The beginning

Well, this is my first post, which has been a dream for me for about a year now and has finally come to fruition. I finally got a weblog site up, and have so much to talk about, and so little time to do it. I apologize for my “out-of-the-box” theme. It’s quite boring, and as a web designer I can do a lot better, but I have a desire to write so badly that even my own training and passion as a visual designer isn’t holding sway over me.

Something else is. Something greater than visual beauty and far beyond me.

Ever since I was 13, I have always been consumed with a desire to look deeply into the spiritual side of life. My religious background has always been and still is moderate Evangelical Christianity (somewhere between the extremes of conservative and liberal.) Who is God? What are his dreams, goals, likes, dislikes, and His feelings towards humans and the rest of His creation like? What should we do with our lives and with the time we have, and what should our relationship with Him be like? These are the questions that keep me awake deep into the night frequently thoughout the week.

Where did I start in my quest to gain and understand spiritual truth? I first started with believing what people I respected believed. I belived what my parents and their friends in their church in their denomination in their religion believed. Just like every child does, in every culture, in every religion in every time since the beginning.

But that wasn’t enough. I had stumbled across something amazing, and simply borrowing beliefs from others about this was not enough. I began to think that not everything that my church, my denomination, or my religion was correct. Logically or rationally, it didn’t add up to me. I would have to find out things for myself. But my training in art had taught me a valuable lesson — that to become an expert in an area, you must seek others wiser than yourself and learn from them first. So I did a lot of reading of religious books and articles by various authors, ranging from very liberal to very conservative. I listened to a lot of sermons and attended religious seminars and debated and discussed with a lot of people.

I am now 31 years old, and what have I got to say about what I’ve found over the past 18 years? I’m just scratching the surface, and I know very little.

One thing I realized sadly is that even though I’ve listened to a lot of wise and brilliant religious people, no one person is the final authority on spiritual truth, and I am chief among those people to be suspect. I find within myself a powerful desire that runs contrary to my nature that desires to know truth. This nature dogs me at every step, desiring not truth, but beliefs that cater to my selfishness and self-centeredness. I am a divided person. I need a guide, a measuring stick of sorts that I can turn to when I don’t know if i am divided or not, to see if the belief I just stumbled across is spiritual truth, or is a lie. Where is this litmus test for spiritual truth? Where can i find where God revealed Himself in its most pure form, untainted by men like me with less than pure motives for promoting what they believed?

I decided that my primary source of absolute spiritual truth is the Bible. In all my readings (which is not much compared to much greater scholars then I,) I have never been more spiritually moved or encouraged than when I read this book or read others who believed the revelation in this book about God to be true. Convienent, you may say, because my Judeo-Christian background believed this too. Not really. They gave this ideal of “Sola Scriptura” lip service, but in the end, it came down to what the pastor or the denomination believed and if you didn’t believe them, then you were an athiest in the making. My belief that the Bible was the absolute final authority on spiritual truth was a rebellion to my religion, not against its ideals, but against it’s man-made incarnation.

So I have found my companion on my search for spiritual truth. Spiritual beliefs come full force at me every day, from people from other religions, from movies, from TV, from books, and so many other places I can’t count them. But when I hear one, I want to see if it is true or not — for i desire to know more and more spiritual truth more than anything else. But I must first compare it to the Bible. I have come across many spiritual beliefs, and many that are true and are backed up by the Bible often do not come from people who claim to be Christians. I love that. God is a whole lot bigger than myself and my small sphere of understanding.

To say, however, that the Bible is true is not enough. Many people claim the Bible is true and believe completely different and even opposite things than others all claiming that the Bible backs them up. So I began to aquire very restrictive interpretation rules for understanding what the Bible is saying, and to interpret as correctly as possible. I do not believe that the Bible has hidden messages intended for brilliant people in the 21st century or for supercomputers to crack, but instead that its original writers had something deliberate and straight-forward to say to the average man and women in its original intended audience. ((Two books are great for undestanding good Bible Interpretation:
How To Read the Bible For All It’s Worth by Gorden Fee and Douglas Stuart
The Literary Structure of the Old Testament by David Dorsey)) I believe that the Bible is not a model for how to live my life, but a story of how God has interacted with men and women throughout history. It is full of stories and poems about God, Him being the protagonist. The purpose in reading it is to understand the truth about God – what His dreams, goals, likes, dislikes, and feelings towards the men and women he created are.

My morality comes from a desire to be like the God of the Bible. I want to dream like Him, have goals like Him, dislike what He dislikes, and have the same feelings towards his creation as He does. I also want to live how he designed me to live. Living any other way than the way I was designed to live is a perversion. Conducting myself or behaving in any way other than how God would in the same situation is imperfection. I have in my position the fullest revelation of God in all existence – the Bible – so logically I am held to the highest standard – a higher standard than those who only have pieces, ghosts, or shadows of this revelation, of which is housed in lesser or greater amounts within their hearts and the hearts of all men and women since the beginning of time. This does not in any way actually mean that I am special, it just means that I have a greater responsibility to be moral and live right — God expects better of me than one who has had less of a revelation of Himself. He is very fair in this regard. He is strict with me, and more lax with others regarding their morality and the way they live.

My purpose for living is to be in a real and intimate relationship with God. This is not a selfish self-seeking desire, it is the way I was designed; not any different than saying wrongly that a light bulb (if it could think) is self-serving for wanting to light up a room. I am imperfect because I was not designed to be perfect. I am unable to tell and convince everyone about God because I was not designed to do so. My relationship with God will cause within me a desire to be better, like a newly married husband who loves his wife wants to love her better and to bring her joy, and it will excite and inspire me to talk to others about Him just like anyone who discovers something really exciting wants to do.

In my relationships with other people who believe as I do – I want to encourage them to continue in their relationship with God and to seek more deeper truth about him. I believe that knowing God better makes your relationship with Him more intimate, not unlike a married couple who love each other passionately and grow closer to each other over the years. With people who do not know God, I wish to be a good example in living as he designed me to live, and acting or behaving as he would. With my silent example and with my words I wish to communicate to them what God is like so they might continue in their search for truth as well, a search I believe will end in finding God Himself. Within the society I find myself living in, my goal is to slowly, little by little, sow seeds of love, compassion, and life in all my spheres of influence as an agent of what is good and what is right in a world that is full of hurt, pain, and hopelessness. This goal, I believe is shared by others who may not believe in God themselves, but share His qualities.

I am a kindred spirit with all men and women who vigilantly seek truth, be it spiritual or temporal. I applaud those who seek the truth at any cost, going against their society, the comforts of conformity and traditions, and above all else, the inescapable lure of their own self-serving nature. Our selfish nature is the enemy of all truth, both spiritual and temporal. This nature is so strong that it causes those who fall prey to it to see truth and abandon it for a lie because it enables them to fulfill their selfish desires and ambitions. Everyone without exception will fall prey to it, but a seeker of truth seeks to free himself or herself from it, moment by moment, little by little, all their lives in their journey to find real truth.

If I had in mind an audience who I thought would most enjoy reading things on this site, it would be for people who hunger for truth, not ones who are satisfied with short trite truthful statements, but people who want to know the path to find it themselves, not willing to take anyone else’s word for it. These are the men and women who are not satisfied to sit back and let others control what they believe and think, but rather those that get up and strike out into the night, into the unknown wilderness of the spiritual life: always wild, uncertain, and untamed. They want to know how to believe, not what to believe. This site is categorically against indoctrination of any system of belief or religion, and emphatically for using our God-given minds and hearts to their fullest potential to explore the selfless, less traveled, and difficult pathways on the road to truth. We are not the men and women who fit in any definate religion completely — we have trouble telling people where we stand in regards to which system we are closest to because we are not constrained by them. This is not because we are selfish and want to pick and choose between them all so as to tailor make one that suits our selfish natures and absolves us from personal responsibility, but rather we are picking and choosing what is TRUE from them, with rigerious thinking, pondering, and intense thought behind the process. Our beliefs are a work-in-progress.

I have enabled comments for any posts I make. The reason for this is that I am hoping someday to hear from others that are traveling the road to truth that I am, and they can share their thoughts about any subject of discussion and maybe be helped in their journey as well. Its good to have fellow travelers on this path, for it is a treacherous and discouraging one at times, but it is where the greatest life is.

Regards,

Jonathan

TruthandPurpose.com

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