Spiritual Mathematical Knot

Spiritual Mathematical Knot

A conversation on Facebook helped me appreciate the ultimate spiritual mathematical knot – drawing closer to God. Baha'i RingstoneResponding to a Baha’i quote on the challenges inherent in searching for God a friend posted this tongue-in-cheek response “So. Pretty easy overall.” A mathematical formula to describe how easy it might be came to me in a flash. The difficulty we have in finding and drawing near to God equals our actual distance from God divided by how close we think we are. Let’s unpack this spiritual mathematical knot.

Thinking we have God in our back pocket creates a mathematical impossibility. You can’t divide by zero. This is the challenge facing those who, like I once did, think they are comparatively closer to God than others. 

A group I once belonged to was über-obedient. We kept many Torah Commandments, like the Sabbath, Holy days, and food laws. By having both the law and the testimony of Christ we believed we were closer to God than anyone else on earth. In some ways, maybe we were. We took God at His Word and organized every aspect of our life around obeying, following and worshiping Him.

impossible divideAnd yet belief in proximity to God kept us from drawing any closer. My personal battle with this is described in painful personal detail across the pages of the first two books of my Trilogy.  The People of the Sign describes my involvement with the Worldwide Church of God and its 1995 implosion. That devastating fail was underscored by many members blaming the other side instead of becoming introspective. Being a victim of divorce and kidnapping helped me understand the two sides. Detachment helped me realize I was nowhere near as close to God as I had thought, opening up the “valley of search” described by the Baha’i quote that led to this blog.

Spiritual Proximity Sensor 2

My personal search around the world is described in The Hardness of the Heart. How we view and treat our fellow man is directly related to how open our heart is to God. Self-sufficiency, judgmental attitudes and the belief that we already have enough of God in our lives creates an impassible divide between us and God.

There are many ways to conclude we are as close to God as possible, which becomes self-fulfilling. How close are you to God?Fear of turning to God due to feelings of guilt and inadequacy are but mirror images of this arrogance. They are also expressions of a focus on ourselves. These too are fetters of ego that create distance.

Yet anyone who thinks they are far away from God can easily draw nearer just by deciding to. Recognizing the distance allows us to instantly decrease it. Think of how Christ welcomed and embraced sinners, while condemning the Pharisees. Apparently such spiritual equations function more like quantum mechanics than classical physics.

How close are you to God?This makes searching for God  sound easier than it is, of course. But on the other hand, we usually make it harder than it is. And I think that was the point of my friend’s cheeky, and well-timed response to my Facebook post. Thank God for friends who help us untie spiritual mathematical knots. Or tie them, as the case may be.

Are you as close to God as you want to be? Or knot? John 13:35 says everyone can know who follows Christ by a simple test. Do you know what it is?
Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

December 10 is the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the UN General Assembly. The horror of WWII is credited for inspiring, if you will, this first ever global expression of inherent personal rights. It came in the wake of the declaration of a Jewish State seven months earlier.

In this light, reactions to the planet’s only Jewish entity’s efforts to defend itself from existential threats are shocking. Violent attacks have been carried out against it, relentlessly, since its birth on May 15, 1948.

Universal Declaration of Human RightsRather than support the citizens of Israel’s democracy, world opinion denies equal access to the Human Rights which their suffering helped inspire. The most tragic, and ironic aspect of this, in this writer’s opinion, is that even inside the UN Human Rights Council the planet’s sole Jewish State is singled out for persecution.

In selecting a Virtues card to frame this blog, Mercy came up.  How appropriate!  But since that card was just used for Syrian refugees I drew again – and was presented with a more challenging lens.  Contentment – “A trusting that life provides us what we need, when we need it.”

Here goes… Israel’s Jews can enjoy contentment given what they have, and have achieved.  Many, including this writer, believe events began in 1844 to fulfill the prophetic sequences which were initiated thousands of years ago.  This view holds that God is the force behind an in-gathering that began prior to and increased in momentum after WWII.  The selection of the Real Estate in Palestine for a modern Israel was predestined as were all the challenges inherent in that choice.

Though the entire planet be aligned against it, at this time, the Jews can be content with the messages in their Holy Writings – that God will infuse with eventual success all global efforts, including those of Israel, toward beating swords into plowshares and transforming deserts into rose-gardens.  However imperfect those efforts may be.

The verses below proclaim hope for the future. Our potential for contentment is great, when we trust in God to fulfill His promises.

Swords into PloughsharesIsaiah 2:1-4 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord‘s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Israeli desert blossomIsaiah 35:1-4 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.  Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

Great contentment comes from trusting in the promise of a better future, as foretold by the Jewish Prophet Isaiah.  Shalom to you all.

Lamb lies down with the lion and the little child leading them

Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.