How's that for a topic? Deep questions are on my mind.
I believe there is a God. Really. Creation is just too intricate to have just happened. And I've seen prayer work. So I even believe there is a God who listens.
But how does He communicate? Through personal feelings? Through happenstance? Through the Bible? Through other inspired writing? One or more of these, but not others? Or all? Or none? And how, oh how, can you ever know for sure that it's really the voice of God?
And lots of other questions. I'm really embarrassed to just now in life be dealing with some foundational issues. Or issue. It basically comes down to the question of the right way to decide what is true.
I am, by nature I think, both a skeptic and a romantic. I try not to be a cynic, which is easy with that combination. But I really, really believe that Truth has to be consistent, both with itself and with reality. I even believe that there is such a thing as reality, a reality that exists apart from the perceptions of any particular person. But I'm awash as to exactly how to verify what I perceive, or how to find Truth.
This is not, of course, virgin territory. I've been doing some reading, and obviously others have trod this ground. In the arena of well known folks, Francis Schaeffer has much to say in this area, and has certainly given me some insight. I think I need to read some of Søren Kierkegaard's work, though it's hard going. In a more personal sense, I've been talking to many folks whom I love and respect. Y'all have been a stronger and more dynamic influence in this period of my life than any writings by strangers, whoever they may be. And wow, there's a lot of different views among you guys!
One of the most important things I've read in the last year has been a collection of short essays by my brother, Dickie. Each essay is basically a journal entry chronicling his travels, both physical and spiritual, and his thoughts. The folder he sent me included entries spanning July-December 1995. I saw that many of his issues are my issues. It dawned on me last year that this might be so. With Ron (my other brother) separated from Katie, none of the Walls brothers are in any stable, exclusive sorts of relationships. I don't see any obvious reasons; we weren't all shackled to attic rafters when we didn't get our hands clean for dinner or anything. But it really startled me that I'd never paid much attention to our similarities. I was still somewhat surprised to see how similar Dickie's spiritual search is to my own, though, since we've taken significantly different paths. Maybe not as significant as I'd thought.
I went a long time without really dealing with these questions. Mostly out of fear, I think. Now I'm feeling led to deal with them. Dickie is currently working hard to find his way spiritually, and I'm finally starting to renew my search. Perhaps the most important legacy of dumping the dissertation is the energy to approach the spiritual.
A while ago in Sunday School, we talked about the "Rich Young Ruler" (Luke 18:18-30). A guy came to Jesus, asking what he should do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus told him to follow the Jewish law, he said he had. Then Jesus said, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." For him it was possessions. I think I could do that, with a clear message (though I'm unsure how to judge the message's validity). What if, for me, it were my religion? Does God have the right to ask that? I feel like I'm being called to put all I believe on the altar. That scares me, terribly. If I do, what is left? How am I to know what is real, what is false, what is illusion?
Ah, questions, questions, questions. I seek truth, and seek to be true. I don't expect to get the answers from you, but I expect them to come through you, more likely than not. Prayers for a pilgrim humbly solicited!
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