Sunday, May 30, 2010

Unclear ramblings... don't read

It seems it's been a while since I've really written about a subject with the intention of finding an answer. I don't just mean posted on this blog, but actually taken the time to really think over and meditate on a subject. I've thought about things, true, but I just haven't really been searching for answers. I think I've just been enjoying the process of thought. Certain philosophies have crept into my mind unawares, and I suppose it's partially because of those philosophies that I haven't really taken the time needed to gain answers. These philosophies would include the 'don't worry about the answer, the enjoyment comes from the questions,' and 'you've always got time to figure these things out, just enjoy your day today.'
What a rude awakening I've received lately. It seems like God has finally allowed the dam to burst; the dam that allowed me to store questions away for 'further observation.' Issues that I am incapable of giving adequate, Scriptural (for every good answer surely must be rooted in the Scriptures) answers to complicated questions. A friend of mine has challenged me on the idea of having answers to questions. He thinks life is such that we just kind of depend on God during the period that we go through trials, and we learn both the questions and the answers during that time. I grew so uncomfortable when he was trying to explain this to me, but I couldn't adequately support my belief that we need to be rooted in God's Word (knowing what God has to say in His Word about issues) before the situation arises. I'm reading Psalm 119 right now. I'm absolutely amazed at how the Psalmist approaches the Word of God in nearly every verse! At one point he says that his soul is 'crushed with longing after (the Word of God) at all times.'
I realize what someone may say to this. Someone might well say, 'you're using a circular argument.' This may seem to be true on the surface, but the argument runs much deeper than this. Let me put forward the argument like this:
1) I believe that Christ is who He said He is on the basis of the resurrection.
2) I received the news of His resurrection from the Scriptures.
3) The same Scriptures which tell me of His resurrection tell me of His life.
4) Jesus is shown to have a high view of the Word of God, and tells me His Word is true.

5) I believe the Word of God is true.

6) I believe what the Word of God says about itself.

I guess that, in a nutshell is why I believe the Word of God to be so important. The reason isn't because the Bible tells me so (although, in a way, yes it is), but rather that Jesus proved His claims by rising from the dead.

This was not supposed to be what this blog was about, though. The real thing I wanted to write about was the idea of compartmentalization. I've been told recently by a friend of mine that 'Christians tend to compartmentalize life,' and that this is a bad thing. The idea really resonated with me, but not in a good way. Of course I didn't have an answer, nor did I even try to engage the idea at the moment, I just let it pass away into the air. But I've been thinking about it. The reason I've been thinking about it is because I do compartmentalize life. I put ideas into categories. I filter comments and remarks people make through the appropriate compartments that they touch upon. It's what I do. Is it bad?

Thinking about it, I've got to say no, it isn't bad. It's actually helpful to me. The reason I compartmentalize ideas is not because I want splinter life into different categories and divide life into separate, unconnected areas. The reason I compartmentalize is because it helps me understand the whole. I'm not infinite. God is. He surely does not view truth and life in propositional statements or ideas. I do. I must. I must because I'm not infinite and have no hope of ever seeing truth like that. Let me give an illustration. Take a watch. A watch has distinct parts to it, all of which contribute to make a watch. If one of those parts isn't working properly, the whole watch doesn't work properly. This is true of any kind of machine or system. The parts in and of themselves are separate entities which are composed of certain elements of their own. They are distinct, but they are all connected. Life and ideas to me seem a lot like that. I separate thoughts into categories, and I seek to know what the Bible says about a certain topic, not because I only want to know about that topic or idea, but because I want my life to run more smoothly, to be more in line with what God has designed. I need to know the parts in order to have a complete, working whole. That's why it's important for me to think about subjects, and then once understand what God has spoken about a particular subject, to see how it fits with the whole of His message.

Anyways, the conclusion of all of this is that I need to begin taking the questions I encounter and looking for the answers. I need to be diligent to find the answers, so that I can live my life adequately in the truth of God. I'm sorry to any of you who didn't heed the warning of the title of this blog. I really just wanted to throw some not-well-thought-through notions on paper (or screen) as a reminder for myself later of the importance of thinking through issues to find answers.


Tim Whitson said...

I would say that I am at the other end of the spectrum on this one. That is, I feel that I have compartmentalized so much to the point that I have created disconnects in who I related to God. In my compartmentalization I have moved to a situation where I over and under emphasize different attributes of His person; E.g. An over emphasis on his grace and mercy and and under emphasis on His holiness and hatred of sin. I am on a journey in thought and practice that is trying to take the individual "parts" and see God as the person He is as a whole.

As an engineer I often have to understand the overall system as well as what a certain input will produce a certain outcome. However, I often must also understand the specifics of the components that make up the system to properly understand how the integrate with each other and how they impact each other. If I were to focus too much on the individual components I miss important integrations and impact issues on the system as a whole. It is a careful balance. I am starting to think this is key to a proper real relationship with God. We must learn why He says what He says and does what He does through the word. We must seek the answers to questions in order to live right. My failure has been not seeking those answers in light of who He is as a whole. Eg How is holiness and grace/mercy work together. I don't believe any personality (any person of the triune God or human) is compartmentalized but rather a whole. The attributes we see and experience are mere glimpses through the window or in the mirror of who others are. One thing I've been trying to avoid for years is the whole "spiritual life" vs "non-spiritual life" rhetoric. We have one life that is spiritual both the believer and none believer; whether recognized or not. My career should not void of God's influence etc. I would almost lean to say that rhetoric of "my spiritual life" is heresy. I've written enought

Thanks again for posting!! I love it!

Tim Whitson said...

Here is a link to a post of another blog I follow. The post is a devotional that lends itself to this discussion