Living in a vacuum

This article is a logical start point for the Shakeup articles. It talks about how we all get it wrong. It contains an interesting warning about copying rather than listening to the Holy Spirit. But I donít know how long I will have your attention, so I would prefer you to read the other more radical articles first.

Created: 2008/09/24.

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We all need a personal philosophy (PP) but we live in a world that demands definitive answers. It seems that when we see something we donít understand, we should be able to say just that. But the absence of an explanation is a bit like a vacuum, which sucks in all sorts of rubbish to fill it.

Science is surprisingly similar. Many scientific theories are approximations or models. The same could be said twice over for Engineering. They work in part so scientists and engineers continue to use them even though there are situations where they are known not to apply. Sorry if I donít elucidate examples here, but Iíve done a Science degree and an Engineering degree and just trust me, there are a lot of approximations and fudge-factors under the hi-tech facade. But it works in part and lacking anything better, scientists and engineers persist with them.

The moment we start hearing a preacher or reading the Bible, we start building our personal philosophy. Then we pray for healing (or should we have commanded healing?) for someone dear to us and they donít get healed and so we adjust our personal philosophy about healing. One day I shared a testimony about being healed and an elder of the church effectively told me I couldnít have been healed. Her husband had died painfully of cancer and if God was in the business of healing today then he would certainly have healed her husband. You can see how her personal philosophy reconciled the problem.

Some people would refer to such thinking as a ďstrong hold Ē which has to be pulled down. I agree with this in many instances but pulling down is just part of the problem. We have to put something back. Jesus said that we could ask ďanythingĒ and He would do it. How many things have you asked and not seen answered? So we all develop some personal philosophy to explain that one away. The church has been doing this for centuries. Huge bodies of understanding has been built up which, in places, is sadly like the ďtraditions of the eldersĒ. So the Holy Spirit keeps bringing us back to the word of God. Then God chooses to be sovereign and do something we donít understand, expect or like, and personal philosophy cuts in.

How often do you hear a preacher with some exciting testimony. He was doing such and such and the Holy Spirit spoke to him and in response some really cool thing happened. And there is always a Scripture to go with it to give precedence. Now this is an encouragement to the body of Christ and is worthy to be shared. However we tend to think that if we can memorise that scripture and think the way that preacher thinks, then this really cool thing will happen to or through us. Tragically, the preachment is often cast this way. What we forget is that the preacher heard and responded to the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did nothing except that He saw the Father doing it. Try and find precedence for spitting on the ground and making mud and putting that on blind eyes. In fact if you look at all the different ways Jesus healed the one astoundingly obvious point is that there is no formula. Itís all about hearing and trusting, often in opposition to our desires and philosophy and without precedent.

The worst part is that not only does our personal philosophy block the Holy Spirit, but it also creates divisions. So if there is anything I say that rubs your PP the wrong way, then I suggest you first chill-out and seek God for confirmation before you shoot yourself in the foot!

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