"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Friday, June 04, 2004
Out of the Box
dog-ma Function: noun
Etymology: Latin dogmat-, dogma, from Greek, from dokein to seem -- more at DECENT
1 a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet b : a code of such tenets c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
2 : a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church
3 : things you should automatically question and weigh until you are satisfied.
I think I was thirteen or fourteen when I realized that things were not as I believed spiritually.
I had been raised in the Presbyterian church, and my family went to "First Presbyterian" which was one of the largest and most prestegious in town. By largest, I mean as in structure, not as in attendance.
From my earliest memory of it until about the time I am speaking of, I can't remember any new faces. My Sunday School class went from year to year just like my classes in school did, and a lot of the people were the same ones.
During that entire period, I cannot remember a single person having a conversion moment in their life. Perhaps some of them grew slowly towards salvation and one day just quietly crossed the line of redemption. I hope so.
My own line of redemption was crossed when I was about thirteen. I was in bed, unable to sleep, and God and I were having a conversation. I knew something was majorly missing from my life.
I think it was Descartes who said that we all have a God shaped hole. Nothing but God is capable of filling it. And I felt that hole.
When the moment came for me, well, I have seen a lot of people pass that moment and we all do it differently. Some people seem as if they are releasing a grip on the past and surrendering to salvation. Others seem as if they are reaching a conclusion of salvation. For me, it was as if I was grabbing a life preserver.
I plead, simply, "God, I'm yours. Take me. I need you."
At that instant, I had what would be the first of several "waking visions" that I have experienced over the years. They happen in an instant, but express to me in imagery what would take forever to explain in words.
I "saw" in my minds eye, crystal clear, the image of Jesus literally squeezing through a hole into my head. I know, that sounds strange, but that pretty much described what happened that night. All He needed was an invite, and He came.
I would like to say that the next day everything was different and the last thirty years have been wonderful, but if you've made this trip you know about the bumps in the road and the side streets. Regretably, I've hit those bumps and taken a few of those side streets. But that's another story.
I've related in the comments on a previous post where I did not know about the rapture until I discovered a flyer on it one day while alone at the church. And that wasn't the only doctrine I had missed either.
On one hand there was doctrine we all learned, not thinking to check it out in the Bible. For example, the idea that Jesus spent three days in Hell. Try to look that one up.
On the other hand, there is the doctrine that wasn't passed on at all, like the rapture doctrine at my church, or spiritual gifts.
Spiritual gifts. Now, that was to become a hot topic. One that deserves its own post.
What I think I learned, there at thirteen years old and newly sanctified holding a flyer that let me in on a wonderful secret, was that I had to weigh everything. I had to check out everything.
There was, after all, only one source I could trust. And He had graciously given me a rule book.
The least I could do was to use it. Even when it meant thinking out of the box.
More in a future post.
All dogmas perish the thinking mind, especially ones you agree with.