Pic of the day: "Being alone ... sure is a sad thing." No wonder humans long for someone to be by their side always. Well, almost always. All of us need some time alone too, right?
Alone with a Bible
I considered that all things that happen, do so according to God's plan. Perhaps He doesn't exactly want everything that happens, but He claims to at least know it in advance, which is one better than I can do. As the apostle Paul says: "We know that all things work together for the benefit of those who love God, those He called after holding council with Himself." (Romans 8:28.) So, I considered that perhaps I was cut off from the world in order to spend more time with my God.
It certainly beats thinking about Telenor. For the apostle also says: "Bless, and curse not!" (Romans 12:14) and Peter adds: "...on the contrary, bless! For this was your calling, that you may inherit the blessing." I take this to mean that when we curse or bless, a residue of the curse or blessing clings to us and seeps into us. If we do any of the two frequently, the accumulated residue becomes a permanent curse or blessing on our life. That's pretty cool actually. Try this at home, kids! Well, the blessing part. But remember the biblical Proverb: "He who blesses his brother in a loud voice early in the morning, him shall it be counted as a curse."
Thoughts are the threads that bind us to deeds; deeds are the ropes that bind us to habits; and habits are the chains that bind us to destiny: Therefore, if you want to avoid an evil destiny, turn away from evil thoughts! (That's David Farland, who was not an apostle last I heard. I am not sure if he came up with that one himself, I know I have seen similar ones but this is one of the better.) That's why, even though I was one of the first outsiders to be invited to beta-test City of Villains, I rejected it quickly. I don't think evil is fun: I know it too well for that. I don't want or need to feed the Evil Inside.
I went so far as to sit down with the Bible. I rarely do that now. I guess I earn too much, even though I am hardly even middle-class by Norwegian standards. A study published in the conservative paper Aftenposten showed that Bible reading was inversely proportional with income. This was the only correlated variable. All the others were just instances of this: Women read somewhat more than men, students and pensioners more than workers, and so on. This should not really surprise anyone, when you consider how many places the Bible cries woe to the rich. Actually the Bible cries a lot of woe, and havoc and stuff like that. I am amazed at how I can usually just open the Bible randomly and there is a threat of horrible death and doom. Strange how I did not notice this so strongly before.
I know a lot of the Bible almost by heart (almost, because I have read it in different translations so the exact wording tends to be fuzzy, while the meaning tends to be that much clearer for seeing it from different angles). What has happened lately is that I have started forgetting where what is written. When I regularly attended the meetings of the Christian Church (popularly known as "Smith's Friends"), we spent a lot of time looking up things in the Bible, both in the meetings and informal gatherings, and alone when preparing for a meeting or reflecting on a meeting, or just because we liked it. When I sat reading the Bible on my own, I was amazed by how one part made another part make sense, even though they were written by different people at different times. No, really. It really is like that, but only if you read it in that special spirit.
But I also realized that for much of my time in the Church, part of my reading was contaminated by my wish to impress others. It was not something I could avoid entirely, for bringing forth the revelations we had in the Word was an important service. The fact that it gave a satisfaction to the ego was not what made me do it, but it kept clinging to me. I tried to make sure at least that I did not come across as a teacher. I tried to say it as simply as possible, to not show off, and I think I succeeded a lot in that. But there was still something there, like the faint taste of earth in a carrot not sufficiently washed. And the fact remains that now that I don't have anyone to talk to about the Bible, I read it a lot less. If I was just seeking information from God, then I would either have read it more now or not so much then, since I already knew most of it.
One thing I have known since early on: God is not impressed by people reading the Bible, or going to church. These things are not services to God: It is God doing us a service by giving us his word. But by doing these things, people practice the presence of God. Sadly in many people this becomes a separate part of their life. They rise and put the Bible aside, they also put God aside. They walk out of the church, they also walk out of the presence of God. As a rich Christian here in Norway is rumored to have said: "I never mix Bible and Business." That is so sad. It was never meant to be that way. "When the Spokesman comes," said Jesus, "the Spirit of Truth, He shall teach you everything and remind you of everything that I have told you." The Spokesman is supposed to be with us always. (For some reason, that name makes me think of Him as some kind of superhero. I rather prefer the more abstract word Spirit, although I guess that makes it TOO abstract for some people again.)
I don't really know if the strange invisible Presence that I know in my life is this Spokesman, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. It seems presumptuous to think that a man such as I should be allowed this companionship year after year despite my ongoing failures, or perhaps more rightly my character flaws. Jesus says that those who blaspheme against the Son of Man or the Father can be forgiven; but those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, in this life or the next. I bet this has creeped out a lot of Christians, it certainly did for me. It is something extra serious about the Spirit. "Do not cause the Holy Spirit grief" says the apostle. I find it very hard to believe that the Holy Spirit could stay in my presence for long without experiencing grief! Yet, there is something, which feels like a someone, who almost always stays with me. Comforting and judging at the same time ... not accepting everything I do, but accepting me even though I do them. like a parent that has faith that the child will eventually grow up and put aside the childish things. I wonder. Perhaps I will. But judging from my reaction when my pet toy is taken away for a few days, I may be severely retarded spiritually.
Yet in my heart I always feel like King David says: "Cast me not away from your Presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me!" I am not sure how I would be able to go on all alone. I can certainly see why humans seek each other with such fervor, and why solitary confinement is called torture. To be separated from my "invisible friend" is for me a fate worse than death. In fact, it is the reason why I fear death in the first place: I fear that surely there must be a reckoning, that if not before then at least in death I will harvest what I sowed. When there is no more hope for me, then – I fear – the Presence will also turn its back on me. If not for that, I would still dislike death, but it would not fill me with fear like it does now.
Visit the ChaosNode.net for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.