10 March 2011

Single Letters, Syllables Uncomposed

Someone once said that knowledge can be threatening to people. If this conjecture has any truth, perhaps it explains why people are threatened by an omniscient God: His knowledge is unbiased truth about everything and everyone.
But let's talk about what we humans can know,  for there is so much to know, learn and do in this great universe--and none of it is without its own value.
Still, it seems every one has been given an additional personal task: that of theology--spiritual training of the mind and heart--seriously.  In this aspect, theology is not a specialized task of a priest, pastor or preacher. No, they are helpful, but they cannot live your life for you, any more than a doctor can give you suggestions on living healthily and diagnosis and prescribe for illnesses. Once you acknowlege what your job is, it's time to take it in hand. At this point sometimes a person will short circuit his learning by making a once-for-all decision. This is making a judgment about your spiritual condition  or state (whether or not it's correct) in a manner that resembles stashing something in a safety deposit box: once there, you don't need to think about it again.
Life has a way of disobeying our desires. If you short circuit your spritual life, you'll find that as your soul-life gets lived out, and it gets expressed in the world around you, and because what you carry inside affects our attitudes, choices, judgments and opinions, it's not long before (if you're honest) that old question of what's your theology comes back, nagging at us. Over and over, life plunges us headlong into our thelogy and holds our heads under it until we either acknowledge it or extinguish it.
Richard Baxter was so excerised about the importance of knowing God, that he bluntly states that we actually see things differently when we see things from God's point of view (rather than our own):
"Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well-managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator: single letters, and syllables uncomposed, are no better than nonsense.
He who overlooks Him who is the 'Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,' and sees not Him in all who is the All of all, then does see nothing at all. All creatures, as such, are broken syllables; they signify nothing as separated from God.” - Richard Baxter