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Loose Semi-Autobiographical Theological Musings on Life

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  • Loose Semi-Autobiographical Theological Musings on Life

    In so many ways it seems God is unknowable. Yet he has chosen to reveal himself through his Word. And Jesus himself reveals to us who God is, for he himself is the definitive revelation of the Father. If we've seen Jesus we have seen the Father.

    There are many questions in between. Is Scripture inerrant? Is it totally reliable? Can we trust the copyists didn't in some way corrupt the texts they were transcribing gradually over time in order to "correct" portions unfavorable to their theological agenda?

    The foundational question is this: Who is God? I feel after so many years I have been chasing various rainbows and have come out realizing more and more with the passage of time how very little I know. This is the effect knowledge has had on me. I feel I know less now than I ever have. I began studying the theology because I hoped I would find the answers I was looking for but only more questions have been raised as a result. There's too many questions, too few answers. Everybody thinks they have answers, but I am more incredulous than ever. Am I skeptic? In a sense, yes. Am I an atheist or an unbeliever? No. I will tell you I do struggle with unbelief, but I assume God is the only answer even when I feel as if I have no answers. (This plea of ignorance can make a hardened atheist laugh, I'm sure.)

    I am relatively young, but even though I haven't really been having fun the time has been passing faster than I imagined it would have. I do not know how much longer I have yet to live. Of course one can always die prematurely or far before we believe it is time for us to do so, but life may end at any moment. We find this hard to believe, but it is true. I realize most of my life has been wasted. I do not say that in bitterness or tears, but in truth.

    Everything does appear quite meaningless apart from God. I find it difficult to view the universe from any other vantage point than my own. I know I am not unique in this. The world, however, does not revolve around or exist because of or for you or I strictly speaking. We are participants in a grander scheme. It seems the utter futility of life is intended to bring us groveling back to our Creator who also happens to be our Redeemer as well. It seems only when we are stripped of everything may we find our way to God. Of course he's been there all along.

    I can think of the things I have wanted in my life, things and people I thought would make me happy (or at least tend to enrich it). At this point none of it seems of any great significance. We never become full trying to get full. This is the great irony. Much of my life has been a misery to me. It was not self-chosen; much it seemed to find me. Part of this may be attributed to genetics and upbringing. Of course we must also take responsibility for our decisions, but many of us get off on the wrong foot and find it nearly impossible to gain any traction. I suppose a lot of pain has served to humble me somewhat (not to brag or anything). I suppose I could be a lot worse than I am.

    All this futility leads me back to God. I've learned what pretenders us humans are. It seems the only way to God is to be stripped of all pretense. Forgive us our pride, my pride. I am coming to see this virus infects us all. No one seems to be free of it. I despise it in others; why don't I despise it in myself? We can't fix anyone, even ourselves. I would really like to learn to repent and to make it my daily practice, but I always find some reason not to do it. Tomorrow would be a much better day for that. I'm at the point now where I don't know what repentance feels like. What is repentance? What is this change? It's a change that is to extend in all areas of one's life, a radical change. Repentance should affect one's feelings and affections, of course, but that cannot be the essence of repentance. But I guess I'm stuck on feelings even when I can't feel much of anything (like now). Old habits die hard.

    When did I stop believing God was great? When did he become this conceptually amorphous impotent deity that resides somewhere in the back of my mind? Is Yahweh not the God who lives, the living God himself who created the heavens and the earth? Is he not the God who brought Israel out of Egypt? Is he not the God who gave his one and only Son so I might die to sin and live to righteousness? Why am I alive to sin and dead to righteousness, then? Something must change. I must change. So I pray for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ who saves. I call him Lord but I do not do what he says. I am the disciple who does not follow. What else can I ask for but grace? I have no demands I can make. So many words, so many vain words. I should ask for God to reveal himself to me for he is. Don't I already know? It seems as if I don't. Light has been lost, but the Light is still shining. I must repent before it's too late; not tomorrow, but today. I need to stop playing games. It seems so hard to see with eyes so dim. Open my eyes.

    We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. . . .
    Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:18,21 ESV)
    For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

  • #2
    This whole post is rather vague, so I am unsure on what specifically you are asking. Are you having trouble believing that God exists, or having trouble believing the Bible, or having trouble ceasing from sin in general, or all of the above? I think your conditionalist theology may be giving you a lot of trouble. The Bible portrays the spirit of the believer as being regenerated, but the flesh as still being severely corrupt. It sounds like your flesh is giving you problems (both spiritual and psychological). That is normal.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
      This whole post is rather vague, so I am unsure on what specifically you are asking. Are you having trouble believing that God exists, or having trouble believing the Bible, or having trouble ceasing from sin in general, or all of the above? I think your conditionalist theology may be giving you a lot of trouble. The Bible portrays the spirit of the believer as being regenerated, but the flesh as still being severely corrupt. It sounds like your flesh is giving you problems (both spiritual and psychological). That is normal.
      It's almost like a blog entry, I suppose. As in the title, I was "musing". The post is not to be read in order to glean propositional truths (though there are some, to be sure). Persons may respond (or not respond) how they wish. There is hyperbole, vague echoes of Ecclesiastes and allusions to some familiar biblical texts. I hope someone might benefit from it other than myself.
      For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

      Comment


      • #4
        "Conditionalist" theology? Off to do an Internet search.
        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

        [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

        Comment


        • #5
          Absolutely beautiful. There is nothing God doesn't know about us, he knows how therapeutic writing can be...You've touched on so many points here that speak to me specifically and if my mind wasn't dog tired i'd have a much more coherent comment to make. I do hope you know, for what it may be worth to you and your spirit, that when you write like this, it helps, it is therapeutic for the reader. Sometimes, as life engulfs with so many details, you feel angst, that you don't have time to sort out. When someone expresses such similar angst in an (extremely)eloquent and genuine way it makes you feel that you have 'soul brothers' out there and it makes it easier. Easier, yes. The way you feel when you take a deep breath. Thank you. and thank you for your comment on my cycle of life thread, I've commented on it as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
            This whole post is rather vague, so I am unsure on what specifically you are asking. Are you having trouble believing that God exists, or having trouble believing the Bible, or having trouble ceasing from sin in general, or all of the above? I think your conditionalist theology may be giving you a lot of trouble. The Bible portrays the spirit of the believer as being regenerated, but the flesh as still being severely corrupt. It sounds like your flesh is giving you problems (both spiritual and psychological). That is normal.
            I might suggest looking up "dark night of the soul". It happens to many Christians, regardless of eschatological beliefs.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

            Comment


            • #7
              Honestly you sound depressed. I can totally relate to much of what you are saying. I have been down and out and utterly stuck in so many ways. I was simply confused, angry, envious, blah, blah, blah for the majority of my life. I dwelt in ravines and isolation because dealing with people was far too difficult in a sleep deprived state - I looked like I was physically wasting away, and I was.

              So what did I do? I willed myself to change, and I am, slowly but surely. I moved out of my dad's house of mold, I got a job, I got a cellphone, I got some cool clothes..I started becoming human again. I am learning new things and I am growing and I am proud of my progress...all glory to me? No not at all. I am very much a Christian and my faith has matured. I recognized God is not going to feel sorry for me and it is up to me to make the practical changes I want to see in my life. I know God is working all things together for my good and I am prepared for things to go horribly wrong without freaking out about it. I am steadily progressing in life and I desire expansion and even more growth, for the glory of God and for my good.
              Last edited by Scrawly; 03-21-2014, 10:13 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Remonstrant.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you for posting Remonstrant. I really appreciate the honesty in this post. I can relate to the feeling that the more you have delved into theology and learning about God, the less you feel like you know. This has been the case for me also. I want to continue learning here on earth, but I also look forward to continuing to learn about and know God for eternity. After all, we are told in the Word that eternal life is to know God.

                  I also really relate to your statement about humans being pretenders, and the sin of pride. I see this in myself so much, and do my best to ask forgiveness and have God weed this out in me. It is slow going.

                  Anyways, I really appreciated this post. In seeking God, you will find Him. Godbless brother

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                    Honestly you sound depressed.
                    In part, perhaps. But I believe human beings tend to be quite sad creatures, honestly. God is so often an addition to our lives. It should not be this way. He is everything. I am not seeking to promote some kind of hyper-spirituality here. That said, I recognize we do live in a day and age when God is considered increasingly irrelevant. Most believers are almost frighteningly naturalistic in their worldview. I have discovered the accusation that many Christians live and breathe as practical atheists is unfortunately true. We are literally standing on a battle field. Though the victory of Christ is indeed certain (as evidenced by the resurrection), the battle is not yet over.

                    Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:17-21 ESV)


                    Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                    I can totally relate to much of what you are saying. I have been down and out and utterly stuck in so many ways. I was simply confused, angry, envious, blah, blah, blah for the majority of my life. I dwelt in ravines and isolation because dealing with people was far too difficult in a sleep deprived state - I looked like I was physically wasting away, and I was.

                    So what did I do? I willed myself to change, and I am, slowly but surely. I moved out of my dad's house of mold, I got a job, I got a cellphone, I got some cool clothes..I started becoming human again. I am learning new things and I am growing and I am proud of my progress...all glory to me? No not at all. I am very much a Christian and my faith has matured. I recognized God is not going to feel sorry for me and it is up to me to make the practical changes I want to see in my life. I know God is working all things together for my good and I am prepared for things to go horribly wrong without freaking out about it. I am steadily progressing in life and I desire expansion and even more growth, for the glory of God and for my good.
                    I believe you may have misinterpreted the opening post. Some may get the mistaken impression that I am in some way wallowing in self-pity. I am not. (I have done that before quite well in the past, actually, so I believe I would be cognizant of this if I were.1) It is not even a solicitation for help. Life is multifaceted and each individual person's experience unique. I do not know what it is like to walk in another man's shoes; neither do you. I can only speak for myself. Attempting to speak for someone else would be quite presumptuous of me.

                    Everything ultimately is about God and who he is, not me. While I believe this is true, it is extremely difficult to internalize. Humans are incredibly adept at deceiving themselves. We typically carry on our lives as though God is our subordinate. God is second to no one, regardless of what we feel or think. Human pride is the major stumbling block. We are exceedingly good at cloaking how piously pompous we are. This is where self-deception enters the fray. We are mysteriously able to veil our pride, hiding it even from ourselves. God is first. I must become less because I am already less. When men have encountered God throughout the Scriptures in his glory they are immediately frightened and deeply humbled. The most righteous man appears impure before the Lord. I have forgotten my utter sinfulness. I am loveless and deeply unlovely. I have corrupted myself. Can anyone else not make this confession? Perhaps it's just me. I must remember my unworthiness before the Lord. Jesus is everything and I am nothing. I am only something or someone when I find myself in him.

                    I will find who I am when I act as who and what I am. I was once told by Mr. Blaisdell to say this prayer when I am in my darkest times:

                    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.2

                    It helps me to remember my place in the grander scheme of things. I am a creature, a man. Not just a man, but a sinful man. God owes me nothing. God is good, I am not. I am a sinner in need of salvation. This need never changes. Jesus is the Savior who came to save me from my sins. The Gospel never changes, Jesus never changes. I am in no less of a need of a Savior today than many years before. This never changes. That God should love you or I is absolutely amazing. We are incredibly unlovable, sinful human creatures. This is all so easy to forget. It shouldn't be. Life doesn't just go on. Jesus is Life itself (or rather himself). How is it that we find ourselves bored with these truths?

                    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your [or our] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

                    Have you ever read Augustine's Confessions? Consider many of my reflections to be in that same basic vein (though my mind is certainly no rival to Augustine's). As anti-Augustinian as it would appear I am, it is quite ironic that I should admire this work of his so much. If I could only have one work outside the Scriptures available to me at my bedside as I lay preparing to die, Confessions would be it. (Hopefully I will have a few more books at my disposal though.)

                    That said, I'm glad to learn you have progressed forward in various aspects of your personal life, Scrawly. Take none of my musings at your expense; they wre not intended to be.


                    Notes

                    1

                    2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Prayer
                    Last edited by The Remonstrant; 03-22-2014, 02:11 PM.
                    For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Remonstrant.
                      Originally posted by TheNoviceCometh View Post
                      Thank you for posting Remonstrant. I really appreciate the honesty in this post. I can relate to the feeling that the more you have delved into theology and learning about God, the less you feel like you know. This has been the case for me also. I want to continue learning here on earth, but I also look forward to continuing to learn about and know God for eternity. After all, we are told in the Word that eternal life is to know God.

                      I also really relate to your statement about humans being pretenders, and the sin of pride. I see this in myself so much, and do my best to ask forgiveness and have God weed this out in me. It is slow going.

                      Anyways, I really appreciated this post. In seeking God, you will find Him. Godbless brother
                      RBerman and the TheNoviceCometh:

                      Many humble thanks to you both, my brothers. The only thing I know is how little I actually know. I'm inclined to believe I know less than this actually. I would agree with you, TNC, that we will never exhaust the riches of God's infinite wisdom and knowledge even in the age to come.

                      We absolutely need forgiveness so much, TNC; it is true. The end goal of our union with Christ, however, is to make us like God. The transformational aspect of salvation is so often dismissed as a legalistic requirement that goes beyond the Gospel, but it is not. God wants us to become like him in character. The genuine, non-legalistic imitation of Jesus Christ among Protestants/evangelicals seems to be sorely lacking. We are to grow from infancy to adulthood in Christ. We are to grow "until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13 ESV). Personally I have been quite stunted in my growth. I do not believe I am in the minority either.
                      Last edited by The Remonstrant; 03-22-2014, 12:21 PM.
                      For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What about the Holy Spirit?

                        And you quoted Bible verses in type smaller than that of your editorials.
                        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                        [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                          What about the Holy Spirit?
                          Yes?

                          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                          And you quoted Bible verses in type smaller than that of your editorials.
                          I tend to reduce the font size of indented quotes.
                          Last edited by The Remonstrant; 03-22-2014, 03:09 PM.
                          For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Remonstrant View Post
                            In part, perhaps. But I believe human beings tend to be quite sad creatures, honestly. God is so often an addition to our lives. It should not be this way. He is everything. I am not seeking to promote some kind of hyper-spirituality here. That said, I recognize we do live in a day and age when God is considered increasingly irrelevant. Most believers are almost frighteningly naturalistic in their worldview. I have discovered the accusation that many Christians live and breathe as practical atheists is unfortunately true. We are literally standing on a battle field. Though the victory of Christ is indeed certain (as evidenced by the resurrection), the battle is not yet over.


                            Be that as it may, but may I ask what you are actually doing besides seemingly obsessing over other people's sin (real or imagined).

                            Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:17-21 ESV)
                            It is wise to keep in mind that the Bible was written for us, not to us. This verse can easily be used by the slothful and antisocial to deceive themselves into thinking they are the genuine believers whilst all these other Christian's with jobs and bank accounts are worldly. Don't fall victim to such pious nonsense.


                            [SIZE=3][FONT=Palatino Linotype]I believe you may have misinterpreted the opening post. Some may get the mistaken impression that I am in some way wallowing in self-pity. I am not. (I have done that before quite well in the past, actually, so I believe I would be cognizant of this if I were.1) It is not even a solicitation for help. Life is multifaceted and each individual person's experience unique. I do not know what it is like to walk in another man's shoes; neither do you. I can only speak for myself. Attempting to speak for someone else would be quite presumptuous of me.
                            No one is attempting to speak for anyone else. I was merely offering practical advice based upon my experiences which appear similar to yours in some ways.

                            Everything ultimately is about God and who he is, not me. While I believe this is true, it is extremely difficult to internalize. Humans are incredibly adept at deceiving themselves. We typically carry on our lives as though God is our subordinate. God is second to no one, regardless of what we feel or think. Human pride is the major stumbling block. We are exceedingly good at cloaking how piously pompous we are. This is where self-deception enters the fray.
                            Yeah but your pretty much preaching to the choir here. Christian's generally know this. The above is precisely why they accepted Christ and His righteousness in the first place.

                            We are mysteriously able to veil our pride, hiding it even from ourselves. God is first. I must become less because I am already less. When men have encountered God throughout the Scriptures in his glory they are immediately frightened and deeply humbled. The most righteous man appears impure before the Lord. I have forgotten my utter sinfulness. I am loveless and deeply unlovely. I have corrupted myself. Can anyone else not make this confession? Perhaps it's just me. I must remember my unworthiness before the Lord. Jesus is everything and I am nothing. I am only something or someone when I find myself in him.
                            Yeah we're working on this. We are not perfect. We know. You don't need to fret over this as God Himself is personally committed to sanctifying His children.

                            I will find who I am when I act as who and what I am. I was once told by Mr. Blaisdell to say this prayer when I am in my darkest times:

                            Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.2

                            It helps me to remember my place in the grander scheme of things. I am a creature, a man. Not just a man, but a sinful man. God owes me nothing. God is good, I am not. I am a sinner in need of salvation. This need never changes. Jesus is the Savior who came to save me from my sins. The Gospel never changes, Jesus never changes. I am in no less of a need of a Savior today than many years before. This never changes. That God should love you or I is absolutely amazing. We are incredibly unlovable, sinful human creatures. This is all so easy to forget. It shouldn't be. Life doesn't just go on. Jesus is Life itself (or rather himself). How is it that we find ourselves bored with these truths?
                            I personally don't get bored with these truths, however, they become a clanging gong if your life is practically empty and going nowhere. These truths don't diminish as you progress in life, but they can get increasingly frustrating if you just sit at home all day and do little else (not saying you do this).

                            If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your [or our] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

                            Have you ever read Augustine's Confessions? Consider many of my reflections to be in that same basic vein (though my mind is certainly no rival to Augustine's). As anti-Augustinian as it would appear I am, it is quite ironic that I should admire this work of his so much. If I could only have one work outside the Scriptures available to me at my bedside as I lay preparing to die, Confessions would be it. (Hopefully I will have a few more books at my disposal though.)
                            Honestly I think the last thing you need at this point is another book. Especially a book about someone else's experiences with God. Try a Godly girlfriend, that might breathe some fresh air into your life.

                            That said, I'm glad to learn you have progressed forward in various aspects of your personal life, Scrawly. Take none of my musings at your expense; they wre not intended to be.
                            Thanks. Life is about growth - spiritually, socially, intellectually, etc.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Scrawly:

                              Where have I indicted believers as "worldly" for having "jobs and bank accounts" as you say? This is all completely out of left field, Scrawly. Also, I would be interested to know where you derive the notion that I am "obsessing over other people's sin". This too is bogus. If there is any indictment I have made against anyone on this thread it is myself. It seems you have greatly misconstrued my posts here.

                              It appears as though you have have cast my words in a very dim light. The opening post was not directed to anyone specifically here on T-Web or intended to serve as a sermon of sorts where I "preach to the choir". In my response to you I was continuing in the same basic vein as in the opening post. It should have been clear that I was not soliciting anyone for advice (as perhaps in the past). The title of this thread serves to clarify this. The last time we have had any personal communication was in 2012. You seem to be making a lot of assumptions (or insinuations, if you prefer) as to where I am presently in my walk (of which you are quite ignorant). It is not my supposition that I am better or more "pious" than anyone here. I get the sense throughout your two messages here that you are speaking condescendingly. If so, I really do not appreciate it. Perhaps such was not your intention, but this is how your various statements on this thread appear to me.

                              Lastly, I did not appreciate your quick dismissal of Scripture. The human tendency is to have one's mind set on this world first and foremost. As believers, God then can quickly become our add-on to carry along with us in order to live our best lives now. I understand that we do live in this world and God has not called us all to be ascetics. The simple idea I am stressing is that the present age will pass and the one to come will endure forever. I know you know this. It is simply a matter of priorities that I am attempting to stress in accordance with the Scriptures. After you have faced extensive persecution for being a servant of Christ and spent time in prison as an apostle of God (as in the case of Paul), I would be interested to see if you would respond in such a flippant manner to the words we read in Philippians 3:17-21 as you did above. I doubt you would. Quite apart from whether you and I get on well, have some reverence in your treatment of the Word of God. That is all I ask.
                              Last edited by The Remonstrant; 03-23-2014, 03:20 AM.
                              For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

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