I sometimes think that I ought alter the title of these essays from "Assorted C.P.E.s" to "Installments Of Hollering At Hillsides". In a sense, many (if not most) of these essays are riffs on this very same theme, and so too the one today.
Looking back at the last posting, we note a ten week hiatus in rambling diatribes of the non-specific kind. It is a bit embarrassing to tell you why so, but it does tie in (eventually) with our theme.
I do not own a computer; never have, and likely never shall. These posts are done (nowadays) on a phone plus a keyboard.
Now, for the history lesson. About six or eight weeks ago, my old phone unaccountably committed suicide! It (willy-nilly) lept from my hand, and nose dived into an asphalt parking lot. So, we dutifully moved over to phone insurance land, and the lady (speaking for the insurance people) informed me that they had no Galaxy S-4s, and would I accept an S-6 instead? "Sure, why not?" said the gringo.
Initially, I could not figure out how to "sync" this phone with this keyboard, and it turns out that I still don't know how. But, the bright young lady down at the store it was purchased from, did it in about eight seconds. To me, things cyber and digital are simply impossible. To your average four year old? not so much . . . Time marches on, and some mysteries go unsolved, deal with it..
About five weeks ago, I could not get the keyboard to reconnect to the phone even after it being "synched" (whatever that means), and noted a little flashing light on the upper right hand corner of the board. That light has what appears to be a battery logo? Brilliantly, I deduced that my batteries had conked out. One set, and then another set, neither caused either the blink to disappear, or for the two devices to once again talk to each other. So, I did the usual, (which means ignoring it, and wishing it away) and just considered it yet another impossible to solve cyber-digital problem. If you cannot solve this problem, then go find one you can work out.
Along the way, the thought did pass at several points through my left hemishere of trying out a blog entry via the hamster sized keyboard on the phone screen. But there is a lot of editing to do, and I was not all that excited to sit down for the seven hours such a project would likely take.
Today, after Kirk; I finally hunkered down! By golly, I will just go and buy a new keyboard! But, on the outside chance that the oldie is salvageable, let's take it along . . . This time, a clever young man was the one who solved the mystery, and again; in about eight seconds. It turns out that for some reason or another my "Bluetooth" thingie on the phone was in the "off" position. How did that happen? Beats me! And how would I have known even what to look for? Again, beats me! What had consistently defeated me for over a month was this tiny hiccup, and this my friend is par for the course.
We might have expected something of the sort by our observations of reality, yet the bland surprises just keep coming in.
I see this sort of thing over in plumbing-land fairly often. The phone call from the guy with a master's degree kinda goes:
Him: Well, the toilet is losing water or something.
Me: Do you mean that it is leaking out on the floor? Is water spraying from somewhere?
Him: No, nothing like that, it just makes noises all by itself sometimes.
Me: Are you seeing water appear anywhere then?
Him: No, no I mean that at night I can hear it filling up for no reason, but only sometimes . . .
For the college edumacated, this is a deep mystery indeed! For me, it is one of two things, and we are talking either a one minute fix, or an hour, but one needn't be brilliant to isolate the problem, you simply observe, use a pinky (and an ear!) and get to the issue at hand. To him he views an insurmountable obstacle, and to me a ridiculously easy fix. The thing is either a mountain or a molehill depending upon who is doing the looking.
This is us. We have these areas in which to "solve" is an horrendously complex (hopelessly difficult!) labyrinth of pain, frustration and perplexity. And, to others, the very same thing is tossed off as a hardly noticeable bump in the road.
I think that it was my Mom who used to say things like: "Oh, quit fussing, you're making a mountain out of a molehill". But, what Mom never did say was that my molehill might be your mountain, and vice-versa?
I don't mean to brag here, but there are at least a couple of destructive behaviors of which I have just had no real problem (so far!) getting past in this life. We have all heard of those addicted to gambling or to pornography for example. And for me, these sins or lapses are simply not all that interesting. They are not worth "solving" in that they are easily avoided. To my thinking, a girl exposing her unlikely topology for money, tells me everything I need to know about her. Move on. In my brain, gambling makes no sense whatsoever unless you happen to be a casino owner. It does not require massive observation powers to deduce who benefits by that "transaction". Again, move on. This is part of what we are really discussiing today. What, to the addict; is a huge roadblock, is (for me) something to simply sidestep. Your mountain is my molehill, but then I have my own mountain, which must appear to you as a childishly simple thing to get past.
Typically (it seems to me) this "half" of the Hollering At Hillsides theory we are to some extent familiar with. A preacher, a Mom, a motivational type speaker urges us to "overcome", and we are supposed to buy their given "take" on how so to solve. And, whether it is positive patterns of speech, or a gung-ho excitement, or whether a long-haul type of endurance and sticking with it, each proposes a "possible victory" obtainable in a non-specific future. And I am not saying today that nobody benefits from such exhortations, but rather that the picture we view needs to rotate. Our problem is (so to speak) one of perspective. That is, the colloquialism; "You can't get there from here", is (as far as it goes) accurate! We are not aligned with the real.
Jesus with His outlandish assertion that talking to millions of tons of rock and earth so to banish same to the center of the sea is not (in my opinion) a direct reference to smoking cigars, or to buying lotto tickets. True enough, those given molehills could be viewed as mountains, supposing that my personal impossibility field includes such. But such thinking appears backwards to me at the very minimum. He is using gargantuan language to describe an enormous reality, not to make the puny bigger than it actually is.
Think with me; if your given mountain was (for instance) shyness, and you just could never get around or over it, would my telling you that a far far more difficult task (go toss Pike's Peak beyond Tahiti) as a warm-up exercise would be so awfully helpful?
One of the main insights of the N.T. writers was to rotate the view of "The Mountain". The Coming One was to set all things right, to shatter evil and to rule in power and peace. And our Apostles in their training days just could barely conceal the ambition for their own lives when such sweeping change came to be! Can we start throwing our weight around already? Will you name me chief poo-bah, and grand vizier of some key department in the coming administration?
The mountain was the Mountain Of YHWH. They got that part right enough, and to expect thus a realm of order, a world which makes sense, a place in which rebellion and lies and corruption are strictly speaking history, was never denied by The Saviour, but that same expected rule was added to! The view of the Mountain began to rotate, and for the first time, the Coming One, was seen to have an advent, plus a return, the One Mountain has twin peaks!
This, my friend; alters everything! The peaks then are proposing an astounding turn of events at least Covenantally speaking. Recall that the covenant is forged not between God and an abstract mass called "humanity", but between God and The Man. This is crucial!
The Man "wrestles with YHWH" . . . and prevails? Now, wait just one minute! How ever under any circumstance COULD a man win in such a match? He would have to be God Himself to do so! . . . Oh, well; . . . there is that to consider.
Ordinarily, we hear the "Great Commission" as a kind of nagging white man guilt trip. You know the drill, we are not (at present) quite the evangelizing hot-rods and superstars we ought be? So then, we kinda need to step up our game by about 87,000 notches or so? Normally thus, the GC kinda comes off as a "try harder" type of thing. There are the stars, (the missionairies) and then a few superstars (martyrs and Apostles?) down "on the field", and we are being urged to get out of the bleachers, suit up, put on our helmets, and run a key play, or seven? We hear the rah-rah stuff, promptly ignore it, and come back for another dose of guilt next week? It's weird.
And the weirdness is that Messiah is making an outlandish statement, just precisely here; which we have completely overlooked. "I POSSESS ALL authority in heaven and earth". Excuse me, what was that again? Is the Guy saying that the Father Almighty has hung up His cleats, just thrown in the towel then? I mean, something humongous is going on here! Could we be a tad more specific?
In this plumber's opinion, the twin peaks can stand thus for The Father and The Son, or for the two comings. but the key here is news which is alarmingly blasted good! I hate to be narrow minded on this score, but isn't good news supposed to cause some happiness or something of that sort to occasionally break out? But, when it is in my hands, it is just here, which the oaf from the bleachers drops the ball (again). I even against what I believe, end up rattling on about morals or standards, the decline of decency or some other brainless claptrap. We are guilt junkies, and cannot get past this hill! And neither can we admit it.
I mean by this, just how many iterations of; "We ought be (more) eager to share the Gospel with our neighbors" can we take before we rush down, grab the speaker by the lapels, and shout in his face; "What 'news' are you talking about anyhow?!". The Gospel is not "You can be saved". . . unless we know more precisely saved from what, and unto what. It is just here that our polite desire to spare God from any possible insult runs deepest, I think.
We are deeply worried that we might offend "Somebody" if we are too crass or blunt about things. Wouldn't want to hurt His feelings and all. . . So "gospel" becomes a kind of coded speech, in which "Straighten up, and fly right" becomes the implied (never stated) content? Gospel is implied and referred to, and only very rarely put forward unmistakably clearly in this plumber's estimation. What then, is the alarmingly blasted good news?
The standard set answer is that we are saved from sin. But what if I happen to enjoy sin? Okay then, how's about we are saved from death? The fat gringo objects! "Life has been no garden party for me, and I just want out. I think I would prefer death to more of this misery". What then? Well, what about hell? Surely, no sane person would want that, (would he?). He is saving us from hell, will that do for you Mr. stubborn-pants??
And the twin peaks are proposing that it is precisely NOT this which serves as token of the news which is good. Scripture repeatedly speaks of a day surely coming. In that hour, people will flee into (!!!) the hell of fire . . . in order to get as far away (as will then be possible); from "something". People will be sprinting into hell in that hour in order to flee the True Terror.
This is what Christians are afraid to say. It could be construed (I suppose) as insulting to say that He is so dreadful as all that. But, our point here, is not some possible perceived insult; so much as it is the clear reality. The Covenant between the Father and the Son is posing to us a wild, an alarming truth. God is saving us . . . from GOD! The amazing Contract (the "Deal" to end all deals!), in which the Father expends His fury . . . upon the Son, as "The Man", has generated the only bunker deep enough, the sole working bomb shelter stout enough for anyone ever to hide in, on the occasion of that coming great and terrible day. Upon those so sheltered, is the blood of The Lamb! "But He (the Father) has given all judgement to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" is Jesus's way of talking along these lines. As far (and farther!) than we can grasp, the Sovereignty has been turned over! A man, nay, The Man; is seated on high! The Mountain has been tossed way way beyond Tahiti. The Man wrestled-with YHWH . . . and prevailed!
Now then, in light of this, let's us reconsider molehills. What to me is an impassable height, really believing that I am "good enough" has to be re-rotated from a twin, back to a singular peak. In brief, we are learning thus to view our puny struggle through the real lens, and that is a view of a universe turned over to The One Sane Man. Key then, would be our union with that Man, eh? Everything "rotates precisely here". He is The True Believer, and we are just now learning to take hummingbird sized doses of that very same (correct) grasp of the real, so to endorse, so to act upon it.
I mean, after all, the reason we believe things in the first place, is for the absurdly simple reason that we happen to believe them to be true. Duh? The good news is that the profound thrashing and absolute shattering of all things unholy, untrue and unright, which we in our heart of hearts are deeply aware that we "ought be" joined to, has already occurred? He as our new Head, has taken the blow which we could have never survived. He has faced down the fury of The Maker. . . and WON? Our estimate of ourselves then; "That I am not, and never will be 'good enough'", is both true, and no longer binding. That is, I do not "testify" to my own rightness, but to Another's!
The art then, of learning to trust, learning to talk to mountains so to make them fly away, is learning (in part at least) to rotate the view, from one, to two, and then back to one.
We are born, and die in sin and are raised again. This mambo, this stepwise movement which will have its full fruition with a luminescent cadre (uncountable) of immortals made divinely glad, has already commenced. That one, then two, then one again; fancy square dance is already being called. His children are even now bulletproof and unkillable, even if they do lose their lives, for the real Danger, the actual Dread has been "prevailed upon".
What a Champion! What a Genius this Guy is! Full-tilt-bozo, off the scale Brilliant is He. Good news is supposed to make the hearer glad. But when we one day taste Gladness Himself, we will be able then to identify the true Source of the stuff we kept getting tiny whiffs of, all down the line, of which we wanted some, but couldn't rightly name.
His name is; "I AM . . . Salvation!" And in that day, even we will be sober enough to say so.