Bullet Point Thoughts from The Front-lines of America– The Babble-On of Our Times
Enjoy the Inns, but Keep Walking Toward Home
By Jane Tawel
October 28, 2018
Notes to Self:
- For at least one year, read only the Hebrew Bible which is the only Scripture Jesus or His followers recognized as Holy Scripture. Read the stories of the people who sought a different kind of god. Read the stories and psalms and prophecies of people who were peculiar because they walked with Jehovah-God.
- Immerse myself in the basic tenets of the religion of Abraham and Moses, Isaiah and David.
- Realize that only 7 of the letters attributed to Paul, that great interpreter of Judaism to the Gentiles, are truly and completely written by Paul. Realize that Paul would never have considered his letters Holy Scripture. Keep Paul in context.
- Realize that the Gospels are guides to accepting Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and to what earlier followers of Jesus’ “brand” of Judaism believed was the way to live in God’s Kingdom now and perhaps forever.
- Read every thing in context, know your genres of anything written, realize every thing ever written, including Scripture has an agenda. Figure that out before you use it.
- Read C.S. Lewis’ works rather than just his quips and quotes.
- Remember that from dust I was created and to dust most of us will return. Realize I am a person who doesn’t want to return to dust, nor to be punished in an eternal hell, but rather I am a person who wants to live forever worshiping and creating with God and The Christ in a New Earth and New Heaven.
- Remember that mostly I am, as Lewis warns below, a Judas and not the characters I would like Central Casting to pitch me as. Look fiercely at the 30 pieces of silver in my hands today. Remember I have to choose daily what I will seek. Remember that each day I can repent, ask forgiveness, and seek God’s Kingdom first. Remember I must become less, so that others may become more. Remember it is not a wide road, but a narrow balancing beam shaped like a cross.
- Don’t exploit people. It is a lie of Satan to think that I can exploit the evil people who have power or the authorities who rule this world or my circumstances and that “God will be in control”. It is a lie of Satan to think that I can ignore the Lazarus on my own doorstep or to foist onto others the plight of the poor and powerless. If I do, then I am a Judas; not a Moses, not an Abraham, not a Paul –not a Jesus follower serving His kingdom to the end. A Judas.
- Remember that suffering is a result of sin and the earth’s fallenness. Combat The Fall! Pick up the trash even if I didn’t drop it there. Hold things lightly in my hands. Mourn with those who mourn. Delight in the joys of others. Speak truth into lies and light into darkness even when afraid and worn out (and warned out). Treat people as if they matter to a God. Make myself smaller. Joy is a command.
- Enjoy “the pleasant inns” without guilt — just as Frodo and Sam and Gandolf did. BUT — do not mistake this life’s pleasant inns for Home. Keep walking toward Home.
NOTE To READERS:
If possible –I highly recommend digging into the books of C.S. Lewis. The following is from my recent re-reading of The Problem of Pain. With Lewis is it always difficult to choose just one brilliant idea but I think the following is perhaps most critical for people in the land and time in which I currently live. Although it is from the end of TPoP, and an understanding of Lewis’ ideas of sin and The Fall and human nature are necessary for a complete understanding of what he means here, this excerpt below should sound a warning to those of us who think we can choose evil or self-serving justification of our deeds and thoughts and that God will somehow make it good. He will indeed turn it to the good of His world, of His partially seen but yet unrealized -on -earth as it is in His Kingdom; but it makes a difference to our lives and the lives of those around us whether we choose the 30 pieces of silver; whether we deny him hoping the rooster won’t crow and we can get back to our jobs fishing for manna and not for men; or whether we instead submit our will daily to the will of God, seeking Good for others even at cost to self. The small things I choose today do make a difference to my own soul — for good or for bad –and in that lies the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
From C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain (ch. 7):
There is a paradox about tribulation in Christianity. Blessed are the poor, but by “judgement” (i.e. social justice) and alms we are to remove poverty wherever possible. Blessed are we when persecuted, but we may avoid persecution by flying from city to city, and may pray to be spared it, as Our Lord prayed in Gethsemane. But if suffering is good ought it not to be pursued rather than avoided? I answer that suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the sufferer, his submission to the will of God, and, for the spectators, the compassion aroused and the acts of mercy to which it leads. In the fallen and partially redeemed universe we may distinguish (1) the simple good descending from God, (2) the simple evil produced by rebellious creatures, and (3) the exploitation of that evil by God for His redemptive purpose, which produces (4) the complex good to which accepted suffering and repented sin contribute. Now the fact that God can make complex good out of simple evil does not excuse – though by mercy it may save—those who do the simple evil. And this distinction is central. Offences must come, but woe to those by whom they come; sins do cause grace to abound, but we must not make that an excuse for continuing to sin. The crucifixion itself is the best, as well as the worst, of all historical events, but the role of Judas remains simply evil. We may apply this first to the problem of other people’s suffering. A merciful man aims at his neighbour’s good and so does “God’s will,” consciously co-operating with “the simple good.” A cruel man oppresses his neighbor, and so does simple evil. But in doing such evil, he is used by God, without his own knowledge or consent to produce the complex good—so that the first man serves God as a son, and the second as a tool. For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however, you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John. (98,99)
It would be quite false, therefore, to suppose that the Christian view of suffering is incompatible with the strongest emphasis on our duty to leave the world, even in a temporal sense, “better” than we found it. In the fullest parabolic picture which he gave of the Judgement, Our Lord seems to reduce all virtue to active beneficence: and though it would be misleading to take that one picture in isolation from the Gospel as a whole, it is sufficient to place beyond doubt the basic principles of the social ethics of Christianity. (101)
Since political issues have here crossed our path, I must make it clear that the Christian doctrine of self-surrender and obedience is purely theological, and not in the least a political, doctrine. Of forms of government, of civil authority and civil obedience, I have nothing to say. The kind and degree of obedience which a creature owes to its Creator is unique because the relation between creature and Creator is unique: no inference can be drawn from it to any political proposition whatsoever. (102)
The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe, or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. (103) (emphasis mine)
Shalom Aleichem, Jane