The Eclectic Life: Love, Law and Liberty

Power & Gratitude

Love, law and liberty; what is it they have in common, what do they speak to, what are they informing?  The issue they are exploring I believe is power.  This is not the power of nature but the power of the individual human and the power of a collection of humans and the relationships of those powers.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and of a sound mind.”¹  Power is not a bad thing, if is seen as a gift and as existing in relationship to love, law and liberty.  I have heard that Martin Luther was to have said, “All morality is gratitude.”  If that is true, then seeing power as a gift brings along the morality to use it wisely.  Power is not the ultimate end of all things to posses, neither is it to be shunned or ignored.  This is especially true of the nature of power as created by God.  A part of this nature can be seen in the meaning of the Greek work use in the Scripture quoted.  One definition given is, “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.”²  This is not power grasped after as though we are missing something but an “inherent” power.  This is a power already possessed by humans but mostly not understood or appreciated but instead misused or  even given away.

The spirit of the power given to us is the same spirit of power as that which exists among the Trinity,  a “spirit of power, love and of a sound mind.”  The most exalted name revealed by the Old Testament about the Trinity is the Tetragrammaton, “YHWH” meaning “I will be who I will be.”  The power to be, the freedom to be who I am, is this not the power we all look for?  But what if what we need is not power but an identity which results in possessing a power to be and to live.  Then the highest possession would be our identity and not power.  And what if we are given an identity, and we do not have to seek, find or create an identity, then we could be grateful and use power appropriately.

 

1  2 Timothy 1:7

2  Blueletterbible.com

In My Opinion….

Opinions are curious things.   Some are unchallengeable and really are very personal and provide for the variability and flavor of  life.  Other opinions can get you killed. 

I am of the opinion hats are a great thing.  They keep my head cool or warm depending on the season, provide shade for my eyes so I do not have to be concerned with sunglasses and I think I look good in them.  I have winter and summer hats, brown and black hats and I just bought my first Tilly hat for hiking.  I think part of my enjoyment of hats is that I when was growing up my Grandfather wore hats and I think he looked good in them.

But not everyone likes hats and that is fine.

I am of the opinion that beets are one of the worst tasting foods that have ever existed.   I try them about every 10 years and they still taste bad.  I learned to love tomatoes in my 20’s but I doubt I will ever learn to like beets.

Others love beets and that is fine.

I was of the opinion that I was self-sufficient, had to figure everything out myself and then needed to try to control others so things went my way.  I was isolated, frustrated, had migraine headaches and did not enjoy life.

Others had a different opinions and they seemed to enjoy life better.

Opinions about that which is within my power to enjoy or shun can have a great variety to them, but opinions which involve engaging other people seem to have a narrower latitude to them. 

Many of the opinions I had about relationships were not producing much contentment in life and I had a choice.  I could continue on the path I was taking or I could seek other options, other opinions. 

“He who answers before listening – that is his folly and shame.”¹

What are we being invited to listen to before answering, before forming opinions or plans of actions?  I would put forth that we are being invited to consider evidence.  We are asked to listen for information which would supply evidence for the validity of positions and opinions. 

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.²

The evidence is that corn seeds produce corn plants. This has always been the case and always will be.   How many times in life have I done the equivalent of planting beans but expecting to get corn.  Evidence is the tool that allows the discovery of liberty, how life functions and to produce personal prosperity.  I am free to plant corn, beans, tomatoes, apples, roses, petunias, sunflowers, grapes or another number of other seeds and plants to any garden I want.   But I am not free to have corn seeds produce tomatoes or grape vines to produce apples.  That is the evidence of how plants grow and can have the opinion that I can plant apples and get almonds but this is just not going to happen. 

Evidence gives us liberty to function with how reality works so there can be some measure of fulfillment in our lives.  Somethings in life our not in our power to control but there are other things which are.  Evidence can decrease the guess-work in life, the futility of having to try everything myself to find out what works and does not work.

“… He who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.”³  Opinion are great to have and share, lets just check them out with the evidence of life. 

1 Proverbs 18:13

2 Galatians 6:7

3 Proverbs 11:18

The Meaning of Being Human: Transient

The third view of humanity which has spread throughout the world sees the human condition as a temporary condition and experience on the way to something else.

There are several variations on this theme.  Some have no explanation for the beginning of humanity and say such a question is not important.  Other say we had a previous existence either in this world or another reality and will return again with a different experience in this life or return to our original reality. The purpose of all this is to learn, experience, evaluate the human condition and carry this with us onto the next phase of life. 

The first challenge to this model for me is that like the accident it says that being human is not that important.   The message appears to be that who I am is not really important but what I need or have are just experiences.  Being is not important just experiences.  This idea of placing experience over identity seems to mirror the drive behind addictions.  In addictions who I am is not important but what my choice of “hit” or “high” is to get the experience I desire.   I would say that we are designed to experience life and enjoy it but I have found that I need an identity to navigate my experiences.

I think that this emphasis on experience over identity come from our human desire to be able to go back and correct our mistakes.   If we just had known what we now know in the past, we would have made better choices in our actions and life would therefore be better.  “After he (God) drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life”¹  The way to the tree of life, to life itself is not in the past but the present and future.  We cannot go back but only forward.  The past  does have a part to play but the answer is not there. 

Wanting  to escape the human experience is very old going back to not just Eastern religions but to the Greeks.  The human body and therefore experience has been something to escape to be able to enter into something much better. 

“…we wait eagerly for … the redemption of our bodies.”²  There is a problem with my body and human experience but the solution is not an escape but a restoration, a redemption and a return to my original condition in the future.  Humans are of great value and worthy of being considered significant.  This is the story of the Scriptures.

1 Genesis 3:24

2 Romans 8:23