Sunday, April 02, 2006

Paradigm Shift

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
--1 Corinthians 13:1-2

What a nice little blog I’ve got going here. I alternate between beautiful little soliloquies of faith and wisdom, and angst-filled examinations of my life. I like to craft my words carefully, and I guide the overall attitude to make it palatable for who I believe my readers to be.

There are parts of who I am, what I think, what I feel, that would not please all who visit here. I know that I can be totally right, while I am completely wrong. So I fear to tread where this post is headed...

How to be right and be wrong.

I could be totally accurate, completely honest, logical, succinct, and clear, but if the words I say should make someone’s faith waiver then I am wrong.

So, before I go any further in this post, let me state I am wrong. No matter what I have learned, what I have read, or studied, or researched, or experienced, my knowledge is going to be incomplete, inaccurate. Only God is perfect, omniscient.

Still, I feel a desire to express who I am. Here goes.

So, a big one... I believe abortion is murder (there, I have already pleased a few, angered a few). I know from a scientific point of view that life begins at conception. It is a simple truth. The legal distinctions of when life begins are political and social, not scientific. The hippocratic oath forbids terminating a pregnancy (but oaths aren’t that binding for many folks). I could provide arguments on how abortion hurts women, how there are plenty of couples eager to adopt, that studies show that lack of options drastically reduces pregnancies, but my reasons for opposing abortion are simpler. In my heart it is wrong.

I am against the death penalty. I believe it is expensive, it does not deter (it can’t rehabilitate), and it serves only as a tool of vengeance. When there is an error, which has and will happen, there is no recourse, no restitution possible. I believe that if it is wrong for an individual to kill, it is also wrong for a state. “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord,” which means that He is the only one with that right.

War. This is a tough one. It is easy to make some sort of blanket statement here. I know the way veterans were treated during and after the Vietnam War was horrid. Those men and women were risking their lives, often performing work that was not only noble but heroic. We seem to be treating current veterans better, but I don’t think it is enough. I feel that if we really want to say “Support Our Troops” we should be willing to raise our taxes (and I am) to better compensate them for their work, provide better death benefits to families, and fix the veterans hospitals system. But frankly I’m not sure if war is ever justified. So much death, so much suffering, and the results are so ambiguous. If there was ever a justifiable war it was World War II. But even that war might have been avoided. The penalties placed on Germany after The Great War impoverished them to such a great extent that they were ready for a voice that told them they were great, leading them into a personality cult of horror. I don’t know if there are always viable options to war, but they need to be sought fervently.

(I am not saying that we aren’t doing good things in our efforts around the globe, I have read of many of them that warm my heart and are ignored by the media in general. But still, I believe war is wrong.)

I believe God created all things. I also believe He has laws of nature, laws of physics, which govern how the world works. I believe that evolution is an artist’s palette that is held by the hand of God painting ecosystems creating environments for Him to work wonders. I am very aware of what scripture says and I do not believe this view is incompatable with my faith.

I am an environmentalist. I believe in protecting the environment. All of it. Even if it inconveniences people. We are placed on this world as caretakers, stewards. And just like most human endeavors we have screwed it up. At the very least, if just from a purely business perspective, we need to protect what is protecting us.

These are the thoughts, feelings, views I hold about my life, my world. For many of you these may be unsettling, even anti-christian. Many of you may feel a strong desire to set me straight. For we, especially Christians, have a strong desire to speak the truth. And you may be far more right than I. These views are mine because my heart, mind, and spirit have led me to them.

None of it matters.

None of these things touch upon my salvation. All of these views may be wrong. In fact, most likely, all of these ideas are probably partially wrong.

So, I took a chance with you dear reader. Many of you will have problems with what I have shared here (some of you are linked from here.) I love you, and I wonder if you still love me.

I have constructed a careful world view, this paradigm of mine. It is built out of my experiences, my knowledge of scripture, my understanding of science, and my faith.

Someday it will all be swept away. I will die. I will cease to breathe, my body will rot. But my spirit will live. And in that new life, that life of spirit, fully in eternity, the scales will fall from my eyes and I will know all that is truly true. I will hold a truer paradigm, not the "truthiness" of politicians (the feeling that something is true, that it sounds true).

All I have thought, and wondered, and hypothesized, will be swept away, and what will be left is... love.

You are welcome to say what you like about what I believe, how wrong I am. But know this: none of it matters. These issues are peripheral to the central truths that comprise my salvation. Jesus told us what is important.

I love the Lord my God with all of my heart and mind and soul. I love you too.


jel said...

CS, you are right,, when you get right down to it , nothing matters , but the Love of Jesus!

Thank you !

jel said...

do you know the other way to spell support? (FRIEND) !! :)

Fox's Mom said...

I just wanted to let you know that this passage of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians is one that has always meant a lot to me. I think it speaks clearly about his love for all the souls he hoped to share with the grace he'd received through Christ. I don't think that your words here will do any thing else but encourage us all to consider what we believe; I hope that we chose to be as true a witness as you and Paul. Peace, Bianca

Anonymous said...

cs, you not only write & think well, you have heart & courage. if we as friends can't write what we believe to one another, are we really friends? all of us are in the same boat - party right & partly wrong most of the time. just for the record, our hearts beat in rhythm, pt

Judas Hate said...

I love you Will!!

And I know that is right!

You are a beautiful man. Squeeze your family tight for me.

Good night my wonderful brother.

Anonymous said...

everybody is entitled to their own opinions, beliefs, etc. but we christians can be bold enough to declare what the Bible says is true and stand by it no matter what others think.

and i love you too, bro. =)

Felisol said...

Dear Curious Servant! You are not only well spoken, but you are courageous as well. "You've got balls, man", as they say in the American movies I watch.
Of course you are right. murder is is murder and not a Christian act, whether it is performed on an unborn baby, an old helpless person or at enemies solders or civilians. In most war it is the innocnent civilians who are slaughtered.. In hospitals life is often a question of economy. Is that not a scandal too? My father had a brain haemorrhage 2 1/2 years ago. I had to put up a fight with the doctors to get them give him plain life suppert. In Norway we don't need health insuranse to get the best of medical help. The hospitals have their budgetts though, and are reluctant to spend money on people that "are going to die anyway."
Well my father's life was saved. He lives at home with my mother and gets help from a nurse three times a day. BUT he is able to talk, read the Bible and pray. He has always been a great man of prayer.
As such he is a livng example of a man who never gives in, a man who puts all his faith in Jesus, a man worth saving.
Life is holy and the most precious gift.
It is not for us to waste it one way or the other.
Thank you for taking up yhis very important issue, true cervant of God.
From Elise

hanni said...

I appreciate the caution you practice with you words and the responsibility you take for your ideas and thoughts. It is, however, always refreshing to speak the whole truth and I don't think you should be concerned about what others think at all. God created us to be light and salt, He created you and is refining you, but He does not want you to hide until you are perfected. He wants you to seek Him and His wisdom and share what you discover, and that's what you've done here. Good for you

bornfool said...

When I've taught eschatology in the past I always start with the disclaimer: I firmly believe that my interpretation of these passages is 100% correct. I also firmly believe that I could be dead wrong.

If I disagreed with you about any of the points you made, I probably wouldn't say so, but I thought you were right on the mark with every one.

Becky said...

I agree with you on all of your points. The one I struggle with is war because sometimes I believe it is justifiable. I mean I hate war, but there are times when it is necessary. I say this because I think of World War II. We had to stop Hitler. Maybe there could have been another way, but I don't think so. We live in a fallen world

bjk said...

well and vulnerably stated......layin it out there as usual.....

Lillee said...

well put.

Felisol said...

I live in Norway. We were occupied for five years by the Germans during WW2. My uncle, eldest brother of my mother, came over from Montana and fought at Omaha Beach with the Americans.

Later on we learned that there would not have been any world war, if some "Masters of War" had not been too willing to equip Hitler with weapeon and expertise help in the thirties.

To create peace is necessesary.
To avoid reasons of war.

Joe said...

Well, except for the rage I feel at your opinions of the death penalty and war, I agree with you.

I'm just kidding about the rage thing. These are really tough things to deal with.

Your conclusion, however, is without contradiction. Our relationship to God through Christ is all that matters in the fianl analysis.

Thanks for a thought provoking post.

Judas Hate said...

And thank you:-)

Yes, unfortunately the trip from NC to Oregon is a stretch. Although....I could certainly log a lot of hours towards getting my helicopter license with a trip to Oregon:-) Only draw back is I'd have to kidnap an instructor to go with.

jgf said...

You are right that when it comes down to it there is only one thing that matters--believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved...

Me said...

I don't mean to seem disagreeable but aren't there wars and deaths in the bible that were pleasing to God? I'm speaking about the Old Testatment. And I could possibly be wrong because I haven't read most of the bible. Yet. :)

Mark D said...


Great post! I think it should be framed and put in every church that caters to the putting down of other denominations due to small theological disagreements. We need to unite as the Body of Christ and celebrated the blood that reaches all of us.

Like your blog - I'll be back.

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi CS, what a wonderful post! Have been thinking about love a lot (have written a few posts on my blog about it).

Anywayz, I also love the Lord my God with all of my heart and mind and soul. And I love you too CS.

And I love you too.

Christopher said...

grey or gray? either way? i'm with postmondernity in the sense that if there is Truth, then which one of us has a corner on what that truth is?

yes go with love and God is love.

sin has clouded our common experinces and enviroment and histroy with much chaos. every once in awhile the truth peaks through or sinful human clouds of selfishness.

as far as the ot and war and divine vengance i choose to read scripture through Jesus the ultimate Word of God and that which does not equate with Jesus i see as being the human element of scripture . . . does that make sense? so i see some words in the written word of God that do not equal the living Word of God, Jesus. clear as mud i guess.

4evergapeach said...

I'm sorry I haven't been around. Trust me, yours is not the only one I have neglected getting around to. I haven't posted or commented in over a week. I hope things calm down a bit now.

I know this is a bit late, but better late than never. Wonderful post CS. I feel the same way as you. I admire your courage for sharing your views but also being respectful about it. A true 'servant' of our Lord.

I'll have to catch up on the rest. Wishing you well.

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