Thoughts on a snowy morning!

I awoke this morning thinking of trust. A week or two back my granddaughter, age 15 months, was at our house, accompanied by her entourage (parents and grandmother). At one point in the evening she was on the couch with her two grandmothers. She was flinging herself every which way, rolling and twisting as she played with her growing strengths and abilities. Without the careful attention of the grandmothers she would surely have ended up on the floor numerous times, or even crashed into the coffee table nearby. Completely unaware of the possible danger she trusted implicitly the watchful care of her grandmothers. She was free to try out her increasing sense of self, her constantly developing coordination and strength. She threw herself unselfconsciously in various directions, completely trusting others to catch her and keep her from self-destruction!

Could this be what the ascended master Yeshua meant 2000 years ago when he said to his followers that they needed to become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Through my life in the church I have heard many sermons on this saying and have pondered it much. I know this idea has been debated back-and-forth for centuries. Certainly there are aspects of childhood he did not intend, such as the complete self-centered-ness and immaturity of young children. But methinks that the complete trust shown by my granddaughter on the couch must be at least part of what the teacher meant when he said those words.

Can I trust that much? Can I fling myself backwards, trusting heaven to catch me lest I fall? Can I twist and turn as I experiment with new-found freedoms, knowing I will not be allowed to go so far as to injure myself? Do I envision the universe as my playground, mine to explore, seeking ever new vistas and dimensions hitherto undreamt of?

And how does God watch over me, ensuring my safety? In my past this mechanism was largely realized by Church and its book. With council from fellow explorers and with diligent study of the book, we boldly went where no one had gone before (at least in our experience!!).

Church, and its book, no longer are sufficient safeguards for me. I find them to be stultifying and restricting, preventing me from fully experiencing my growing freedom. And I find this sentiment shared increasingly by those I encounter. More and more people are finding organized religion to be restrictive to spiritual growth. In this age of spiritual awakening the old safety nets don’t work. For many centuries they worked just fine. But no longer. There are new things happening. God is doing a new work in our day. The old categories and strictures are falling by the wayside for growing numbers.

How bold can we be as we obediently trust that we are cared for and watched over?

One thought on “Thoughts on a snowy morning!

  1. I think you are definitely on to something on the one hand, but overlooking the full implications of it on the other hand. God certainly delights as we spread our wings and explore the world around us, but he is also deeply, deeply, concerned, as the adults in your example were, to “keep [us] from self-destruction.” One key role of adults in the life of children is to separate truth from error. No loving parent would knowingly allow their child to continue to hold false beliefs.

    False beliefs, of course, are connected to false actions. If I believe, on this snowy morning, that is it sunny and warm so I go outside with shorts and a tank top expecting to go for an hour-long walk, that false belief will cost me dearly. In the interest of preventing self-destruction any loving human (and, indeed, loving God) would be passionately concerned about truth, per se.

    One purpose of the Bible is to accomplish precisely that; to separate truth from error. It does more than that, obviously, but that is a major role. It informs us about God’s true nature so we are not fooled into believing false claims about God. It informs us about our own true human nature so we behave appropriately to our nature. What you call “stifling” I see as a loving parent graciously holding up a hand and saying, “no, my dear child, do not go there; you will hurt yourself.”

    The Church is supposed to be God’s primary voice in the world helping people understand the truth and calling people to repentence. All too many of us not only spread our wings, but fly off to destinations that prove utterly destructive for us in this life or the next. God and his Church will always speak up, inspired by love, to point us back to truth and safety.

    Of course it certainly could be the case that the Bible is false in its claims about reality. It could be that the Bible’s portrait of God is wrong. It could be that the Bible falsely describes human nature. As we discussed previously, you seemed open to the prospect (though had not concluded either way) that the New Testament is catastrophically wrong with respect to not only the historical fact of Jesus’ death, but the profound and absolutely foundational theological significance of his death. All that is certainly possible.

    And if the Bible is false then any intelligent person would reject it. Throw it out! No loving God would allow falsehood to continue as the standard for humanity. If, for instance, Francine is right that Jesus did not die then I will be the first to burn my New Testament. I assume you would be the second?

    So that leads me to wonder if God’s word is, indeed, stifling as you say, or if it is accurate and trustworthy, and therefore lovingly protective against self-destruction. That all depends on whether or not it is true. That is the critical question that should determine our response to it.

    Are you leaning any particular direction on that issue?

Comments are closed.