Question

Deuteronomy 7:23
“But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.”

1 Corinthians 14:33
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace”

In my reading, it sounds like God is a God of peace…but only to those who are faithful.  Or that God’s intrinsic character is one marked by peace, but that maybe the peace he gives to man is contingent on man’s faithfulness.  So then if I am confused or not at peace it’s because I am unfaithful?

The thing is…I feel like I’m really trying to understand him, but it seems the more I pursue knowledge and wisdom and seek to understand him the more I uncover the paradoxical, and the more I recognize how much I don’t know and possibly could never hope to know of infinite things via a finite mind.  Sure I can and do eventually come to understand some things, but in that journey, usually, when I cut off the head of one it becomes two and I am ultimately more confused than when I started.  Sometimes the only thing I really feel like I’m solidifying is that confusion is necessarily a part of the, or my, christian experience.  It’s commonly said that ignorance is bliss, and even Socrates affirms: the more you know the more you don’t know.  So is my confusion really wholly a result of being unfaithful, self-centered, or legalistic in my pursuit of truth?  Or is an increasing level of intellectual vexation a natural byproduct of acquiring knowledge and understanding?  Is it really the case, if pressing on to know our God is considered faithful and confusion is tied to lack of faith, that the more faithful I seek to be, the more unfaithful I seem to become?  Perhaps…confusion, at least as it pertains to 1 Cor 14:33, can be seen more as chaos or an uncomfortably chaotic life, cognitively or otherwise.  Maybe, we can in fact embrace confusion, knowing that though we feel inadequate or incapable of intentionally and correctly applying some seemingly encrypted spiritual principles to everyday decision making, at the end of the day God is sovereign and we can have faith that God will take care of us regardless, which produces a peace that surpasses understanding.  But even this, even a marriage of peace and confusion, seems to contradict their mutual exclusivity in the statement “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

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Christian Boundaries?

1 John 4:10
“This is how we know love: that He sent his son as a sacrifice.”

Philipians 2:5-8
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus […] he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant […] he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!”

The idea of maintaining healthy “boundaries” (as popularized in the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud) while embracing a Christian worldview based in sacrificial love, has always seemed highly paradoxical to me.

I can understand not sacrificing for someone if it’s in their best interest, as is commonly the case in dealing with addictive behavior for example, but I would classify that as tough love more so than boundaries.  Maybe I’m just getting too caught up in the semantics, but I feel like boundaries has a somewhat self serving connotation as it considers relationships from the point of view of protecting one’s own self, which seems to conflict with humility and capitulation to the point of “death, even death on a cross”.

 

Question

So, I was having a conversation with my coworker today about the famous verse-

Revelation 3:16
“Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

What does lukewarm mean?  Is it really referring to a half-hearted christian? Can anyone really be whole-hearted or perfectly mature? If possibly by his death we are made whole-hearted then can there even be lukewarm? And what about balance?  To desire change or improvement we must necessarily be discontent to some degree with the current status quo.  To be hot or on fire for Jesus then, it seems we would seek constant and as drastic improvement as possible which would mean we would want to be as discontent as possible with our current state.  Anything less, to me, seems like it would fall within the in-between of hot and cold.  It could be warmer or colder than lukewarm if lukewarm is the center, but it would still reside on the spectrum and not at one of the polar ends (“neither hot nor cold”).  I may just be splitting hairs here now but hopefully you get my gist: basically, to be considered hot, it would seem one would need to embrace an unbalanced degree of discontentment, and to me that seems unhealthy.  Definition aside, it also seems like it would be better to at least affirm the Triune God rather than to not acknowledge him at all or be a ‘no-hearted’ or ‘less-than-lukewarm-hearted’ christian.  Anyway, just trying to think this one through cause it doesn’t jive well with my experiential understanding, and has therefore always been hard to apply to practical everyday life.

Question

I was reading in one of my seminary books today and came across an interesting passage.

On a pragmatic level how is this different than postmodernism?…

“[logic/philosophy] have shown man incapable in himself of arriving at absolute truth. For example, a scientist might study a rock an entire lifetime, making deductions about the nature of that rock. Yet another person with a casual glance might see something about that rock which the scientist never perceived and which shifts the entire paradigm about the nature of the rock. Finite minds cannot absolutely prove truth. So our points are the following. First, absolute truth is innate to God and the objective universe he created. Second, finite, fallen human beings in themselves are inadequate to prove or arrive at perfect knowledge (absolute truth) of anything. Third, yet God has created us with innate capacities (although fallen) to understand reality. In the imago dei (in the image of God), we are structured to understand reality not exhaustively but sufficiently, not infinitely but adequately. As fallen beings, our deviation from truth may be corrected by propositional evidences in both God’s Word and in life.”

Infinite beings will never full understand infinite/absolute truth, so it seems to me on a practical everyday level everyone must embrace a degree of phenomenological relativism.  Which sounds alot like a utilitarian form of postmodernism to me.

Question

Just pondering cause I saw the batman movie last night-

“You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak…How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.”

As a Christian I’m not supposed to fear death.  Furthermore I’m supposed to be content in every situation (Phil 4:12).  Sometimes though I feel like there should be more of a balance. I have faith that God has his reasons, but what’s more motivating- security and contentment or an underlying survival instinct?

Thought

“Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

Luke 5:4-6
“When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. Simon answered and said, Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets. When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break.”

Conclusion:  Maybe sometimes Jesus calls us to be insane?

Question

Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?  If yes then why wouldn’t we all rather be bipolar or alcoholics or hooked on some drug?  Isn’t it the same concept…higher highs and lower lows?  Personally, sometimes I’m tempted to think ignorance is bliss.