...or, "Context is Everything"
It's been my experience over the years that God does, in fact, talk to us. The problem for any one of us being talked to is noticing that it is happening. I think the communication channel used is syncronicity.
Wikipedia has a pretty good definition:
The concept does not question, or compete with, the notion of causality. Instead it maintains that, just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by meaning. A grouping of events by meaning need not have an explanation in terms of cause and effect.
In addition to Jung, Arthur Koestler wrote extensively on synchronicity in "The Roots of Coincidence" "
Seems to me that syncronicity falls between absolute random chance, and events that have statistical probability.
F'rinstance, suppose my birthday is August 30. A friend invites me to go with her to a concert. It starts at 8:30. We get there, and pick up our tickets. We are seated in row eight, and my seat happens to be number 30. That's syncronicity.
But, what about the meaning? If this were to happen to me, I'd be surprised. I'd probably say something to my companion about the Universe (a.k.a. God) wishing me happy birthday. And that would be that.
No context, really.
Here are some numbers: 12345
What do they mean? You might say "The first five digits." But since we are at the Post Office, I would say, "It's zip code for Schenectady, New York." (Really!)
If it were an arithmetic class, your answer would have more meaning than mine, based on the context.
Context shapes meaning.
So, the pings that I'm getting lately are about Catholicism. Ever since the Obama/HHS decree that all health care providers *will* provide all "reproductive services" (birth control and abortions), many of the blogs I read have been discussing it from a Catholic perspective. The new friend I'm busily making is working her way towards Catholicism. A couple of my college buddies have returned to it over the years. I didn't think I would ever go back, and I'm still pretty sure it's a low-probability bet, but lately I'm becoming not so sure I won't.
I turned away from the Church (yes, I still capitalize it...) when I was 20. I had concluded that I was agnostic. (The fact that not being Catholic reduced the course requirements for Theology and Philosophy might also have figured in to it.) About ten years later, I met wife #2, who was a practicing Christian Scientist. We would discuss it on the drive to and from work (it's where we met). It started to make sense to me. About a year and a half after we met, I signed up for an EST-like training. I knew that it included some exercises that would let me fiddle a bit with some of the theories I had learned. I did, and they seemed to actually work. Fast forward a few years later, and I was playing with first, the Church of Religious Science, and then with another church called Teaching of the Inner Christ. After about 10 years of metaphysical study, I gave up any formal association with a church, and went my merry way.
There are some things that will have to be reconciled somehow if I am to return to the fold. In no particular order:
- While I am a firm believer in evil and sin, I don't believe in "the devil".
- I believe that, because we are made in the image and likeness of God, we are already perfect.
- I think that salvation is a matter of becoming the perfect expression of our perfection.
- Original sin? Choosing to live in this physical state, apparently separated from God.
- I believe that we have chosen the life we live, and the experiences we create.
- I believe that sin is simply turning away from God.
- I believe that evil, like darkness, not something in itself, but an absence of something. As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the unwillingness to hear and respond to God, or, our absence from God.
- I believe that what we call God's Laws work in a way that is similar to gravity. Hold something up and let go of it, and it will fall. Do something contrary to one of God's laws, and it *will* come back to bite you. Because of Divine Law, God doesn't need to micro-manage things. (This leaves God more time for important things, like managing the outcomes of NFL and college football games based on teams' prayers...)
Abortion is murder. I think the Church and I are pretty much in agreement there.
I've gotten a pretty good handle on patience. I fear my next lesson is humility. I can see it coming, and I can't stop it.