Monday, November 4, 2013

Fleeing self-contained certainty -1- Testing for Truth

I'm sick of the organized church ... not because it's all bad, but because so many tend to protect the negatives out of fear that the whole thing will collapse if we illuminate and eradicate them.

I'm so tired of knowing,... of thinking I should have everything figured out,... of thinking anyone has it all figured out for ... who knows? You? Me? All people everywhere?

Denomination or the lack thereof means nothing. God is in his Church, whether they self-identify or not. And if you wear a man-made label, it's not going to help anything. Why do we cling to them so? It may be we have no idea how it all works.

I might attend a church group or visit the buildings, but it's not going to be to devotedly adhere to the doctrines ... even though I might listen to and appreciate some of them. When I attend it's to build relationships and learn from experience. That's it.

Sorry, but I don't trust the food anyone cooks in that holy smokin' kitchen without putting it through testing for poison ... and even my own thoughts are suspect. I figure God can manage this core mistrust of the history of human perceptions and interactions, even though it's often uncomfortable and leads me outside social circles.

I can't speak for everyone, so I'll just tell you about the Church I'm hoping to live. Or rather, I'll show you some of the construction materials that seem to be most useful as I move forward.

It is what it is ... a work in process. Let's start with:

Testing for Truth

I think there is only individual perspective available to any of us. Reality is only approachable through our perceptions, but thankfully we can gather data from each other to help. On the other hand, while I can learn from other perspectives, they will not become my own until experience reveals that view to me somehow.

Thankfully, I can hold what I do not understand, which gives me the chance to study it further. My perceptions must be trained to recognize the quality of what I encounter. It's all very complicated ... or simple. I'm not sure which.

It took me a long time to see that all observations were merely tools with which I could interact and experiment in life. Hypotheses to test. Ideas to study. Everything about my mind and body is meant to process life and offer me layers of information to which I then have the opportunity to react. Feedback is inevitable, though it helps to pay attention, and I've learned one glimpse is never a complete picture.

I live neither in a painting without the ability to enter the details nor suspended over a glass lens so I can only access microscopic detail. There is a broad horizon and a wide universe spreading out from where I stand, and I am free to focus and follow where each perception takes me, looking to understand the designer of it all.

Others may see from an angle that will alert to potential danger where I would only see smooth paths. At the same time, I am very likely to see a genuine way forward that nobody else can find. Because, you know, it's my life path ... designed for me as I am guided by God's work in my life.... Yes, I know that can sound ridiculous, especially when you think I'm either a nutcase for believing in God or a deceived infidel who can't see the clear portrait of God you've suspended right in front of my nose.

Since I'm going to believe in God, he's definitely the original substructure, heart, soul, inventor, and artist of the universe. If this is all some dream, then it is God's dream, and I'm going to search for him in it. And I'm sorry, but a God who can be destroyed and deceived and manipulated and thwarted ... just doesn't seem that impressive. I grew up watching people protect God from attackers (often each other). And now? I think if he can't handle it and still remain himself, then why the title?  God says he is solid like bedrock, so when things shake he's not the one who will fall.

These days I often search out the people who disagree with my strongest opinions, because if my foundation isn't shaken, then how will I know whether I stand on sand or stone? It's helpful to share alternate insights, so long as they are offered as an addition to what is already seen, rather than tearing out anyone's eyes and attempting to replace them with my own. And it's nobody else's problem if I choose not to see things their way.

Anything that does fall out from under me isn't God. If I think it has fallen and then find it still there ... well, that's my flawed perceptions at work, isn't it? I often fuse ideas that don't actually belong together. I think God will work within my limitations and still manage to educate me. I'll just live like his presence is true to see whether he really works that way, test, and experience life to learn.

A problem I have faced is the tendency to shore up what has already fallen. If my views can't weather a storm, then I want to know it ... and now ... so I can find something more stable before the next storm. Also, so I can protect myself and others from abuse. I'm beginning to think abuse is actually the indicator of whether shoring-up of fallen ideas is going on.

For years I slowly smothered in shored-up sinking sand, crushed beneath the perspective others pressed upon me. I could feel the danger, but thought I must be wrong because "everyone" said I was. I no longer wish to rely on such group-applied "truth" while fearing to make mistakes or be different.

I do think a multitude of counselors is a good thing. However, others' eyes are not my protection or my stability. They have only perspective and contrast to offer, and it's likely as flawed as my own, though not always in the same places.

So I test of the quality of my multitude. Is my view never strongly challenged ... enough to make me seriously question and perhaps even discard what I believe? Do they all agree with each other continuously? Do they attack anyone who disagrees instead of conversing? If I answer yes to these questions, then I've headed into dangerous territory by selecting that multitude from cliques, conformers, or sycophants. 

What I see today may fall apart tomorrow ... but I wouldn't reach tomorrow's vision without seeing as I do today. However it feels to lose what breaks ... it's worth it to be further along.

I'm okay with not knowing all the truth, as long as I get to learn more every day.