Why (not) wisdom?

Something has begun to stir up in my heart recently. I want to build my life upon it. Here it is: it is more desirable to possess wisdom, the Scriptures say, than any other thing. Seek wisdom more than riches, Solomon urges. Treasure her above pleasure. Prefer her over power. If we earnestly meditate on this, we realize that God has a very high regard for wisdom. He delights in it. He desires it from us as His children. This is serious.

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And it brings up a question: why do we, His children, not hunger more for it?
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A thought about certainty: is it the enemy of wisdom?

What is your idea of wisdom? Socrates said that the more he learned, the more he realized that he didn’t know anything. People call that Socratic wisdom, throwing off “childish” certainty and embracing uncertainty. Is that your view of a wise person, someone who has more questions than answers? Or do you see a wise person as someone who has all the answers, someone who has figured life out completely? If so, then wisdom brings certainty right? The other day I was reading about the difference between biblical faith and “certainty-faith” and the author said a thought-provoking thing: “Sometimes certainty is the enemy of wisdom”. That got me thinking – what am I certain about that I shouldn’t be, and what am I uncertain about that I shouldn’t be? Think about that. It affects how you relate with God, with people and with yourself.

between-suspicion-and-certaintyThere are many possible reasons why we would be inclined towards a black and white view of the world, or a more grey and ambiguous view. To some, this has its origins in our biology. For example, some people’s brain chemistry might make them more predisposed to fuzzy, intuitive concepts while others gravitate towards more concrete analytical ones. This makes me wonder about our natural preferences for different ideologies and theologies. Of course, much of this may be expanded from our biology to our psychology, because our personalities have been formed along different lines due to our environment and experiences. Continue reading

How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

I see things have quieted down here. I am myself sorry for not coming here and writing/commenting more often – earlier this year my life took some turns that led to me not spending too much time on this blog.

Yet, I am a fan of this blog and would hate to see it fade into permanent stillness. Perhaps the season of stillness may have been a good thing. But I hope we can move into another season of active, contructive, challenging engagement, as well as sharing and encouragement.

I therefore throw the title question in your general direction:

How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

This not so much a “how have you been doing” question as it is “what new things have you learnt? what new things have you experienced? what old views and understandings did you drop and what new ones do you favor?”

Turning the question on myself, I’ll say that I have come to value faithfulness to God much more than I used to. Both because I failed in my faithfullness personally, but also because I saw a lot of unfaithfullness around me. I’ve been reminded that, for all our spirituality, our wisdom and understanding about God, the Church and being a Christian, what is really important is how faithfull you are to these things.

I’ve also grown a distaste for the practice of the “gifts of the spirit” – not because I believe that they are any less real or biblical than I did before. I still believe they are and that they should be sought after by Christians! Yet… I’ve just yet to see a church that gets it even almost right. Mostly I see abuse of these gifts, or at best that they are used without yielding any real fruit.

Altar Calls have become a bit absurd to me. The principle is good and solid: a call to salvation or a call to repentence. Yet it *must* be a first step to growth. I find that some churches get simply stuck in an infinite loop of Altar Calls. Every week Satan is divorced, strongholds over lives are broken, forgiveness is finally released, captives are set free and life is spoken… and yet every week the very people who had “a spiritual breakthrough” by going forward a week or two ago, saunters forward again. If these “personal encounters with God” are what they are made out to be, I’d expect their legacy to be a bit longer than 5 or 10 days.

I miss that the church builds on Altar Calls and let Christians to actually grow beyond the point where they require weekly life-changing prayers.

I still go to Church, by the way, even though I find the experience fruitless or stale most of the times. I go because I feel I ought to – even if it’s just to keep alive the possibility of a spiritual revival within myself – and to have fellowship with other Christians (which also does not always work out the way I would like). I stopped going to cell, the main reason being that I did not feel I had a good reason TO go to cell.

Well, that’s me. Interested to hear what’ve been going on with you guys…

Conversations on morality: what about emotions?

There are times when I experience toxic emotions that can lead to sinful behavior. In the past, I used to battle distinguishing the emotion from the behavior, which meant that in an effort to avoid bad behavior I ended up avoiding bad emotions. I guess that having bad emotions made me feel like a bad person, and so I began to strive to be an ’emotionally’ good person. On the positive side, I think I learned good self control, which is a fruit of the Spirit after all. I wanted to obey God’s commands to rejoice, to be patient, to not be anxious. In some ways it worked. I didn’t allow myself to entertain or indulge unhealthy emotions. On the negative side, by moralizing my emotions I actually closed the curtains on the window to my soul. I treated bad emotions like sinful choices, and forgot that there was something under them. So in some ways I lost touch with myself. Lately I find that I am becoming more ‘real’ instead of ‘right’ with my toxic emotions, and I feel more authentic. Yet there is this nagging feeling that it might not always be a good choice.

ARE emotions choices? Are they moral in God’s sight? Or are they merely like the lights on a car’s dashboard that He designed to let me know what’s going on under the bonnet? What is the balance between being real and being right?

Silly Wonder

When last did you sit and look at the bees at work?

This morning I was watching a lone bee doing his job at a purple-flowered ground-cover  It filled me with pleasure, and I was reminded “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”.

Observing nature in conversation with God can be very instructive. The thought that stayed with me is that God may find it as delightful when I am simply working the work I’ve been given; uncomplicated, “un-self-conscious”, and diligent as that bee.