Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joseph, Joshua, Solomon - A Common Thread?

I had a few realizations tonight, and they concern God's plan in Adam, Noah, and Abraham; and a pattern that I seen in common between Joseph, Joshua, and Solomon. The revelation regarding Adam, Noah, and Abraham I will have to write on later, for I have obligations and my time is limited. The one concerning Joseph, Joshua, and Solomon follows.

I believe that the art of meditation, practiced sufficiently, is the way to open ourselves up to listen to God and to hear his still, small voice; to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.

I believe that Abraham communicated with God through the likes of meditation, and that the Bible shows numerous examples of this. I believe that Abraham taught Isaac of God's goodness but was not successful, for whatever reason, in teaching Isaac to use meditation to communicate with God. I believe that because Isaac did not learn, he was unable to teach Jacob; but that Jacob, when he was fleeing for fear of his life from Esau after deceiving Isaac into giving him Esau's blessing, 'let go' and surrendered himself, if briefly, at the Bethel stone, allowing God to give him the dream of Jacob's Ladder. I believe that Jacob ultimately developed this ability to communicate with God to some degree, and then taught at least part of it to one of his favorite sons, Joseph.

I believe that Moses communicated with God, again through the likes of meditation, though perhaps not until after his 'burning bush' encounter. If you read Exodus-Deuteronomy, it is not difficult to see that Moses kept Joshua around him a good deal. I believe that Moses was actively preparing his successor. At one point, it is clear that Joshua's understand of God is lacking (Numbers 11:24-29) as he tells Moses to forbid two men to continue their prophesying, to which Moses reveals to him his error, that prophecy should not be considered constrained to any one person. I believe that Moses taught Joshua in the ways he knew how; the first verse of the book of Joshua shows a communication from God to Joshua.

The Bible gives numerous occasions of God in communication with David, and David makes no secret of his 'meditation' concerning God and his ways. I believe that David taught this to his favorite son, Solomon; after Solomon was raised up king, there are a few examples of communication between God and Solomon.

Why are these three important? What are the connections?

Jacob's influence on the world in his life does not seem particularly notable. Joseph, however, states very briefly and succinctly the impact on the world that his life had, in helping Egypt stockpile before the famine, "But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life." (Genesis 45:5, NKJV) However, it appears Joseph did not have a comparable successor, leading to the degeneration: "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph." (Exodus 1:8, NKJV)

Moses had no small influence on the world - yet it was Joshua that led Israel to take the bulk of their promised land of Canaan, a sort of crossroads of the ancient world. Unfortunately, Joshua had no similar successor, leading to the period of the Judges, where the leadership of the people was not nearly so well organized or lasting.

Similarly, David had no small influence on the world in resecuring, or perhaps completing the securing of the promised land. However, it was Solomon who built the First Temple, and who showed great wisdom, peace, and prosperity for a good part of his reign. Did Solomon have a comparable successor? The bungling of Rehoboam, Solomon's son who became king after his death, led to the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah!

In all three cases, you have a person who communicated with God, walking in his ability with God; and I believe that the Holy Spirit was on all of these, in some degree (I suspect Moses most of all; in his case, more similar to degree of the successors). You have that person teaching their successor, who does not have a lesser or weaker impact on the world, but a greater; and I believe in all of these cases, it is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit with power. Finally, you have no similar successor afterwards, and the momentum leads to a stop and a reversal if not an outright crash.

What does this show us?

I believe it shows us, first, that it is possible for someone to learn how to communicate with God (the frequency of the command 'hear', 'hearken', or 'listen' in Deuteronomy 28 shows that merely 'listening' to God is critically important, something that I fear has been lost throughout a greater part of history than not).

Second, if I am not mistaken, it is possible, perhaps easier, for someone who already communicates with God to teach someone else how to do this.

Third, that God has, in great actions through these three 'successors', shown that it is important for us to take note of it; that it would be empowering if only we would practice it.

Fourth, that failure to carry it on to the next successor, even and perhaps especially after a case of such increased 'success', leads to failure it not catastrophe.

If one can devise sin, and teach it to their children, then why can't one learn how to communicate with God, and pass that along?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Meditation, Your Children, and You

Some time ago, I posted that I intended to write on the potential of meditation to help the behavior of children, including in regard to adolescent rebellion.

I am only expressing this from my personal opinions, reasonings, and experience.

I have had numerous experiences with meditation in the past. In all of the times when I have successfully practiced meditation, it has helped me in numerous ways: it has calmed me; it has helped me to think with greater clarity; it has helped me to sleep better and to need less sleep. More recently, I believe it has helped me in learning, in the retention and understanding of information I have studied.

Recently, I read through a book named 'Jose Silva's Everyday ESP.' Don't get too stuck on the title. While it discusses elements of ESP, and to a great degree intuition, it has exceptional meditation exercises, and if for nothing else but that I highly recommend the book, or similar materials from Silva International ( ). You don't need to spend hours struggling to meditate, it is not that difficult. The practice sessions may take you some time, 15-30 minutes at a time, or so. As you practice it will come easier, and I can not list all of the benefits.

The book and some other Silva materials also explain some of the workings of meditation, such as physiological effects, namely on brainwave frequency. They state that meditation encourages the brain to act at a slower but more stable brainwave frequency, called 'alpha', similar to that which is common in children aged 7-14, and also notes that these frequencies are associated with better creativity and intuition. The book also states that ~90% of people, from the age of 15 on, begin to 'naturally' think at a higher but less stable brainwave frequency called 'beta', which is associated with physical activity. The exact ages vary from person to person, of course.

The Silva methods are claimed to be able to help children escape getting 'stuck' thinking at beta frequencies and help them to continue thinking at the more productive alpha frequencies. They also claim to help adulted get 'unstuck' and to regain the ability to think and function at alpha. Silva International has also done and funded a lot of research on these methods, and from my own experience, I agree with their claims at least as far as creativity and intuition go.

When I read that the idea of beta brainwaves being associated with physical activity, it reminded me of a time when I first became diabetic and was reading books on diabetes. One described the problem that young children have trouble measuring out their insulin dosages because they have not yet developed fine motor control, something that tends to develop roughly around their teens. Perhaps a connection to beta brainwave development?

I ask you to keep an open mind as I suggest an idea. If alpha brainwaves of pre-adolescent children give a degree of intuition, then perhaps it gives them a 'sense' of how to communicate with people around them. If ~90% of children lose the ability to operate at these brainwave levels, then they would lose this intuition. Then, to these children, it would appear to them that people aren't paying any mind to them, that people aren't trying to communicate with them anymore.

If this is true, then the problem with this perception is that other people have not changed - the children have changed. They have changed, and perhaps they did not need to, perhaps they changed only because noone showed them how to keep what they had while they had it. I believe this to be a major contributing factor to the rebellious attitudes associated with adolescence.

After I came to this suspicion, I decided to see what I could find connecting meditation and adolescent rebellion. I didn't find anything directly on the issue, however I did find a study that Silva had done on Silva Method's affects on behavioral problems in children: the results of that showed that Silva Method was beneficial.

Meditation is easy. I do not believe that it is able to hurt anyone, though my opinion is not a professional one. The benefits that I have experienced, and that I suspect others would also, are surprisin, and likely better than many activities you could engage in. Meditation also takes less time than you may think, and it gets even easier with time. It doesn't take a lot of time, and you can decide how much time to spend on it. Even professional opinions show that, if nothing else, meditation helps in stress management and can help with insomnia and hypertension (high blood pressure). It doesn't require pills, chanting mantras, or saying 'aummmm.' For your happiness, for your peace of mind, for your health, I ask you to consider it.

If you will not for yourself and you have children, then I ask you to at least look into it for their benefit.

Disclaimer: I have no personal and no professional affiliations with Silva International.

Missions, Their Costs, and of the Needs of a Church

(EDITED: 26 July 2009 - see end of post)

In an earlier post, I mentioned a question that concerns many who want to give of their substance to a religious organization. This post will address that, and some related principles.

Should we support a religious-appearing body when they seek financial contributions?

Some religious organizations, such as the relatively well-known example of Jim Bakker's past indiscretions, appear to abuse the idea of 'prosperity gospel': 'give to us and God will bless you', 'if you don't have enough, give to us and you'll get all that you need', etc. Even less overt statements state or imply the same basic premise.

Others are far more conservative of their approaches: 'give your offerings' (some even going so far as to say - give your second offering, give your third offering...); 'give your tithe'.

You feel moved by their message. In some cases, you think they're doing good work. So... should you give?

Probably the best test to answer this question is, are they actually doing good work? Are they at least attempting to make good use of what they have, or have been given? In cases where such donations are abused and squandered, where huge overpriced houses are built (and in some cases, virtually never lived in), where expensive private aircraft are secured, and even in multiplicity, by those receiving donations - is this a use worthy to be called God's work? I think not.

Then, there are cases where good work IS being done. Helping people in times of need (such as the Bible's storehouse principle, mentioned elsewhere on this blog; helping people with food, shelter, or finding jobs [and hence purpose and potential]), or emergencies (such as Sabbath Grace Fellowship's 1stResponse Disaster Team Ministry), missions to lands to help other peoples be more self-sufficient, teaching people how to live better lives by showing them the example that God and Jesus teach us, these are all things that we would have a hard time discounting as worthy of support; and if this were all that we were asked to support, perhaps we would give more freely.

Then there are things such as publications, political activism, and the like. In these areas we often differ in some of our opinions.

There are other things to be considered, though; there are other expenses. If there are services that a church provides for its members, then those services have a cost, and somewhere that cost needs to be paid. If a church owns a building, or uses a building that is used primarily for another purpose, it may suffer less in the way of related costs and taxation. If a church rents a building, however, this can be quite expensive - and hence something that should be avoided whereever possible, as 'the power to tax is the power to destroy' (paraphrased from Daniel Webster and John Marshall: McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819, 17 U.S. 327), and no man (and by extension, no church) can serve two masters (Luke 16:13).

In most churches, there are other costs. There are costs of adminstration, of publication, of electricity. In some cases there may be paid staff. The Bible does not object to this, necessarily - in the Law of Moses, the tithe was to pay for the maintenance of the tabernacle, and to provide for the priests and the Levites, those in service to the temple who were otherwise relatively indigent for they had no inheritance, no land. On the other hand, Acts 20:33-35 shows us a little of both sides. Paul says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive", but he also says, "that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." In Galatians 6:4-5, we read, "But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden."

However, God desires outreach. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus declared, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Is there no expense in bringing the message to others?

Further, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, "And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself." Obviously, there were needs that Paul had when he was ministering in his mission to the Corinthians - and someone paid for them, the brethren from Macedonia.

Are you taking part in God's mission? There is something I read recently, I believe it was in a BaptistWay Press quarterly, "Participating in God's Mission", which talked of two people meeting in an airport. My paraphrase follows:
Man 1: "What do you do?"
Man 2: "I'm a pilot."
Man 1: "Oh? What do you fly?"
Man 2: "Oh, I don't fly anything."
Man 1: "So, you're retired?"
Man 2: "No, I don't think that's for me, not yet."

Now, the first man is confused. The conversation stalls, because it doesn't make sense for a pilot to be a pilot, not be retired, and not fly anything. Similarly, a Christian who isn't taking part in God's mission doesn't make sense.
What is God's mission? As I have heard stated by Ted Noel, and can not recall the original source from which it came, God's mission is his "passionate pursuit of people." Therefore, any action that helps to bring people to God and to not drive people away from God is a participation in God's mission. These things should be first to be supported by us, and by our means.

A church should take care not to seek from those who do not have, however. It is not good for us to offend those of a weak conscience (Matthew 18:6; 1 Corinthians 8:12), nor is it good for us to shame those that have not (1 Corinthians 11:21-22).

Further, when receive a benefit from a church, we should do our best to give of our own, of what we have to give (and not that which will cause us to be unable to keep to the agreements that we have made; faithlessness is not appealing to others, and no way to bring people to God). Often times we take so many of these benefits for granted: a church building and the expenses of its services, including but not limited to things like lighting, heating or air conditioning, the time of people, just to name some more notable and common examples).

Further, if you have a problem with your brother or sister in Christ, or with your church (which is merely a problem with those who are holding those offices, unless you have a problem with God or with Jesus), do not merely withhold when you might otherwise give when there is a good need; neither should you give when it will offend your conscience. Rather, set aside your offering, address and resolve your problem, communicate with those who you are offering your support and encouragement toward; then make your offering (paraphrase of Matthew 5:23-24).

We can lessen the expenditures, the burdens, of our church or assembly by contributing more - and not just in monetary forms, but by taking more action, giving more of our own time and efforts. When we give of our own to our church or assembly, to that organization that should be made up of those who we would be willing to call Christians, that set of members of the body of Christ, we should do our best to give not for mere restitution, but for the enrichment; and not for the enrichment of ourselves, or for any member or leader, or even for the church alone, but of all.

To summarize, if you find a group, church, assembly, or other organization that you believe is doing good, worthwhile work and you feel desired to help them then contribute. If you have problems with them, or with anyone, do your best to resolve those first. If you do not believe the organization is doing right and cannot resolve your issues with it, do not offend your conscience by continuing your support.

If you can, do not limit your contributions to money. If you have not money to offer, do not think that you have nothing for all can contribute something, even if it is only what seems a small thing such as greeting people, or participation in a Bible study class.

Remember, Jesus said, "I, if I be lifted up ..., will draw all men unto me." God's mission. Not all people have been drawn to Jesus, likely not even a majority of people. Jesus did not lie to us, so this must mean that we have, as yet, failed to lift Jesus up.

How will you help God in his passionate pursuit of people?

(EDIT: 26 July 2009)

There was a point that I realized I had missed mentioning in this post, one that I knew needed to be post at the first but had forgotten before posting.

That point is the test of Gamaliel of Acts 5:34-39. I believe attempting to use reasoning such as this as reason not to support a group effort, of the type discussed in this post, that you consider otherwise worthy of support is folly. On the other hand, if you are not moved to extend your support to such a group, if you have doubts and are not moved to either support a group or depart from it, perhaps it is worthy to keep in mind.

The Unbearable Cost of Maintaining Taboos

Good day, everyone. It's been quite some time since I've written in this forum, and for that I apologize. I have had thoughts but I did not well keep them. I have been busy with many things but, tonight, I find that there are some things which move me that I must write.

The things that I will attempt to write upon in the coming hours, days, or weeks, follow:
1) taboos, and how they perpetuate destructive behavior;
2) whether or not to support a religious-appearing body that seeks financial contributions;
3) meditation and its potential to aid in children to mitigate or avoid the tendency toward adolescent rebellion and poor behavior.

First, taboos. What is a taboo? The word taboo refers to something excluded from use or mention. This can include all sorts of things: cannibalism; recreational drug use; sex; the failure of the FDA to regulate dangerous drugs resulting in countless of unnecessary deaths; the disregard of our national well-being by those we call our public servants; or, for an extremely minor example, even something such as having your elbows on the table at a meal.

If you are completely satisfied with every aspect of your life, of those people around you, and all you know of in your world, you can stop reading now. Why waste your time on seeking improvement if all is well and nothing can be made better?

If you are not satisfied, then let us look at why. Taboos are things generally not spoken of and that can reflect, depending on their severity, issues that need to be addressed and, perhaps more importantly, that our youth may need to be taught about. The last of the examples may seem of little import, but who wants their 15-year-old daughter to get drunk or high on drugs and have sex with three men that she barely knows, without even being reasonably aware of what goes on; potentially exposing herself to life-threatening STDs such as AIDS or Hepatitis, in addition to the likelihood of getting pregnant and not knowing who the father is? Perhaps worse, who wants such a child of theirs to be consenting to it?

Addictions are another, private, example. If I were an alcoholic, I would have an addiction to alcohol. I would desire to drink it, and drink it in excess. I would keep going back to it despite it incurring destructive effects upon my health, well-being, or lifestyle. How would I perpetuate it? By denying that there was a problem. I would be making the idea of alcoholism a taboo for me. I wouldn't discuss alcoholism, mention it, and I would keep out of my mind any association with the idea. What is this, if not a taboo?

Those of us in the USA, who wants our nation to be $12 trillion in debt and increasing so much by the year that there is no way to ever climb out, which is what our public servants have been and continue to be condemning our nation to? Those of you in other nations, you might not have those specific numbers as the problem but, at least in most places, the problem is still there. This can only lead to insolvency, as in the hyperinflation of Zimbabwe. Is that what we want for ourselves, for our children?

The reason that these problems happen, that we see them from day to day, is because of taboos. It is the same reason that we have gone to wars on foreign soil when popular opinion is not supportive, sometimes when the popular opinion is clearly in disagreement. It is why when someone in authority, a politician on TV or a preacher in a pulpit, says something that we disagree with, something that we, in our hearts, find important, we stifle our opinions. It would be a taboo to disagree with our leaders, and others might condemn us for that - we fear this, so we accept the bondage of the less righteous and honorable path.

It is why, historically, we so easily accepted the official lines for events leading to the USA's entry into World War I and II, lies about the RMS Lusitania and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (not that these events did not happen - for they did - but the lies were that we had no fault in them, that we did not encourage these tragedies).

It is part of why when our leaders say 'let's give $XXX billion to ____' (fill in the blank; over the past year, there's been no shortage of examples), we feel disgust, perhaps say little, and ultimately do nothing.

We exhibit desperation for approval in our divided society and have resigned ourselves to the idea that this is an acceptable and reasonable way to live our lives. It is why we, for so long, remain in denial about these and so many other lies. Meanwhile, all spins out of control.

Our children, what of them? Some decide that certain things we should not discuss with them, so as to prevent them from being exposed to those things. We do not find God to be very much in agreement with this, though. In the garden in Eden, God warns of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, that it leads to death; out of doubt for God's honesty and out of our own curiosity, we take and eat, and gorge ourselves on death. God tells us what will happen, because he wants us to be able to see the problems before we get to them, so that we may never have to suffer them.

We seem to disagree with that idea. We think that we can shelter our children from the realities of sin and deception and immorality and death; despite the fact that our societies, our world, is practically submerged in this. Why do we so often not warn them? I suspect it is similar to our response in the garden - we're ashamed, so we hide in our shame. We went down some paths that we aren't proud of, so we hide these things, rather than revealing our experiences to our children. We don't protect our children this way, we attempt to protect ourselves at their expense.

Similarly, we're ashamed that we don't have the answers for dealing with problems in our neighborhoods, our cities, our nations. Out of shame, we hide. What we should be doing is seeking out the better way, finding the answers, and making sure that something is done - and not just some thing, but the RIGHT thing.

We become what we focus our attention on. If we focus our attention on shame and protect it, we will become shameful and remain ashamed. And I say that it is at least in part for this cause that we fear death, that we feel that we 'do not make the cut', that if there is an afterlife that we are not good enough to have any good thing in the hereafter.

If we focus our attention on what is right and good and pure, on the ideal, and protect that, we will become more like this; we will not be ashamed any longer, and our children will learn this from us rather than shame. Then and only then can we live with and leave behind something that we can be proud of.

Don't be ashamed to reveal our mistakes to your children, unless you would rather they make the same errors that you did. Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." As children begin with little of their own past, they must make all of the mistakes anew to learn from them if we fail to teach them of our pasts.

Don't be ashamed to make mistakes in the sight of others, for anyone who has succeeded at any thing knows that only through the failures encountered during practice, during attempts, has a person ever been prepared for any success. In this, failure can be a sign of progress, as long as you would learn and improve, and why should anyone be ashamed of improvement?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Do you meditate on God, his works, and his testimonies?

Good day, everyone.

Today, I write about something that I believe we have lost in the hustle-and-bustle of the contemporary fast-paced life.  That something is meditation.

Numerous verses in the Bible reference it, and in the Old Testament a few different Hebrew words are used, but they seem to share the elements of meaning that I mean to focus on.

First, three verses which mention the practice:
Psalm 104:34: "My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.";
Psalm 119:99: "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.";
Psalm 143:5: "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.";

The Hebrew references I have been through indicate that these all refer to 'meditation' or 'muse'.  These terms have similar but slightly different meanings.  Both carry the element of silent thought on a subject.  Meditation, I believe, is more focused on the pondering element while muse tends more toward the inspiration which is received in such silent contemplations.

Why is this important?  I have heard of stories of many artists and inventors receiving their inspirations from quiet contemplation or dreams.  I recall seeing statements that Edison often took afternoon naps, after which he often had inspiration for his inventions; and others of people who, from either dream or sitting in quiet contemplation, proceeded to write out detailed inventions or music that had been unknown to them prior.  Am I saying that meditation is some sort of magic?  Not at all.  However, my perspective will be more clear after visiting this passage about Elijah listening for God, from 1 Kings 19:9-13:

"9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"

Carefully note that Elijah did not find God in anything but the voice, here - and, more importantly, verse 12 describes the voice, the only thing not discounted from being God, as being a still small voice.

If we attempt to 'keep up' with today's fast pace, we often fall short.  In trying to do so, our mind is filled with that clamor, so that we can hear nothing else - some people often even go so far to say that they cannot even hear themselves think.  If we are so overwhelmed by such things, how can we expect to hear a still small voice from God?

Similar, from Acts 13:1-4:
"1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus."

God can keep up with the fast paces of these times or any other.  Such things are even easy for Him.  He has the answers, and He wants to give them to us, but He will not force us to hear.  He tries to tell us how to prosper, how to cope, how to overcome.  When we do not listen, we do not know what to do, so we walk in fear the unknown paths we follow.  We often walk these paths alone, and we feel the painful solitude.  This practice consumes us and leaves us empty.

The solution?  Meditate on God, His works, His testimonies, His instruction, and be glad in Him.  How?  You don't have to become some Far East guru to accomplish this.  Set aside a quiet time to be with God, without external distraction.  Some time every day is preferable though God's plan was to set aside a day every week (the day of rest, the seventh day, the Sabbath), and I believe it was to be a blessing not a burden, as from Jesus in Mark 2:27, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath".  If you do not make a choice to do this, it will not happen.  You will not find time if you do not set it aside.

God listens to you and He wants to hear you but He also wants to talk to you.  He wants to walk with you and to fill you with His love, His character, and His instruction.  Why not let Him help you out by giving Him some time to be heard?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Some People Feel Alone, Even in a Group

Good day, everyone.

I was talking with a friend earlier, and she told me, "I'll be happy when I move," and, "I hate being lonely."  Interestingly enough, though perhaps not surprising to some, she did not live alone.

I responded about how unfortunate it is of how lonely you can get even when people are around.  She attributed it to them not being the same or having to 'act different'.

This struck me as flawed immediately.

I denied those issues, that they were not the cause.  I said more, and in reflection I did not know where it came from, but knew that they needed to be heard by more people.  My friend also told me that others needed to hear it, without my suggesting it... hence, the reason for this post.  What I said would probably fit in 3-4 lines; what follows is a bit longer, as I am trying to clarify it.

The cause of feeling lonely around people is that people often act in ways that are not very approving.  You do not approve of them or their behavior, so you do not trust them.   

This can emanate from your own undue prejudice, in cases where they have not behaved in a way that they should not have.

When this is not the case (and sometimes, even when it is), it is because you feel that they judged someone or something wrongly, so you judge them in an attempt to protect yourself.  This arises out of how you perceive their behavior, in that in some of your past experiences with them, that they have not been approving of you or of some aspect(s) about you, whether you have revealed them or not.  Similarly, it may be that you feel that they have not been approving of other people, behaviors, traditions, attributes, or whatever else without good reason, without justification.   

Your conformity, the conformity of other people, or the lack thereof, is not the problem.  That is never the problem.

The problem is the unwillingness to embrace, accept, or even allow the unavoidable, which is that people are, and shall be, different.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Than A Choice

Good evening, everyone.  I have to apologize for misleading some of you with what I wrote, earlier.

As the book of Job says, Job 11:2, "should a man full of talk be justified?"  I wrote like Job, as Elihu described him in Job 35:16, who was said to "open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge."

This will be a short post.  With feelings of hopelessness, I was near to venting about my life situation; how I have been searching for a job for months fruitlessly, how I have little to put on a resumé to impress with.  (That said, if you know any reasonable job openings near south Seminole County, Florida for someone with a diploma but no degree/college coursework or solid work history but who is patient, has a good demeanor and is more than willing to work and work hard, given half a chance, and isn't terribly discriminating about the task - have grace on me and drop me a line, would you?)

However, those were merely covering up the error that I would not face.

We are more than our choice.

We are a combination of our choice and what God has vested (or perhaps granted, in the feudal sense of liege lords and whatnot; no transferrance of ownership occurs, merely an assignment of stewardship and responsibility in exchange for a benefit) in us.  Perhaps, in a mathematical sense, it could be said that we are God's grant raised to the power of our choice.  I'm not certain about all that.  It sounds like it makes sense, as then we would be able to marginalize God's contribution but not eliminate it; but I've been wrong before.

Any contributions you feel moved to make are always welcome.