Why the Pentecost V 1.0 Crash Report is Not Being Written Yet
On the morning of July 3, 2008, I was praying in the early morning hours when I decided to revisit, in my mind, a recent nagging problem: In the back of my head, I knew our expenses had been going up. Our income had gone up, but not as fast. A quick mental review showed us somewhat short to immediately support a son in college. Certainly, we had resources enough to cover everything in the long run, but it would be nice to have a bit more buffer. Since some recent prayers had been answered singularly, and I felt my heart at peace, I decided it was time to "shake the money tree" so to speak, and began to pray for finances, beginning with informing God that "I needed some financial help."
I got pulled up short, quick and hard, mainly by the body sense: The Holy Spirit in me and I have come to the understanding that if I got a certain pull at the pit of my stomach, We Needed To Talk. Now. I was not getting any obvous "menu" option thoughts, so I started to call up the usual reasons when I previously prayed for financial help. None gave the temporary easing of the pull that would have been the indication that I was heading toward the solution. I got the suspicion that, to solve the problem, I had to start "thinking symbiotically". The pull eased up a little the moment I thought that. Okay. Time to get up and get to the bottom of it, even if it was 3 AM in the morning, making for another short night's sleep. Again.
I got some tea steeping and began to pray and seek what the problem was in my usual prayer spot, which is where I can relax a little and can start hearing that still small thought that had led me so well. And he came, asking me when I was going to get serious about "thinking symbiotically".
"Serious?" I thought, "All the great stuff that was happening to me? My changes in attitude? The answers to prayer for others? My walking in joy? Not serious?"
"What's with this 'I need money' talk?"
I wasn't catching it, obviously, but I DID catch this: I was trying different mental options as potential menu items for the Holy Spirit to punch, attempting to do a role reversal. My problem was that I was trying to ask 20 questions using the enumeration method (20 questions) rather than the binary chop method (2 to the power of 20), meaning I was limiting the Holy Spirit's options to what I could think, rather than what he could think. I was smart enough to say, "Give me a scripture to read."
I got as far as:
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
For the last several weeks, I had been slowly moving toward the direction that the Word of God was not self-activating: In Jeremiah 1:12, God said he would hasten his word to perform it. "Hasten" is translated elsewhere as watch over. If His word was self-activating, why should God hasten it? Even as I write this, the distinction is given: Hebrews 11:3 and Jeremiah 1:12 refer to the breathed word. Its the one rare place where "rhema" rather than "logos" is used in the New Testament. That's the one that needs help. It needs being hastened and watched over. It is the "Logos" kind of word that is self-activating, because it IS God. I had also been moving toward a view of the Holy Spirit as the member of the Trinity that "gets down and dirty": it was not the mere word of God that created the world, despite what verse 3 says. Note that it says we had to understand that "through faith". That is, we have to understand by faith because the actual process is via "things not seen". In short, the creation was accomplished by the Holy Spirit in response to God's spoken words. When God hastens his word to perform it, which member of the Trinity was actually doing that? Why, the Holy Spirit. That is why "the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters".
"What makes you think I don't bring anything to this relationship?" At the same time, I got the picture of a co-worker who was going to get married soon, bringing in marriage as a metaphor for Symbiosis. "When are you going to get serious about what this relationship really is? When are you going to stop saying 'I need money'and start saying 'WE need money?' THAT is getting serious."
"Well, what about the joy in the spirit? The answered prayers? The ability to witness when I used to be fearful? My changed attitudes? Isn't that evidence of you in me?"
"That's not serious! All you've been doing is jacking around. You've just been having fun with it. I've let you go this far enjoying yourself, but waking you at 2 AM to let you know all wasn't hunky dory." He then gave me a revelation that I will share in "Variance Management", because it wouldn't make sense in this context, but would in that context.
"Wow! I think the next article should be 'getting serious'! But then I'd have to postpone the crash report. Again. I don't like doing that, keeping putting it off."
"Didn't you hear me? All you've been doing is JACKING AROUND. You're a kid on the rec field practicing hitting balls, and you're gonna criticize a major league team when you're not any where close to being as good as their third string? You're pretending to write up a crash report as if it was an airliner crash, and you still don't know how to FLY?"
I felt very drowsy. Very strange, because I normally am very excited in the morning after these kinds of, ah, revelations. Its after the day has worn me down when I get drowsy to the point of dropping off while sitting.
"Go back to bed. Get serious when you get back up."
I did. And I did get two hours of good rest. Unusually good rest. I feel better and more rested now than I have in weeks.
And I thought about it, and now admit that I was just jacking around. I have no position or qualification to criticize the actions or history of the Church if I did not have the solution. I dare, in these essays, to criticize the Church and its members for certain practices and attitudes and failures, because I had experienced symbiosis as the solution. The crash report would have been criticism without solution, unworthy coming from an engineer, whose real job is to provide solutions after doing analysis. I was assured, by the Spirit, that my suspicions were correct, but without a solution, the essay would not have edified. Engineers edify. Everyone else are either being edified or are standing around and whining.
Thus, I apologize for promising, in my enthusiasm, an essay that needed writing but at my current stage of growth would not have edified. The current "glide path" suggests that more emphasis be placed on edification of the individual, holding off until "critical mass" is reached.
During my rest, I got the assurance that the happiness and joy would continue, and that having fun is necessary. As C.S. Lewis said, "we must play." But for me, that wasn't supposed to be the norm anymore. Fun would have to happen between the times of work. In a way, I had gone through the first of the several stages of manhood described by John Eldridge in his "Way of the Wild Heart", where I had to get the assurance that I was God's beloved son before I could move on to the Cowboy stage.
Interestingly enough, the image of the American cowboy is the most misunderstood in the world. To Americans, the cowboy is hard working, hard playing, and has intense convictions of right, wrong, and fair play.
To everyone else, the cowboy is the symbol of uncontrollable dangerousness.
What a coincidence. I'm normally a nice, innocuous sort of guy, if a bit abstract and definitely nerdy. I was voted "most amiable senior" by the Junior Class, and everyone said it was very true of me.
But when I get serious, I get dangerous.
I'll be serious now, God and the Spirit within willing.
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