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Brad, so beautifully said. Thank you.
We are loved unconditionally by God, right now, right here. We don't have to wait until we clean up our acts. His love is steadfast and constant. God's love is not based on feelings, nor emotions. He doen't love us because we are lovable or because we make Him feel good. He loves us because He is love.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". John 3:16.

How great thou art God!. Our God of love.
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's a rather strange thought that I had the other day:

The only possible thing that I can want now is to not want anything. I don't know why this state of affairs should be, or what it means. I do recognize that it is a negative freedom. It's an emptying, and perhaps familiarity with emptiness allows me to approach this boundary and consider it potentially peaceful and not inherently threatening.

As I told a friend the other day, I feel absolutely dependent on god. That, theoretically, sounds like a good thing, but that is like trying to breath in a vacuum. There are no obstructions, but neither is there any air. God may be real, but we still need mental and physical food for life in this world.
And I think by thinking the above thought I stumbled onto a fairly common "boundary layer". We all reach points in our lives (probably many times) where we're unsure of how to proceed. And this is reasonable enough for, after all, how could we know the future? If we could see the future we would know what to do, we would know what to avoid, and life would be as simple as Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. But we don't. But even if we don't know what is ahead, we know what has passed, and thus we often know when we've done "enough of that", when we've reached a new chapter even if we don't have a chapter title yet.
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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By chance I ran across this passage from Merton. I know this is a stage I�ve been in, and it seems logical to me that this is a stage that many would pass through on there way to other places. Hopefully few would remain here too long. That�s the way I see it, anyway. Ol� Thomas sees this as the "theology of the devil" and apparently not as a stage at all, but whatever. I wouldn�t look at it quite that harshly. But I think his points are extremely well made:

The theology of the devil is really not theology but magic. "Faith" in this theology is really not the acceptance of a God Who reveals Himself as mercy. It is a psychological, subjective "force" which applies a kind of violence to reality in order to change it according to one�s own whims. Faith is a kind of supereffective wishing: a mastery that comes from a special, mysteriously dynamic will power that is generated by "profound convictions." By virtue of this wonderful energy one can exert a persuasive force even on God Himself and bend His will to one�s own will. By this astounding new dynamic soul force of faith (which any quack can develop in you for an appropriate remuneration) you can turn God into a means to your own ends. We become civilized medicine men, and God becomes our servant. Though He is terrible in His own right, He respects our sorcery, He allows Himself to be tamed by it. He will appreciate our dynamism, and will reward it with success in everything we attempt. We will become popular because we have "faith." We will be rich because we have "faith." All our national enemies will come and lay down their arms at our feet because we have "faith." Business will boom all over the world, and we will be able to make money out of everything and everyone under the sun because of the charmed life we lead. We have faith.
I would acknowledge that it�s a fine line between defining god downward to the extent where there seems little difference between god and no-god. And I think we can do that if we expect nothing from Her and that whatever one does get from Her is simply "God�s will." If whatever happens just happens and whatever doesn�t happen just doesn�t happen, then god is no different than random chance. So it seems completely reasonable to me to expect the Creator of the world to actually do things that we want done. If all we are doing is reacting to what happens to us and calling it "God�s plan" then that seems little different than saying god is whatever accidents happen to us. But how to find god in all this without turning Him or Her into Merton�s "theology of the devil" wherein we treat God like a rich uncle who is at our beck and call depending on how skillful or willful our faith is?

For me the short answer is that one is "doing it right" if one sort of leaps a bit past all that "quid pro quo" concept of god and is doing loving things because one knows it is the right thing to do�and one knows that one will be repaid twofold through helping others. That gets some healthy separation, I think, in between the idea of "gimme this because I did that," although it seems to me a god would still be free to give out gifts in whatever way He or She saw fit.
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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