intuition tells us intimate and important things nobody else will—and it will also tell you things your own mind will argue with." As a culture, we have learned to believe that being rational is what should prevail when making decisions. But what about our “inner voice,” our gut feeling -- that “little something” instinctual from within, which tells us how we feel beneath those layers of logic?

Intuition can be either a moment where you instinctively know if something IS right—or isn’t right. It’s our inner voice that “that just knows,” and it does understand what uniquely, sometimes seemingly illogically, will make you happy. It bridges the gap between between instinct and reason, between the conscious and unconscious mind.

Science tells us that only 20 percent of the brain’s gray matter is used for conscious thoughts, while 80 percent is dedicated to non-conscious thoughts.

What is Intuition?  Albert Einstein once said that it is our most valuable asset, and one of our most unused senses. He described it as “a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance of something.” Sometimes it is referred to as gut feeling, sixth sense, innate wisdom, inner sense, instinct, inner voice, or spiritual guide.

Many people will have an intuitive flash as they’re falling asleep or just waking up. It’s often described as a flash of understanding that can cut through our defense systems and allow a deep truth to be revealed.

Commonly, one's real life experience is that we walk into a house for rent or sale, and instantly know it’s the right place to live. For some married couples, it took just one look to recognize their partner in life. Dogs are known to howl at the moment of their master’s death, even if they’re separated by thousands of miles. And time after time, women will say that they had ‘a funny feeling’ about something or someone dangerous. Throughout history and in every culture, the communication of our intuition happens repeatedly in ways that current science can’t explain.

When you talk in depth to people about how they made their important life choices, the story often includes plot twists due to unplanned serendipitous coincidences, magic happening, and “going with their gut.” At some point in life, the journey gets kind of loose, and it is at that moment that the intuition is the right navigating tool -- it is alert to signs of change and opportunity.

We read the signs and omens of what life is saying to us through our intuition. Just as a movie director hints early in a film about a future plot development, hooking us into the story with a glimpse of how things might turn out—the intuition hooks us into our own journey in life. It’s a point at which we understand something new, or know something to be true.

Usually, the intuition comes and goes, informing abruptly, but it can also be called up at will. Whether out-of-the-blue or consciously conjured, it can be instantly there for you once you begin to exercise it.

The intuition’s most important role is that it alerts us to the path, people, and circumstances that we will uniquely find fulfilling. Using intuition or sixth sense is just like working a muscle. It will get stronger the more you use it. We often hesitate to follow our intuition out of fear. Usually, we are afraid of the changes in our own life that our actions will bring.

Let's face it...The inescapable realities of aging are no laughing matter. Even worse, there are a host of environmental and lifestyle factors that are constantly preying on the youth of every cell of our body. Things that turned my crank even five, 10 or 15 years ago ultimately lose their appeal and take effort to sustain, particularly in regards to relationships and communications.  The all-too-noble impulse to motivate and impart reasoned thinking on the outside chance that at least "someone out there will relate" suddenly becomes an idealistic expectation that cannot be justified.

Don't get me wrong, however.  Writing has been a passion for me...It filled a need.  For the most part, it was a labor of love that allowed me to express otherwise suppressed emotions and to share bits of human interest that held special meaning for me.  Every one of the now more than 800 posts on Wrights Lane in the past nine years was a sincere expression of myself. I am grateful for the modest following of readers that stayed with me and, I think, understood where I was coming from most of the time.

This is all by way of saying that my intuition is telling me that, while there is certain gratification in written pontification, a price is being paid -- a price that I can no longer afford.  I have no reason to fear necessary change because it is in my best interest.  It is now time for me to, as much as possible, eliminate stress-inflicted physical and mental clutter and part of the solution is to cease trying to influence the thinking of others who I barely know (or do not know at all) and to stop worrying about resultant perceptions.

I have very little left to offer these days and when I do, the over-riding impression is that no one listens anyway and very few really genuinely care about the message(s) I try to impart.

Why waste time that is better expended closer to home...Like keeping sane at a time in life when new focus is required, when personal needs and responsibilities increase in concert with diminishing coping mechanisms.  Sought-after gratification is better derived from kindly and thoughtful first-person intercourse with those I encounter on a daily basis, fully prepared still to win some and to occasionally lose some.

Intuition can be life-preserving, if only we listen to it and ultimately accept change when warranted.

If my posts on Wrights Lane are increasingly few and far between in the future, you will now know the reason why.

I am bowing to age-acquired intuition and the associated reality that comes along with it!

05 September, 2016

DRESDEN BLOG SITE SPRUCE UP

Anyone who has followed my "Dresden: Father and Son Turn Back the Clock" musings may be interested in checking out recent changes I have made to the web site.  Just click http://dicktheblogster3.blogspot.ca/
The downtown Dresden that I remember.