Saturday, July 19, 2008

"No Problem?"

(This is not an April Fools piece. This is just the day when it has finally perked to the top and out of my head and life is too short to wait for a more appropriate day.)

Our use of words is important. It informs our own thinking as well as communicating with others.

The response to “Thank you” changes when a person replaces “Your welcome” with “No problem.” The first one is an acceptance of the thanks, in my humble opinion. The second one sloughs off the thanks with a term that means… what?

We do it with religious/faith/spiritual words too. The words that we use inform ourselves as well as others.

There is what I think, what I feel, and what I believe.

To my mind, this week, what I believe relates to my religious faith and my grounding of ultimate reality. What I feel describes my emotions about a situation or person. What I think refers to realities of this world that I accept as fitting my worldview.

What I may think about the Iraq war helps describe what I see, read, hear is happening and my/our response to it. My emotional response to the Iraq situation expresses my feelings about it.

I accept both evolution and human causes of global warming as fitting the data, the research, and my perceptions and understanding of the world around me. Do I believe in evolution or the human causes of global warming? No more than I believe that we will have soup for dinner tonight. It is what I think and not what I believe.

I do not feel that Christ died and was resurrected. It is part of my faith and beliefs. I believe that Jesus the Christ acted in that way. Whether it is historical fact or metaphor matters little to me because either way it fits my faith and my response to God.

What I think about in the world changes as information about it more fully explains it. When 99% of the scientists surveyed interpret the data to show that humans have influenced global warming, then my acknowledgement of that situation changes to acceptance of it.

What I feel about a situation or person can also change depending upon changes in the situation or person. I can admire a governor one day and feel betrayed by his revealed actions another day.

Can my beliefs change? The apostle Thomas (doubting Thomas) changed his belief in the resurrected Jesus when Thomas placed his hands on the wounds of Jesus that came from his crucifixion. If Thomas can change his beliefs when circumstances present themselves, then surely I can change mine when I am confronted by the actions of Christ in our lives, of the work of the Holy Spirit, or of learning more about the Creator’s universe.

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