Freedom

There is a repeated trope that is sometimes derived from some understanding of neurology that we don’t have free will.

But it’s a twisting of facts.

We do have free will. The truth that’s being twisted is about the form free will take, because it’s often different from the way we imagine it.

We often think if free will as the ability to make a decision in the moment.

What’s true is that we often don’t make a decision in the moment but instead rely on habits we’ve built up over time when determining behavior.

But we can change our habits. The the lie or manipulation is ignoring our ability to alter our habitual reactions. It’s an inherent neuro-cognitive process of the brain that we can evaluate the outcomes of our habitual behaviors and alter them in order to secure better outcomes.

Changing habits can be hard for sure. But it’s not impossible. And it’s the best way to ensure that we are making decisions about our behavior instead of relying on our pre-existing habits unthinkingly.

Empty Words and Fleeing to the Desert

I don’t want to hear boring music about nothing

I wouldn’t mind hearing old music with some real depth, but the churches that still use old hymns have become cloistered and unwelcoming

Both of those types, and every variation between them, are filled with rigid, religious human shields who resist any attempt at self examination

I’m not the only one. And it goes well beyond music

It’s about the roar and grasping of empty words

That’s why so many leave

They realize they’re not part of a community

They’re definitely not constituents, not integral components of a larger whole

They’re subjects

To something unfulfilling, unwilling to self reflect

Or improve.

So they find community elsewhere

Outside the buildings

Somewhere with a mind of humility, openness, and rejuvenation

The promise that so many Christian communities leave unfulfilled

Like the Desert Mothers and Fathers of the 3rd century, many are now building communities that fulfill the promises of Christ
Instead of asking for admittance to communities that claim to own those promises

The Desert vs Trolls

Read the Desert

Suffering

Old question. REAL old.

If God loves us why do we suffer?

Does God control our actions? Our future? Every event, moment to moment? If so, why the moments of suffering?

I saw my friend today wondering out loud,

“Is God punishing me?”

I don’t think I’m going to end this debate in a blog…but I’ll try. At least a little bit. A smidgen.

My first thought would be about control.

What do I mean if I say God controls my future?

Do I mean God controls my every action? (kinda don’t think so)

Do I mean God controls all circumstances I find myself in? (kinda don’t think so on this one either. If I have control of my actions shouldn’t I think others do too?)

Do I mean that God has no control then!? (nah, but what do I mean then?)

🤔

I’ve come to the conclusion that I think about control in terms far too limited. I’ve started asking myself what kind of control the God I believe in has.

Reading the Bible does the trick.

The authors of that old collection of books all wrestled with the idea of God’s control, how evil could sometimes triumph.

Emerging from their frustration, through the books that claim to reveal God’s will I think it is very clear.

God controls the outcomes.

There may be a number of potential circumstances but God controls the eventual circumstances.

The events that will come to pass.

Over time they are all fulfilled and eventually they will culminate in a transformation of this world. In that culmination we will see the full triumph of light, love, mercy, compassion, humility, self sacrifice, and all that is good.

These will win out in the end.

In the meantime all our choices create the circumstances we see around us. Slowing eliminating the paths into the future. All of our individuals choices swirling together in a tumultuous converging path.

Each path we take leaves another behind,

& another

& another

Until there is only one left: that path of culmination.

Our burden is to chose the paths available to us. Then we have to deal with the paths laid before us by all others.

Which by the way includes God. I definitely think God acts and moves along these paths just as we do.

But God’s path is built of all the virtues listed above👆

And more

Ours, not so much.

Why bring us into this universe of possibilities where some choose viciousness and others chose tenderness?

Why allow the choices?

Why not start and culminate simultaneously? Why do we have to go through the long, grim pilgrimage of time?

I’d like to know, wouldn’t you?

So I guess I failed on that note. Maybe I’ll come back to that question later.

Until then I have faith that when time does culminate, peace will reign.

And all the wrongs of the past will be made right.

I can’t wait to see what THAT looks like

🙏

Without a doubt I have my own take on the way grace, forgiveness, and faith worm their way into all this. But that’ll have to wait till a later post 🤘

Brief warning: I’ll mostly be posting from my phone. Using a mobile device to view may work best 😎