This and That are Contrary One to the Other


The following was written after reading Galatians chapter 5

From the Tree of This-and-That:

The left-brain-mind is the part of our brain that is designed to experience the world as this thing that is apart from or something other than the rest of creation [that stuff].  This part of the brain is a tool, designed to focus in on individual bits of definable, measurable matter [the Greek meter, to measure].

As such, when looking with the left-brain-mind only – we cannot see the fractal nature of reality.  We cannot see that what the left-brain-mind experiences as separate things are all actually arabesques in a single pattern or happening.  From its point-of-view, life is reduced to the sum of its parts – losing all sense of connectivity and spark.

Every interaction and every connection will be experienced as though it is foreign – we say things like, “You need to face facts,” or “…confront reality,” as though we are these skin-encapsulated Persons who have to lug around this sack of tissue and go about conquering and to conquer.

This is just a good actor:

Adam and Eve have partaken of a fruit of distinctions – a bitter fruit in a garden of uncontrasted sweetness.  It grows on the Tree of knowledge of this and that [good and evil, day and night, pleasure and pain, virtue and vice, sickness and health, life and death, God and humans, etc.].  Adam and Eve have left the primitive [or child-like] experience of nakedness – of just being without dressing up in this Persona or that Self – and they have now become this and that.

The left-brain, Self-consciousness reigns – having replaced the right-brain, God-consciousness that had previously been humanity’s state of mind.  Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed.  There never was a problem with the nakedness, but once the Self-consciousness gained dominion – shame entered in, Adam and Eve got busy trying to cover their shame with clothing and labor – until they eventually lose consciousness [or die].

The next step for God’s creation [according to the plan that was counseled on in the beginning] was to enter the Sabbath rest.  However Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of this and that at the direction of Satan, not God.  Instead of being still and knowing that He is God – they desired a distraction from this rest.  The diversion is how this can ignore its nakedness – so God provided physical coverings and manual labor for Adam and Eve according to their desire.  Now this doesn’t have to be conscious of its nakedness because it is busy doing that.

To cut through the coverings acquired by your left-brain-mind, you must rest.  But rest doesn’t mean to stop.  Stopping just shifts the idolatry from being busy to being idle.  When working from your left-brain-mind, you’ll always just make yourself a better and better actor [hypocrite].  The left-brain-mind will always try to work at doing things that would just happen spontaneously [be part of our nature] if we would just soften the right-brain-heart in repentance.

To yield, to submit, to rest, to sit down, to cease your frantic effort to be this or that.

Your flesh was crucified on the cross too:

But to be busy doing that – because you still identify your-Self as this – is being entangled with a yoke of bondage.  However, in Jesus Christ, neither business nor idleness avails you any thing.  Instead, you have been called to liberty – not to use that freedom for an occasion to serve the flesh – but to serve each other in love.

Those who have denied their Self so they could be identified with Christ have nailed their flesh to the cross with Him, and have had this crucified.  So we may just walk in the Spirit, identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ [doing His works, saying His words, having His same mind in us, etc.].  Because only by so doing can we cease to be subject to the flesh and to the power of the devil.  So long as we are playing the game of this vs. that – flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh – pitting things against each other, as being contrary one to the other – we cannot do the things that we desire.

The gospel is not a battle between the forces of this and that – darkness vs. light, good vs. evil, virtue vs. vice, men vs. women, flesh vs. Spirit, etc.  Evil is not really any thing at all – it’s no-thing [nothing].  Evil is the shell of what remains after meaning has departed from something.  It has no power or purpose on its own anymore, only the meaning we choose to give it.

The works of the flesh are manifest:

  • Adultery
  • Fornication
  • Impurity
  • Lasciviousness
  • Idolatry
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Hostility
  • Quarreling
  • Jealousies
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Selfish ambition
  • Divisions
  • Heresies
  • Envyings
  • Murders
  • Drunkenness
  • Revelling parties

But the fruit of the Spirit is:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Faith
  • Longsuffering
  • Gentleness
  • Goodness
  • Kindness
  • Meekness
  • Temperance

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I’m also reading Joana Smith’s blog regularly — if anyone else wants to check it out.

Seeking the Good of Others


Meat Sacrificed to Idols:

One of the issues in the first-century church that was addressed in writing by Paul concerned meat that had been sacrificed to idols.  Debates over what to eat might seem strange within a church established by a man who said:

Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

However, as formerly pagan/Roman converts began joining congregations of the church of Jesus Christ, an issue arose concerning the eating of meat.

Pleasing the Romans gods thru animal sacrifice resulted in temples having more meat than their priests and priestesses could eat.  So, as a source of income, the temples would sell the extra meat to vendors — who would in turn sell that meat in the marketplace for general consumption.  Thus, it was common for meat sold in the marketplace to have been previously consecrated as a sacrifice to a Roman god.  The Jews stayed away from such meat because they were wary of the chances encountering the “unclean” food-handling practices and they believed that to partake of consecrated meat was to give second-hand approval of idol worship.  The Gentiles did not believe that meat could be tainted by a sacrifice they did not participate in.  Both parties brought these preconceived cultural views on the subject with them into the church of Jesus Christ — thereby making the matter a point of contention within the church.

The council recorded in Acts 15 urged Gentile converts to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols.  In essence, the council sought to assure that at the next church sacramental meal a formerly-Jewish believer could eat meat he was served with confidence — knowing it had never been part of a sacrificial cow, and a formerly-Roman believer could not be accused of participating in idol worship.

Applying the Matter to Ourselves:

Whenever I read Paul’s writings on the subject of members of the church of Jesus Christ eating meat that had was considered “unclean” by some — I can’t help but think of the current LDS views on things like meat, caffeinated drinks, beer, and wine.  So last week, I read thru 1 Corinthians 8-10, imagining that Paul was writing to church members today on the subject of the Word of Wisdom.

Paul’s Law of Offense = Seek the good of others instead of being concerned for your own good:

The following was taken from 1 Corinthians 8-10.

Some people might think that all things are lawful for them because of justification by faith or because of all the knowledge they have on the issue.  While the freedom in Christ or the knowledge you obtain may make you feel important, it is love that strengthens the church of God.  If you claim to know all the answers, then you don’t really know very much.  However, the person who loves God – the same is known by Him.

Whether or not everything is lawful for you – not everything is expedient or constructive.

You may be able to consume any food or drink without raising questions of moral conscience within yourself because you understand that everything from the earth comes from the Lord.  Why should your freedom be limited by what someone else thinks?  If you are capable of enjoying all things that come from God, then why should you be condemned for it?  We can’t win God’s approval by what we eat – you won’t lose anything if you abstain, and you won’t gain anything if you partake.  So whether you eat or drink – whatever you do – do it all to glorify God.

However, not all believers understand this.  Some are accustomed to thinking that words of wisdom concerning diet are commandments – and their weak consciences will be offended.

Should a non-member ask you over to his or her house, by all means go if you want to and eat whatever is offered to you, out of respect for their hospitality.  But then should a member there point out that the food or drink served ought to be considered morally objectionable to you because of your religion – don’t consume it out of consideration for the one who told you.  For you must be careful that your freedom doesn’t cause another of a weaker conscience to stumble.

If your superior knowledge on a subject were to encourage a believer to do something they believe is wrong, then you would be sinning against Christ because he died for that person too.

If my dietary choices would cause another believer to sin, then may I never break the “commandments” outlined in any words of wisdom concerning diet so long as I live.  I do not desire another believer to stumble.  Don’t give offense to Jews, Gentiles, or the church of God.  Try to please everyone in what you do.  Don’t just do what is best for yourself – do what is best for others, so that many may be saved.

When you are with those who are weak, you should share their weakness because you have a desire to bring the weak to Christ.  It is best to try and find common ground with people, doing everything you can that you might save some.

Even though you are a free person, with no earthly slave master, you must become a servant to all people to bring them to Christ.  When you are with Jews, live like a Jew to bring them to Christ.  When you are with members who strictly adhere to Church™ teachings, live under that law – even though you are not subject to that law, do so in order to bring Christ to them.  When you are with Gentiles who are without the law, then also live apart from that law for the purpose of bringing them to Christ.  But you must not ignore the law of God – always obey the law of Christ.

Questions:

  • Is my characterization of Paul’s teaching on offense accurate?
  • What lessons can be drawn from his teaching?
  • Is my connection of his teaching on eating pagan meat with the Word of Wisdom™ fair?
  • Is this teaching consistent with the rest of the Scriptures?
  • How can we balance Paul’s law of offense with spicing up your church experience, rebelling against body modesty, or cheerfully doing all things?

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Scriptural Discussion #11: Gifts And Power Of The Spirit—Defined As Good Works


GIFTS AND POWER OF THE SPIRIT—DEFINED AS GOOD WORKS

Moroni said, “And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.” (Moroni 10: 24-25)

Discuss.

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Previous Scriptural Discussion: #10 FAITH—LIVING BY, BETTER THAN LIVING BY KNOWLEDGE

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