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11.29.2005

The heart of it all



You can't reach into the ground and pull wheat up by your own effort. You have to plow and plant the seed. Then it grows (or it doesn't) by God's will. The difference between the wheat and the seed is the difference between levels of being.

The Word of God is not just a 'book'. It is living language. It is 'seed'. You can't pull understanding out of it any more than you can reach into the Earth and pull wheat up. You have to plow and plant the seed in you, and it has to grow. It will only become increased level of being and understanding - if it does - in time by God's will.

This is why having the goal to read the Bible humbly, complete, once, three times, seven times is so powerful and simple and effective a goal and so much gets to the heart of everything.

All the talk, talk, talk, day in, day out, and all the reading - however diligent or desultory - of books written by man, no matter how worthwhile and vetted by time means nothing regarding real awakening and development without this effort to get the Word of God written in your heart.

In these complete readings you have to see the Bible as an influence that is above you. If you approach it as an influence your intellect has surveyed and measured and weighed and put in its place your approach and your effort will be vain.

The Bible is not a 'book' like other books. It is living language. It contains the Holy Spirit and is the actual Word of God. It meets you where you meet it. What it gives is not the same for everybody. The subject here is not doctrine. Foundational, on-the-mark doctrine exists and can be found. With the Word of God, though, there is depth and there are heights in the very basics that are revealed to understanding by degree and only by the result of zealous, humble effort to engage the Word of God as an influence that is above you.

Talk and opinion and complaints and compliments for this that and the other thing made all the day long and then tomorrow again and then tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow is all meaningless, vain activity and noise. When you die what you'll need is the living Word of God in your heart, in your essence, in your soul. You'll need things you can only acquire in this life by diligent plowing and planting and waiting on the Lord. Doing the most needed, most serious things now that have effect in time...

9 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

I've seen Catholics sneer at your recommendations about reading the Bible complete. It's worth mentioning to them that it's something they can find recommended by their own doctors and called "lectio continua." The standard recommendation is that you do it once a year, at least.

Fr. Louis Bouyer says, "This way of reading might be called the foundation on which all the rest is built up. The Word of God, as the Bible gives it to us, is really a whole world. . . . But this world of the Bible demands above all and beyond all that we immerse ourselves and become absorbed therein. When we have done this, and done it perseveringly, this world begins to explain itself, to a great extent at least. . . . For we must be attuned to the Bible to hear therein the Word of God as it wishes us to hear it. And this profound accord can only be the effect of long and complete familiarity."

Introduction to Spirituality, Louis Bouyer, pp. 47-48.

I don't offer this to show anything about Catholicism, but it's worth having to show up the ignorance of those Catholics who laugh at your insistence on complete readings.

November 29, 2005 at 4:26 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Mr. Bouyer's on solid ground on that. When, though, he attempts to blame the Reformation for the existence of liberal, non-Bible-believing Protestants he is on thin ground. (I don't mean to write a default critical response, but Mr. Bouyer's name is often invoked by neo-orthodox and similar type Protestants to further their own agenda which is not pure, bold biblical doctrine, and is not the Faith.

But once anybody starts valuing the reading of the Word of God in a serious, complete way you begin to potentially transcend the doctrinal disputes if not the cultural ones. You don't transcend biblical doctrine, but when you begin to engage the Bible seriously you enter territory where regeneration is effected, and that gives one the Spirit of Truth and ability to see Truth, so you'll leave the fear of man and the camp of darkness of your own volition...

November 29, 2005 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

You once put up a comment saying that you had tried to have conversations with many of your colleagues and were just met with silence, with no response at all. It's occurred to me several times since then, and it occurs to me now, tho think, Poor them! They don't know what they're missing.

Thanks again.

(Now we'll get the inevitable Jim Scott "anonymous" admonition about "talking to ourselves." There's someone who REALLY needs a friend. God bless him.)

November 29, 2005 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Thank you, Jeff. I have a vibe that scares them. So they sit back and hold back and hold me to a ridiculous moralising (and dishonest) standard (dishonest because it's designed solely for me and not anybody else) and once I step over their ridiculous, Village of Morality line then they make their move; so often the VERY FIRST words one of them would speak to me was some bizarre accusation or expression of impatience or contempt (and I mean before even any initial 'hello'). They are scared rabbits. They fear man. They've yet to separate from the world in a real way. Even when they make a show of male bluster their whipped boy status just becomes highlighted despite themselves.

They've never known anybody or run into anybody who is on-the-mark doctrinally and who also is truly separated from the world and fully on the Way. They sense there is knowledge and understanding and influences they have never encountered, and they're right.

To connect with it is rare... But you got to come back from the Village of Morality detour to even have the potential... That's what I'm currently doing for them. I'm convicting them in their current detoured, stumblingblocked status...

November 29, 2005 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Very frustrating. Don't you find at least a FEW people who agree with you? It seems to me that I met some Reformed folks at college years ago who had your approach, though they were perhaps not challenging in all the ways you are.

BTW, I listened to Karajan's recording of Bruckner's Te Deum the other day and thought of you!

November 29, 2005 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

In other environments I find that the ones that do see something in the practical level have no problem making themselves known, but in this mainstream, churchianity environment the fear of man is so strong and coercive that all one can really do is just influence 'once removed' (i.e. influence from a position of being once removed from them).

So, I'm not frustrated regarding this environment. I understand it. The ability they have and diligence they exercise in protecting themselves via deleting and banning and collectively shunning can be frustrating, but even that can be gotten around...

The thing is, though, if there's no self-interest in it for me it ends. I mean, I initially came here to consolidate some things such as finding language for the practical level from the Bible itself. It's not evangelism when you are begging or pleading with people to see the truth. Evangelism is giving people the truth boldly and letting God do the rest...

On the subject of choral works, I just heard a movement from John Rutter's Requiem and was intrigued...

November 30, 2005 at 3:49 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Do you mean other internet environments or some other kind of environment?

The reason why I ask is, after you said the other day that perhaps I just like to watch the Protestant infighting, I thought to myself how interesting it would be to see you do your thing in a RECEPTIVE environment. Is that possible? I mean, is there a place where you talk to LIKE-MINDED people on the net? Or have you participated in a debate or conference or something with people who agreed with you on basics?

John Rutter's Christmas Carols I've appreciated for years, but I haven't heard much of his original stuff. The little I've heard struck me as a bit derivative, with a lot of kind of soft, mildly chromatic harmonies and stuff. A little Franckian, but without all the modulations. But I always like to be wrong about these things--it just means more music I can enjoy! So, if the Requiem comes my way, I'll give it a listen.

It'll be interesting to see if the sweet-tempered "anonymous" comments return in force after the the author has been outed! He didn't appreciate that, I can tell you... Hell hath no fury like an anonymous commenter uncovered! He'd "looked into" the matter, you see, and "discovered" that we were in fact the same person, using some kind of remote access or something. And it was a "kindness" to me to say that we were the same person, because--get this!--it "might even be true." Isn't that great? ;-)

Well, whatever else you may say about our friendly exchanges, they at least have this to be said for them: They drive some annoying people crazy!

November 30, 2005 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

When I went through a stage of learning classical music I basically cut it off at post WWII works (though Shostakovich kind of bleeds over into the post-WWII era). Just being practical I wasn't looking to be up on all the new composers and works. That's kind of a different thing than to get the great works down. I have some new works, but I don't have understanding of them in the sense of seeing them in context of their times and styles and all that. Arvo Part was recommended to me by someone, so I bought some of his works. When I was really going through the process of learning and getting real understanding of classical music I would have to hear everything in the best recordings and just do whatever it took to get the entire field into understanding. Doing that with modern composers is a really completely different endeavor. So, when I mention a John Rutter I do it knowing really nothing about him or his work (in his case I know absolute zero, other than hearing yesterday a movement from his Requiem, a setting of the 23th Psalm)... For what you usually get on classical music radio "Coming up next we have a piece from Telemann..." (nothing against Telemann) it stood out as more than the usual listenable...

November 30, 2005 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Yes, there's another environment, and yes it was made up of a different level of the Faith, so to speak (the practical level), but it's dissolved now. People at that level are rare. Not even all of them want to be on the internet talking about it. I use to have sites where there'd be regulars who would contribute publically, then privately I'd have sometimes even more correspondents via email who just didn't want to be public. There's alot of eye-brow raising that I'm currently in this current realm (and no surprise I'm not exactly accepted). The fact is Calvinism is useful to people at the practical level because Reformed Theology says what the Bible says and it can be used as a solid standard; but not only that, Calvinism - and I will use the Puritans as the best example - promotes the practical level of the faith. Eventually people who can 'see' biblical truth and doctrine can also see that it is the practical level of the Faith that is the necessary goal; and that effort is required. Calvinism also, because it is purely biblical, elucidates the 'new thinking' and hard truths of the Word of God, often despite Reformed theologians, classic and modern and amateur, and when you've been involved in on-the-mark practical teaching in other areas you can 'see' what Calvinism is teaching. You can see it better and with more understanding than the mainstream who self-identify as Calvinist can see it, because you have a perspective they don't have. It's just all about finding the 'on-the-mark' teaching (I use the terms 'on-the-mark' and 'off-the-mark' alot), and Calvinism is the most on-the-mark teaching at the mainstream level for biblical doctrine (which is just to say it is the 'purest' theology, or, the most biblical, or, the most in the category of 'what the Bible actually says')...

November 30, 2005 at 8:18 AM  

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