Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Cart Before The Horse

We Christians are a weird people. Seriously. I know we are supposed to be peculiar, that we are to be the light and salt of the world, to be different from what passes as the world culture at large, but how is it that we are supposed to do that?

So many times and in so many ways we are willing to stand in public places and rail against sin and opposition to God, but we never address the real issues; the things that concerned Christ who is our Savior. You remember Him; the one that told us to go out into the world and build relationships with people to show them who He is - ya, that Jesus, God's Son (sarcasm is an old habit that refuses to die).

It seems that we spend way too much time telling everyone about the things we are against, the things we consider sinful and unrighteous; things that are in opposition to God's will.

Is this not getting the cart before the horse?

Again, seriously, if we want to win people to Christ, should we be beating them over the head with their sins, trying to pass laws to deny them this or that? Would it not be better to get to know them and show them Jesus through the way we live and treat them?

People outside the faith are not our enemies. They are our mission. If we hope to win them, we will not do it through public campaigns against abortion or gay marriage. We will do it by recognizing the things we have in common. We will do it through serving them and loving them even though or when they disagree with us.

And even if they should act like our enemies and treat us as such, how did Jesus say we should treat our enemies? Please see Matthew 5 - The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says to love them, to give to them, to go the extra mile for them. No where does he say to enter into public debate with them.

The apostle Paul, who was quite righteous on his own and urged the same from other believers, never viewed his Gentile audiences as enemies though they were sinners in every sense of the word. They were His mission field and he went to great lengths to find common ground with them in the hope of building relationships and winning some for Christ. Check out Acts 17 and I Corinthians 9 for his philosophy of the mission field.

So Christian, if you want proper horse placement with regard to your cart, start with befriending the sinner and building relationship. If they come to faith, let Jesus deal with sin. Then you can both work together with Jesus to keep each other accountable and grow in you faith.

We were once all enemies of Christ. He offered us friendship and salvation through service to us. We are commanded to do the same for others whoever they may be. Now hitch up the horse correctly.

I think I'm done now.      

Psychosis, Neurosis, Brain Chemistry and Sin

It does not seem like those four things should go together, but I believe that at least sometimes they do. The spiritual nature of humanity and the chemical nature of the human body come together in strange ways in our brains. Our spirits use the resources of our bodies to move and act in the physical world. We are all connecting points between the spiritual side of creation and the physical side. You could say that we are all physical portals to the spiritual world. As I said, this all happens in our brains. As to where in the brain this happens is up for debate. Many have suggested the pineal gland is the seat of our souls. This may be true. I do not know.

It all sounds kind of 'new age', but really it's not. It's a notion that is as old as human history. When the Lord God created humans, He breathed life into their bodies. It's interesting that the Hebrew for 'breath' and 'spirit' are the self same. 'Ruah' can be translated three ways; as spirit, breath or even wind. The notion that the breathe of God imparts spirit and animation to a physical object is called life. Biological life is amazing, but a sentient physical and spiritual being is a work of art; something that could only exist at the behest of a benevolent Creator.

We are such beings. As David said, we are fearfully and wonderfully made - the work of His hands.

That being said, the wonder of it became confused and for some of us, it was lost. Since the beginning, we have made bad choices. Some have been spectacularly bad choices. 'Bad choices' is the politically correct name for sin if you were wondering what I meant. As I have instructed before, sin is anything contrary to the will of God. When we act in these biological and spiritual bodies that we own in a way contrary to God's will, it effects everything. Our bodies become corrupted. Our environments become corrupted. God's plan for His creations goes askew.

The immediate result for us is that the mechanisms of our bodies that were so perfectly created do not function as they were intended. The chemical and physical processes of our bodies break down. Death is the ultimate result of this, but during our time of life, things do not always go well for us to one degree or another. We struggle. Clear and spiritual thinking becomes clouded and the 'bad choices' continue because of it. I also believe that this propensity toward sin and bad choices is heritable. No one can live now and not sin in some way. It is impossible. And it is all because our spirits and our bodies no longer mesh properly.

The result and cause of the miseries we endure is bad brain and body chemistry. Some of us endure or struggle with this to such a degree that we become psychotic. Our brains simply will not process our realities properly. Psychoses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or clinical depression have their roots in bad brain chemistry. These things also come through the corruption of all flesh which is the result of sin; bad spiritual genetics. They can also be exacerbated by our own sin and by spiritual forces that most of us are unaware of, but exist in the same time and dimension that we exist in.

Some of us are merely neurotic. We are not mentally ill in the classic sense of it, but we do endure the nagging problems of things like nonclinical depression, habitual lying, anger, malice and the list goes on. Brain chemistry can be at the root of these things too, but there are many things that stir that chemical soup and sin and guilt are two of them.

Modern psychology refuses to recognize the sin factor in their processes of treating mental illness and their pursuit of mental health. It is unfortunate. Wholeness comes we we are well both physically and spiritually, when soul and mind are in lockstep.

In my life, I have not met many people that enjoyed this level of mental and spiritual health. The ones I have known, were/are incredible people. The clarity of their minds and the purity of their spirits have inspired me and when I find them, I pursue them as friends hoping that some of it will rub off.
It's funny, but truth be told, these people are not really normal if you define normal as what most of us are. The definition of normal is always in flux as society changes and evolves, but the people I am thinking of do not. They are stable rocks in a sea of change. Thanks to y'all for providing something that the rest of us can cling to as the tide of the world tries to pull us out to sea. Escaping the undertow has been my goal for most of my life. I am now working on getting to shore. I'm almost there. My clarity improves daily. I hope this made some sense. It made sense to me.