Thursday, September 29, 2011

High on God

A quote I read on the Alethia forum found here: (I don't know who it is by, sorry)

Ever since I first became a believer, I have had a constant addiction to the presence of God. I do not know of any other way to live the Christian life, apart from a loving compulsion to continuously be near this God of gladness. One of the primary things the Lord showed us years ago was that intoxication on Him is the very essence of “first love.” God is not interested in your dispassionate praise or disinterested service. He is going for the depths of your heart strings. The thing that intoxicates you to the core is the very thing you worship. There is a deep, inner craving that draws us outside ourselves and into the realms of divine ecstasy. This is our inheritance as children and lovers of God. The only kind of love that will lay down its life is a love that has transcended life itself.

Heaven should be the prevailing norm. Ecstatic trances may seem strange or unusual to the natural mind, but they are the ordinary effect of Heaven’s joy poured out on the average believer. Wherever the church has failed to set the standard in this regard, the enemy is ready to offer a cheap counterfeit.

Everyone is created for love’s delirium, and this is why drug addiction is such a major draw not only for our youth, but in every sector of society today. Mind-altering drugs, like many occultist religious practices, do induce trance-like states. But these are illegal means of channeling spiritual activity, and they open adherents up to demonic influence. Pharmaceutical means to altered states of consciousness are direct counterfeits to the ordinary state of bliss humankind should experience in Christ. Adam was created to walk in bliss with God in Eden. Humanity was not created for depression, toil and the curse of a fallen world. People unknowingly pursue drugs and alcohol to recapture this lost sense of the presence of God that man remembers from the garden. As we know, these addictions only provide a fleeting, momentary sensation that is followed by devastation to health and homes, ending in broken families, poverty, suicide and destruction for future generations.

Even the temporary pleasure offered by drugs is shallow and utterly incomparable to the surpassing ecstasies of the Living God! Only believers have access to the purest stash of open Heaven delights. Though they do not realize it, drug addicts are trying to find this pleasure for which they were created. But most believers are also clueless to the infinite kilos of ecstasy available in their own bellies!

My response is below:

I have never felt that "spiritual high" and I don't really want it. I'm not refusing it, I'm just not seeking it, as it is not a need of mine.

The human experience is varied, and what different people want or need to be "complete" is different. Some need a "high" to feel joy or think that joy is defined by a "high". But I think that the "joy in the presence of the Lord" is the same as taking joy in any other person. It is a pleasure to be with them and you seek their company because they make you feel good. This isn't a "high", but a practical joy. If I can be content with my life, that is sufficient, given the promise of suffering that Jesus said we would have. Highs and lows just make me dizzy. Rather, I seek peace and contentment with whatever comes my way, in the presence of God or in the shame of incrimination. And so I was made for a life of service and creating peace within drama. That's just how I roll.

I think a "high" is a good part of life and I have no qualms with it. To display such a high in the Lord shows the world that we can party in a different way and experience the highs and lows of life. Some must have that experience. But it is necessary that not everyone pursue such experiences. We need people to build, to administrate, to think sensibly, to maintain a vision for years (even decades), all of which are difficult to do while seeking the next "God-fix".

This is why God gave us different gifts and experiencing the "high" of God is simply a gift. It is one I don't need. If God decides otherwise, that's fine. But I remember the experience of Mother Teresa, who experiences the presence of God fully when she was young. But once she began her life work in Calcutta she never felt it again (until now, I am certain). She needed to be focusing on others, administrating and building, instead of seeking her high.

There is a season for everything. And the great thing is that this life is just one season. We have plenty of time to experience that which we haven't in eternity.

You can read more:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Note To Fanatics (like me)

I don't think I would have cared for the twenty seven year old myself. 

I'm visiting family in Pennsylvania and I remember some of the things I said and did my first visit here and I decided I was a jerk.  Oh, I was a jerk for all the "right" reasons.  Heck, I had almost all the same values I have now.  But I had no experience in actually being a radical Christian.

Red letter Christians have just as much possibility to be a jerk as other people, especially in the fanatical variety.  Whenever one is a fanatic of any type (whether Christian or atheist, liberal or conservative, for peace or for war) the greatest danger is the refusal to allow others to live as they are going to live.  Fanatics just can't see why anyone would have a different point of view.  "If you hold to these presuppositions, then you must come to this conclusion."  And so you expect that if anyone else belongs to your general group (Christian or Republican or peacemonger or skeptic or whatever) then everyone in that group should be the same type of ideology you are because that is simply logical.

We need to realize, fanatics are the way we are because we hold to a rare or unique point of view.  Others won't hold to our point of view. We have the right to hold our point of view, but we cannot insist that others must convert to our logic.  There are plenty of people who come to different conclusions and just because we hold one point of view, it doesn't mean anyone else must.  We all are given the freedom of choice, and we must accept others' freedom to make different choices.  Maybe right, maybe wrong, but we are all responsible to ourselves and our gods to follow consistently our own ideology. 

Also, just because we have followed a certain line of logic, it doesn't mean that it is better than other people's point of view.  I can show that a Christian shouldn't support war.  But if I insist on this point of view for all Christians, I am missing the fact that there are a lot of different kinds of Christians and, in the whole realm of Christendom, I am in the minority in my presuppositions as to what makes the best kind of Christianity.  Thus, others can be perfectly good Christians and hold to a different point of view.

I didn't see this when I was twenty seven.  I hope that I'm more accepting to different points of view, or at least more ready to allow God do the judging and not me. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ian's Syllogism

Nothing is greater than infinity.

Infinity is greater than one.

Therefore, 0 > 1.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Are Christians Anti-American?

An internet friend of mine wrote an essay about how religious people-- he mentions Muslims, but also pulls in Christians-- are opposed to American values, specifically the values of liberalism (not "leftist" values, but values of American freedom).  You can read his full essay here  My response is below:

In principle, I would agree with you, Froham.  The pure forms of all religions would strongly stand against American values, if, by that, one means capitalism and liberalism.  I find it disappointing when Christian pedagogues say that the laws of the United States are based on the ten commandments.  That either shows a lack of knowledge of the ten commandments or a complete ignorance of the constitution.   Contradiction #1: "You shall have no other gods but me."  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".  One restricts religion, the other opens it up.  Laws against idolatry, taking the "Lord's name in vain", breaking the Sabbath-- just can't be done on a national level.  And, according to the constitution, shouldn't be established on any level (although historically, we know that such laws existed).

Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Buddha were all opposed to capitalistic and liberal principles.  Moses imposed an extremely high socialistic tax system-- 33% just for the priesthood and the poor.  Governments took a tax out on top of that, and there was an additional "gleaning" tax for the poor.  Buddha's psychological principles call for the denial of desire, which denies capitalism completely.   Muhammad clearly opposed worship of any god beside Allah.  And Jesus called for the surrender of all unnecessary wealth to the poor.   All these are in opposition to American values.

However, to say that the religions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism are opposed to American values is to overstep.  What I have found in this thread again and again is an ignorance of how world religions work, as if they are each one singular thing, with a unified set of doctrines and similarly unified set of morals and values.  Wow, are they not.

The majority of religious Americans are completely in agreement with American values, whichever world religion they adhere to.  The fact is, the constitution and capitalism have been much more successful in evangelism and conversion  than the strict adherents of any religion.  The majority of religious adherents hold to the principles of a generally free market and liberal values more than they hold to the values of their holy books.  And the reason American values have been so successful in promoting their ideals to those who should be opposed to them is many: American values promise freedom and define the term to be pleasing to the ears; American values convince the religious that  they can live in compatibility with religious values, even to the degree of the religious reinterpreting their holy books so that they sound more like Rand than ancient religion. 

One time I had a thousand dollars stolen from me.  The policeman caught the thief, but I refused to press charges because Jesus says to "love your enemies."  (He was charged and convicted on other thefts).  The officer said, "I hope not many people believe like you."  I responded, "Well, I try to teach it, but don't worry, no one listens to me." 

We all tend to adapt.  American culture is pervasive in certain nations.  The pervasive culture will always win out amidst subcultures that really want to fit in. Mennonites have wanted to remain separate for centuries, and did so.  But since WWII, they got tired of the separation and decided to assimilate, for the most part, except for just a couple values.  Thus, I find myself fighting a business-oriented board that runs my denomination.  Sigh.  Sometimes it makes me want to be Amish.