Monday, February 25, 2013

Cambridge Matric to a Godly Matrix Part II

My computer has settled down and is behaving quite nicely, thank you for asking. I am no longer hissing and spitting like a wet cat, much to my husband's relief. Now to get back to some Godly thoughts instead of giving new meaning to the word "cursor!" To pick up where we left off with the thoughts on the Cambridge Matric...

Feeling at a loss for being able to do well on a proficiency exam of Godly thought, I began to wonder what course of study would you have to undertake if you were to enroll (matriculate) in God’s School? Or, maybe some courses on "bone-head" Godly thought? What would it take to gain His certification of “a workman who needs not to be ashamed?” (II Timothy 2:15) I think I'd like that cert! 

It seems to me that you would need a Godly logic within which to reason, a foundational knowledge base to reason with in order to gain insight and wisdom.  Foundational to the knowledge base would be the logic, the system of thought that would determine your thinking pattern; create the parameters within which you would shuffle and connect the discrete pieces of knowledge. The rules of this logic would determine how you reason. Finally, you would need practical exercises to develop expertise (flexibility, agility, and strength of mind and spirit). Holy Spirit seems to be the one mentoring us through these practicums.

Every system of thought, every form of logic has its “a priori”—the self-evident propositions, or its underlying assumption and its “givens.” For Christians the “a priori” is that there is a God and that He is Who He says He is. The Word of God, the Scriptures, is eternal in nature, and the final source by which to validate our statements.

The “givens” would be the Biblical principles which give structure to the reasoning process much like the frame of a building provides a structure in which life is lived. Within the structure of biblical principles the discrete bits of the knowledge base are moved about in a way that communicates (Christian vocabulary is used clearly) and the individual gains insight and wisdom from the exercise of reason. One principle should not contradict another.
 The process of determining the givens, the principles of God is an exercise that develops flexibility and agility of thought that develops strength of mind and spirit. Each one of us needs to develop these qualities so that when (not if) we are asked for the reasons for our faith, and when (not if) we are brought before authorities and compelled to be God’s witness, that we do not collapse and deny our Lord.

            It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
            to search out a matter is the glory of
            kings (Proverbs 25:2). I think we could  
            substitute “men” and “women” for
            kings.   : )
           When you are brought before synagogues,
           rulers and authorities, do not worry
           about how you will defend yourselves or
           what you will say…Luke 12:11
A short list of examples of principles:
  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ and life will go well with you… Matthew 22:36-40
  • "Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 19:19
  • Sowing and reaping or cause and effect: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7
  • Emotion, even negative emotion has a place but in allowing it it’s place, avoid sin “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26
  • Store up treasure in heaven – eternal whereas earthly treasure decays. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19
  • The principle of multiplication is throughout scripture. The first examples of the principle of multiplication are in Genesis chapter 1. After each “day” of creation the Lord blessed what He had created and issued the injunction to multiply.
These are just a few examples of God’s “givens” which are “given” in Scripture for us to find and use in our lives. God wants us to prosper and He has given us the resources, however, many times we do not recognize them. He has “hidden” these resources in plain sight. It is for us to find and use them. The exercise of looking for these principles to live by will keep us rightly focused and aligned and will train us to think more in line with God's thought process.

To develop expertise in reasoning within this Godly thought process (resting upon the “a priori” and bounded by biblical principles) we would need to have lengthy, challenging but respectful and guilt free discussions that wrestle with how to apply God’s Word to the issues of life with mature fellows in Christ (at least more mature than me!) who would push of our reasoning, our depth of knowledge and experience with the Lord so that we would push back, thereby developing strength, agility and flexibility of mind and spirit—with no offense taken or given! These discussions would challenge us to probe ever deeper into the Scriptures and motivate us to deepen our relationship with God Himself so that we would pose our questions to the Almighty—and hear back from Him. We would be challenged to research for ourselves—and when you are not accustomed to such mental exercise it can be daunting at first! It dredges up and ferrets out insecurities and inferiority feelings you had no idea you harbored.
In our health conscious society we flush, cleanse and detoxify the body but neglect to flush, cleanse and detoxify the mind and spirit. The kind of mental and spiritual exercise I am suggesting would do just that and then go beyond cleansing to building new muscle. My guess is that this exercise sharpens the thinking, eliminates mental and spiritual flabbiness and laziness. You will begin to find yourself having things to say; you will begin to be able to mount a godly defense when questioned about why you believe what you believe.
 When knowledge and experience are challenged within the Christian community that I am proposing, such challenges are not ever to be taken as a question of worth or belonging. They are simply stretching the mind and spirit to increase capacity because of your value, your worth and because you belong! If you had little or no value or if youndid not belong to this family of God, He would not spend so much effort to pursue you! Nor would He take the care to provide mentors and spiritual families within which to hone your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses.
My background is academic; so naturally I think in terms of the kind of course of study you would need to undertake to acquire the general knowledge base needed to flesh out such a thought matrix. You would need to embark on a study of the history, cultures and languages of Jesus time. Those times, those cultures and languages were important in some way…otherwise God would have chosen a different time, culture and different languages in which to send His Son. We would need to acquire:
  • Working knowledge of Greek and Hebrew and/or how to use the reference works that would allow you to exegete scripture
  • Working knowledge of the history and cultures of Greece, Romans and Jews with specific emphasis on the socio-economics and religious-political dynamics of Jesus time
  • Working knowledge of the Torah and writings of the early church
  • Working knowledge of Christian doctrine, principles and vocabulary
  • Working knowledge of spiritual warfare and deliverance
A series of practicum (life experiences, some of which are very difficult) would be interwoven with this study and when successfully completed would fulfill the admonition in II Timothy 2:15… Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Such a course of home study would take a life time and God is okay with that! It is the school eveyone signs up for. Salvation and matriculation happen at the same time! This undertaking is like eating an elephant—you just have to start somewhere. I don’t think our Heavenly Father would lay out something like this if He did not think we were up to it. I remember when our children were little that I longed for a few hours of conversation with someone who could use words with at least three syllables and sentences of more than three words. Could it be that our Father longs for us to reason with Him?
After hearing my husband or me teach at Elijah House schools, we sometimes had distraught folks ask, “Where do you begin?” I replied, “It is like a log jam…you simply grab hold of the piece that is poking you and pull.” As I look this over my eyes glaze and then cross, but this too shall pass. I can sense Jesus grinning at me. He knows as well as I that I will grab hold of something and I will begin but just now I think I need a nap! I’m just a bit overwhelmed.
What do you think? Does any of this make sense? Where would you begin? Let me know in the comment box.
Blessings, Carol…making it plain



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