Sunday, July 12, 2009

The State of Man.

Hi Brethen! I hope we've all started the week on an excellent note and enjoying life! Let me attempt to oil the wheels of the personality of Jesus and what he offers.I believe the point of this discourse is not to put some idea or someone down and elevate another just for the sake of arguing and holding onto our own dogmas. But I think the whole point is we are all trying to arrive at the Truth and live in conformity with that Truth in our lives. So, if Emerson’s ideas, Transcendentalism and New Thought , were all True, then it follows that certainly everyone should realise and live in conformity with these truths and our world will be a much better place.

But I believe that some how Emerson’s life in total did not reflect or was not in consonance with the ideas he espoused. True, he was a literary genius. No one can take that from him, he is surely one of the finest in the literary and philosophical landscape. And I will not diminish any of his achievements and laurels. But it would appear that some of ideas were merely ideas, just thoughts and wishes in the mind of how he wanted life and the world to be but in reality, empirically, he could not reconcile his ideas with his experience. I think that was the point Holmes made when he said,"Emerson is afraid to trust himself in society much, on account of the failure of his memory and the great difficulty he finds in getting the words he wants. It is painful to witness his embarrassment at times".

The other issue is that we cannot view Jesus as a man who lived a life based, in part, on his belief in the inner strength of man, because He did not say that. He was either a liar when he said that he was with God in the beginning and he preexisted before his incarnation, or He was actually telling the Truth. He said, ‘father glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world began’, ‘before Abraham, I am’, ‘No one has seen the father except the one who came from heaven’. Cleary Jesus did not regard himself as just human but he existed and he was he was with God before the world began. And the bible makes it clear that He was God incarnate in a human body. Perhaps, he could afford to say I and the Father are one, and still be true, although he was scared because, he also said, I do nothing of my own accord, the words I speak are from my Father, and what I see my father do is what I do. Eventually He did rise up from death to show that He and the Father really are one.

The mystery of Jesus is that He was fully man and fully God. But this is a vast theological discourse that I wouldn’t want to start delving into here. But simply, my submission is we cannot view Jesus as a man like us who attained super consciousness and God-consciousness because he did not regard himself like that. He said he was God. The scriptures even say he was virgin born, conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was either a deceiver, liar and delusional (which was what the jews thought of him) or it is actually True that the guy was not merely Human.

I write my next comments with some restraint and hesitation because I am sure we are on fundamentally on the same page but for the sake of someone else who might be reading these comments and reading Emerson, new thoughts, transcendentalism, etc, and who might take those ideas out of context and believe that He himself is God and the measure of all things! I will proceed cautiously.It is true that we need proper confidence in self and believe in ourselves and that nothing is impossible, once we put our minds to it, and bring out the best in us. Some people are simply born geniuses, others attain it through growth. This is all very noble. Let’s not limit the potential of the human soul for growth and the attainment of great feats. But that is not the entire Truth, because, on the other side of the prism is, “Nothing is impossible for God”, “this is impossible for man but with God, all things are possible”. We are able to achieve the impossible not merely because there is a great inner strength in us but because God produces that inner strength in us and in union with Him, all things become impossible for us.

I’m sure we will all agree that not all ideas are Truth. And sometimes, some ideas are good and promise so much and excite the intellect, but in the end they fail to correspond to reality and truth and are found to be “just good ideas”. The point is the Balance of Truth. We need not limit one truth in order to elevate another truth. To get the big picture and the whole truth, it is often better to have all sides of the prism of truth in full glare, else if we focus on only one side, we become kind of half-baked and miss out on the greater truth.Another side of the prism of truth is with all the stamina we can put in ‘self’, there is the truth of the finitude of mankind. No matter how much of a genius or great, anybody is, he is still finite and have limits. As someone said, “The best of men are at best still men”. Truly, Asaph recognizes that we are gods, and Jesus even lent credence to it by quoting it to the jews, “is it not written in your scriptures that ye are gods”. But this truth only makes sense and shines brighter when it is put in the context of the other truths, that “God is infinite”, humans are mortal, humans have limits, “the heart of a man is desperately wicked”, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”, “In him we have life”, “now are we sons of God”, “We are the light of the world”.

Throughout the ages, people have been deluded into believing that they were the measure of all things, and that they were the masters of their own destinies, only to find out much later in life after their labors were done that they had been running in vain and living on half truths.
Paul said in my weakness then I am strong, because His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Now that was a man who recognized his own limitations and accepted the grace of God and the strength of God working in his life for what it was, not something he had achieved by putting stamina in his own self.As Isaac Newton admitted, after all his achievements in life, that when he thinks of what he knows compared with the vast knowledge that is out there to be known, he feels like he was just paddling on the shores of the great ocean of knowledge.

The conclusion of my point is this, God is God, and man is man. We find our greatness and being only in Him. Outside of God, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away”(1 Peter 1:24)… “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more” (Psalm 103:15). So let’s endeavor to put all truths in perspective.
Let’s all have a fruitful week, Enjoy our moments and enjoy the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why I Am the Way I Am?

Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are? What is it that stirs us to help when we see the elderly woman struggling to get across the street? On the other hand, what can explain the dark places of the mind where thoughts arise such that we wouldn't dare voice aloud?

For many, sin or as Nyanteh may call it 'bad acts' is a ridiculously ancient concept; the fallen nature of mankind, a snobbish notion used by the church to keep its doors open for business. But can we deny that there is a certain duality within our nature? As Winston Churchill once said, "We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glow worm." On the one hand, we seek what is noble, on the other, we struggle with what we know is not. Bravery, compassion, and generosity are traits universally valued. And yet, greed, lust, and pride linger regardless of religion, culture, or worldview. How do we explain this?

The great 17th century philosopher-scientist Blaise Pascal saw an immensurable need for man to understand his nature; to ask ourselves the question, "Why am I the way I am?" And he offered pointed words for those standing content with the inconsistent philosophy that man is the measure of all things. Says Pascal: "It is in vain, oh men, that you seek within yourselves the cure for all your miseries. All your insight has led to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you discover the true and the good. The philosophers promised them to you, but they were not able to keep that promise. They do not know what your nature is. How should they have provided you with a cure for ills which they have not even understood? Your principle maladies are pride, which cuts you off from God, and sensuality, which binds you to the earth."

It is in vain that we seek within ourselves a cure. No matter how good a person is, no matter how noble and courageous and generous we might become, we are aware that there is a standard we haven't yet reached, and in fact, cannot reach. Though we seek and strive for glory, we are still aware that we have somehow missed the mark. In the Gospels we learn that John the Baptist was called greater than the earlier prophets, because he proclaimed a fuller message. And yet, his testimony in a few words expressed what we know intuitively of our own lives, "I am not the Christ," said John. I am not the standard, but I know the One who is. To write the concept of sin out of our lives is to write away our ability to know who we are, to understand why I am the way I am, and to know personally the One who comes to set us free.

Hobart Mowrer,a renowned professor of psychology, one time president of the American Psychological Association, once made a statement . He observed, "For several decades we psychologists looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and acclaimed our liberation from it as epoch making. But at length we have discovered that to be free in this sense, that is, to have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful, is to court the danger of also becoming lost… In becoming amoral, ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity, and with neurotics, themselves, we find ourselves asking, "Who am I, what is my deepest destiny, what does living mean?"

John the Baptist pointed the crowds to the One who not only fulfilled all of Scripture, but came to tell us what living means. In the fullness of time, in a real moment of history, Christ came down to be with us, One greater than Moses, One greater than your sin and mine. And until,we come to this truth,we'll continue as the group Illdisposed wrote "I Believe in Me".