The following thoughts are offered from the small boy within, still loving Jesus - now yearning for His presence more than life itself. They are no treatise, but simply verbs from an anonymous Antipodean.
They are only offered from a position of weakness and can throw no punches for the poverty of strength is so great. There are no laurels to wave, nor boasts to make, save Christ and His completely unfailing patience with me.
The adult in me suggests (at random intervals) that my greatest contribution to me has been my undoing of me, thus facilitating Jesus' Spirit to enter (I wonder if Brennan Manning could have echoed that thought?), to reassemble, correct and to heal me. Does not the child remain father to the man? (Wordsworth)
Daily this little boy within draws me, even pleads with me to sit yet again upon the lap of Jesus, for does He still not suffer the little children to come unto Him? So - maybe all this is merely an absolute youthful foolishness that sets me to tap away these responses?
These thoughts are only to some of your responses on the LinkedIn discussion TEC - NOT SUSPENDED. They remain constructed upon 'Righteousness is the pedestal of love' and are approached with the reason that you are familiar with the language Zion, knowing a Jesus who died and rose again for the sins of the world. As always, the volume of LinkedIn posts, thoughts and material simply means there is only a selection to discuss.
I must signal the intent here, what is absent, as well as what is present:
- there is no attempt to 'Bible brow-beat'. There is no ill-will at all, yet the Bible remains a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. This I know, to be sure.
- to accept the Lord's words is simply my rule of life. Hence I rely on scripture and shall do so until the day I die (I pray).
- there is no desire to judge, condemn, flagellate or create any spirit of dis-ease but
- there is the desire to speak very well to you, to honor the Lord, defend His ways and words, while seeking His righteousness with a meekness He alone may honor.
HARRY - I have no idea why that would be so. The trees are not competing. They are complementary. BOTH are necessary for the one who would be fully human. The Tree of Life is about our experience as created beings arising from the source of Life itself and returning to that source when our lives are over. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is about how we live those lives while we are here. We need reason though it is hardly all we need to live lives worth living. We also need our hearts and our souls. Reason which emanates from the heart, informed by the soul, is the highest form of reason.
- To my mind Harry, the two trees are the core, the foundation, the cornerstone of all we eat, breath, learn and value. Ecclesiastes reminds me that the words of the wise only come from one shepherd - there is but a single source of wisdom. (Eccl 12:11) Reason that emanates from the heart seeds the core of truth within man's informed thinking, but mans' reason is as fallen as his ways. The X- Files are kinda correct, the truth is out there, found in the reason of Jesus - that is knowledge from the Tree of Life. (John 14:6) Hearts and souls left to their own devices will vindicate self, there needs to be the external plumb line to construct life correctly as much as the builder needs it for his walls to be vertical.
- The T of K sounds so reasonable and makes the T of Life appear so unreasonable. But there will always be only one true source of wisdom.
A Tale from an almost failed BBQ
Too many years ago I attempted from complete ignorance but all the intelligent reason a young and over confident man could muster to build the simplest of items - a BBQ. I selected a style. It required 230 common bricks. I had completed 7 courses of the right hand side (about 65 bricks) and quickly realised that this tiny wall would soon topple. I chose to disassemble it before the minor damage of collapse. My error was my internal reason. I now know that brick walls must begin in the corner. I began at the front. By seven courses there was such a significant accumulated error that the bricks were so precarious they would imminently fall.
The T of K, man's reason - is not a cornerstone for knowledge/reason or wisdom, for the more it teaches the greater the accumulated error. Reason must be built from the corner out, Christ the cornerstone - the Tree of Life. This is why there is so much grace, morality, prosperity and salvation confusion permeating the globe, particularly the west. So many competitors to the Tree of Life have been seeded as the fruit from the T of K has been dropped in the hallowed halls of professional learning for at least a thousand years.
- The Tree of Knowledge (T of K) is not complementary to the Tree of Life (T of L) it denies and seeds human doubts in the the T of L. In fact God's command from Gen 2 to not eat of the T of K has not been rescinded. Mankind that is fully human does not require the T of K, for its information reduces humanity to a mere evolution from an unidentified monkey or to a reincarnation as a gentle dolphin. The T of K suppresses the truth (Romans 1:18) of man as the pinnacle of creation, the very mirror of God. The Tof K legitimises wickedness. This Paul develops as homosexuality in chapter 1. The T of K is not required for man to be fully human, Adam/Eve were already fully human before eating the sweet fruit. Humanity rests in the image of God.
- I find it interesting to note, that the T of K is no longer present in the new heaven and earth of Revelation 21-22. Along with evil it must have been destroyed at the new creation. Heaven is always the place where evil is not welcome. Satan was expelled from heaven, and likewise the T of K (which promotes evil as well as good) will also not be present in the new heavens. The Tree of Life is. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. True, permanent, life-giving healing only comes from the T of L. In one of the most puzzling verses to my mind the T of L stands bearing fruit across each side of the river of life, flowing from God's throne. (Revelation 22:1-2)
HARRY - Lot had reason to be distressed. The lawless men violated the primordial law of hospitality that insured trade in the ancient world. Worse yet, they chose to do so by an attempted gang rape of the strangers. Such predatory behaviors are, indeed, filthy.
- To amend your phrase Harry, the lawless men violated the primordial law of homosexuality, not hospitality. This issue is evidenced by Lot's unimaginable 'generosity' of his daughters. It is not the welcome mat but the very nature of this homosexual event that makes it significant. There is ample Biblical evidence against homosexuality - Romans 1 only echoes Genesis 19. But the Tree of Knowledge still informs its scholars as it did Eve, did God really say?
- Immorality of any sort can only be supported when the Bible is denied for its witness. Once again the result issues that we are then left to do what is right in our sight alone.
HARRY - Homosexuality is the subordinate expression of sexual orientation in virtually every species of animals including homo sapiens. It is not the dominant expression but it is consistently present among all animals.
- The above is merely the T of K teaching how to disagree with the T of L. It is why the grasping of the power/influence of these two trees is eternally important. The T of K disagrees, does not complement the T of L as the subject of sexual orientation is canvassed. Very few people will sit with the Bible, the incarnation of the T of L, and enjoy its shade alone. The T of K has already emptied the value of scripture to mankind, as satan did to God's word in Eden. In fact the T of K explains Gen 1-3 as myth and so is dismissive. There is nothing new under the sun
- The T of K teaches both good and evil. The T of L only teaches good. There was no knowledge of evil for Adam should he have obeyed. The T of K informs to this day, that which the T of L calls evil is good. It is the T of K that brought confusion into mankind and his ways, for prior to Genesis 3 Adam would never know 'both sides' to life, only the perfectly good side.
- Man rules animals. God gave man dominion over creation. Animals are not a template for human behavior. Homosexuality is a post- edenic option. The model of God's intentions are Genesis 2 and not the subsequent behavior of humans since Genesis 3 (otherwise we all could support too the murdering of brothers). God's Edenic intentions will be re-achieved in Revelation 21-22.
HARRY - The fact these ideas have found a place in scripture from ancient peoples and are used by people today to legitimate their animus toward LBGTQ people is a testament to the enduring power of human prejudice.
- The issue is not the enduring power of human prejudice, but rather the divine ongoing plea for righteousness, the Way of Holiness that Isaiah writes about (35:8) and Paul speaks volumes on (Romans 6 for instance). Holiness is separation from the world (Babylon) and its ways, not compliance/pursuit of the world's ways. The Bible is not an expression of mankind's prejudice but rather the loving call to Be Holy as I am Holy, a record of salvation history, freedom from sin and so much more.
- Love is in fact perfected when I deliver my desires to death and not pursue them. The T of K teaches me to indulge me, the T of L teaches the opposite - to deny me. This is Calvary revisited by those who would bend the knee to the risen Lord of the Cross.
- God has set the pattern of redemption and 'human prejudices' are a subjective judgement from a fallen soul. They are a verbal assault from the T of K. As God has not changed, neither will His discernments. What was sin in pre-history, what led to the flood, the collapse of Sodom and then Babylon is equally sin today. The T of K teaches the opposite.
HARRY - Grace is not about sin or righteousness. Grace is about G-d's goodness, the divine overflowing of love into a universe in sore need of the same. Grace is necessary for our very lives. To cast grace in a purity-based construct is to lose its depth and meaning. Such fear-driven constructs do violence to the very essence of G-d's presence in the created world.
- The Apostle Paul describes grace as freedom to not sin, not permission to sin. It is about the offer of righteousness, the all-covering, all-conquering mantle of righteousness that the Lord would slip across our shoulders as Elijah so donned Elisha. This does not lose its meaning but rather amplifies it. As yet the purity of Heaven is still to love and redeem, be still completely involved in the multiplying mire of earth for its rescue, and not repetition of sin that pains. This is not a theocratic God but one as you well describe is still involved in humanity. A humanity He sought with His own blood to rescue from its own self-injurying neglect and sin that invites the dalliances which consume us. This is not a doing of violence to God, but rather a God rescuing man from the violence He would first do to himself and then may repeat to others. As you have sat in the docks with such a child of God, a marred and broken image, I have sat on the street corners, or in the classrooms and screamed in my heart (I suspect you may have too), rescue him/her Lord, but somehow (another discussion) human wilfulness intervenes, or a broken legislature sits unable/incompetent maybe even uncaring to heed their pleas or heal their hearts.
- YES - grace is about God's goodness, and YES, YES, YES it is necessary for even our very breath. Should the good Lord seek to withdraw His daily portion of grace to me I will encounter Him post-haste. My dear old mom, would too oft remind her intransigent youth there but for the grace of God go ye.
HARRY - No one should ever presume that if others do not buy into their religious constructs that this somehow means the other will be damned. Human beings do not make the decisions about redemption; G-d does. It no doubt feels good to presume that G-d certainly must hold my understandings. But that's a mighty small god if it is true, hardly the author of all Creation.
- Your reason is solid, no presumption intended. The issue is truth, not religious constructs. The T of K counsels many ways to heaven, there is no afterlife, or whatever the latest spiritual fad/diet it plates up to serve an unsuspecting earth. The T of K has reduced truth to slippery vagaries that morph on popular opinion. It is why what was once outlawed is now promoted.
- YES, the God of all creation can never fit my understanding, for if He did, I would then be God and He wouldn't. He would be so small as to be no God at all. And of course, foolishly, that would then too make me God.
No man can know the mind of God, for God seeks counsels from none. We gaze dimly into the pool of another's suffering, or wrestle painfully with our heart's piercings. But unless we so choose to object, the Lord has revealed sufficiently of Himself through both creation and Scripture, (taught by the Spirit of Truth). Then each may navigate life safely in a forgiven purity to heaven's gates. It is obvious by now that I still believe in the atonement for there is still no other name under heaven by which one may be saved.
The child within naively remains alive in faith.
Harry as you wrote, it is always good to learn. Thank you. I believe we both agree on this. I thank you too for your words, your heart for the lost, the least, the last and lonely and the stretching you have distended this soul to. I truly do wish very you well regardless of disagreement or agreement.
Further links are below that develop some of the above ideas on soulsupply.com
The small boy within will now and always (I pray) seek the Lord's lap above else until he can fall permanently humble at the Lord's scarred feet.
SoulSnack subscriptions - each workday or weekly.