Archives For free will

On A Short Leash…..

January 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

Source: On a Short Leash – QuakerQuaker.

Had occasion to recall a dog that I used to walk. Normally, she was well-behaved and a joy to take to the park. One day, however, this good dog showed a quite different side to her regular disposition. She pulled and pulled and would not stop when I told her to heel. After several attempts at same, I was forced to yank her leash and propel her anxiousness backwards.

Apparently, a dog can forget about the person at the other end of the leash.

Now, what about dog spelled backwards? Do we sometimes forget about God walking along with us in this life? Do we still, as early Quakers cautioned, sometimes race ahead of God’s Spirit? And, do we force God to get rough with us – even to propel us backwards, so we remember what it is to walk the right way through life?

Thanks Clem Gerdlemann for this post on QuakerQuaker. It got me seriously thinking about being on a leash with God on the other end. While I am a strong believer in God having given us free will I also believe that He gives us personal revelations to help guide us through life.  Jerking our chain to bring us back to reality is part of those revelations.

So, I kind of believe, along with Clem that God has us on a leash. I would only differ in the length of the leash. I know when I walk my sixty pound basset hound I for the most part let her have the full fifteen feet of the retractable leash. She can go pretty much wherever she wants. Since bassets “hear and see” with their nose what she smells determines where she goes. Sometimes it is necessary to let her know who is in command, but given her sixty pounds that takes a good effort on my part 🙂

Like bassets we humans don’t often use all our senses when we travel through life. We often get hung up on this or that and it is most often a self-focused this or that. When we forget that Jesus’ command was to love God and to love each other we certainly deserve a jerk backwards. But, I think God’s leash is more than long enough for us to hang ourselves. He is just not in the business of “making” us do what He wants.

The Quaker belief of the “light of God” in all of us is the leash to me.  You might call it a virtual leach if you want. God ingrains in each of us his messages of life but he leaves it up to us to grow that light into a beacon that shows others the way to Him.

God’s Will…

November 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

I live in Indiana which is pretty much a red State.  Senator Lugar, who was our long-time representative in the U.S. Senate was defeated in the primary by Richard Mourdock who proudly announced that he is a loyal Tea Party candidate. His stated view on compromise is when the Democrats finally come to agree with everything Republicans want!  I really haven’t been paying much attention to his campaign but I imagine he is a Christian fundamentalist of one flavor or another.

Here is a quote I just came across :

Mourdock could see both fade after telling a live television audience that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, “that’s something God intended.”

Initially I, like probably many others, was shocked by his statement. God intended the rape and pregnancy to happen??? But then I remembered that there are Christians out there that believe that everything that happens in this world is God’s will. I imagine that Mr. Mourdock is one of those people as are many in his Tea Party group.

They say that everything that happens is God’s will as nothing can happen without God wanting it to happen.  Thankfully there are also many who take a different tack in this area.  They, and I am one of them, say that God gave man free-will and all of the pain and suffering in this world is a result of that action, it is not God’s plan but the consequences of man’s decisions.  To put all of the evil that happens in this world on God’s back is insane to me. I’m sure God mourns these actions more than any of us do. God is love and evil is simply no part of his being.

Although God’s will is betrayed as a somewhat dark character in some of the Old Testament stories/myths Jesus Christ gave us a clear personal definition of what God’s will is in the New Testament. He told us it is God’s will that we love God and love each other. That according to Jesus wraps up the total meaning of God’s will. He wants us to love him; he wants us to treat each others as we want to be treated.

Jesus also gave us clear examples of how to do God’s will. It is to be our brother’s keeper. It is to love God, not fear him. Jesus’s opening words to his ministry gave us exactly what God’s will is for the inhabitants of this world:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  – Luke 4:18

God does not will evil to come to us and he certainly didn’t cause a person to rape another in order to create life. Yes, there is evil in this world in many different degrees and forms but it is not from God.

We Christians seem to like to take ownership of others actions.  If a missionary is killed in South American we say that proves that we are suffering and dying for Jesus Christ. Somehow or another that death gets attached to our individual selves as if we were the ones who died.

We just can’t live vicariously through other. We are each responsible for our own actions. The only exception to that is Christ being a redeeming sacrifice for all of us before God that is memorialized today.  As I have mentioned in the past I don’t really understand that idea but Jesus made it clear that that was one of the reasons he came to earth. I will take him at his word on that and mourn his crucifixion in my place and, of course, I will celebrate his resurrection on Sunday.

Just because some die in a foreign country trying to promote Christianity does not mean that we are likewise sacrificing for Christ.  We must all take up our individual crosses in the name of Jesus. There is certainly an enormous amount of work that needs to be done in this word in His name. He certainly gave us a multitude of possibilities and almost all of them revolve around being our brother’s keeper and loving even our enemies.  If you sit back and do nothing you are diluting what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Those are strong words but I feel that must be said.

God gave us free will while we are on this earth and part of that means we are responsible for our actions or inactions.

Election/Predestination

July 26, 2009 — 1 Comment

We just finished an adult Bible study series at my church on election/predestination today. Boy, was that an interesting one! We certainly don’t shy away from the difficult topics. That is one of the things I like best about my pastor. It turns out that my pastor and I are pretty much aligned on this topic. I assure you that isn’t always the case. I will have to think and study this some more and then maybe do a series on predesitnation here some day. I just wanted to make a quick post here to maybe get you (and myself) thinking a little about it.
Much of the discussion today centered around free will. If God does indeed give us free will then how much of our actions are predestined by him? As you know if you follow this blog at all, I am one of those who believe strongly in the concept of free will ordained by God. Without free will there cannot be love and as we saw on the recent study on this blog Jesus was almost totally about love. Love very much depends on free will. If we program our computer to type (or say) “I love you” everyday then does the computer actually love you? Of course it doesn’t, it is just putting out what you programmed it to do. It doesn’t have any feelings; it is just a computer (robot). The same goes for us. If we are predestined (programmed) by God then we have no say in what our actions are! God did not make robots but instead gave us free will to make our own decisions. Sometimes, and maybe most times, we screw it up and make the wrong decisions but that is part of free will isn’t it? Our free will along with allowing us to make mistakes also allows us to truly love God and our fellow man.
Sometimes I think we think too much about this sort of thing. It is infinitely complicated for us but of course quite simple for our infinite God.