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Monday, February 16, 2015

Not to dismiss: Accepting the spiritual experiences of others

To those whose thoughts/circumstances I've incorporated into this blog entry, thank you, you know who you are...

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As you know, I'm a professed, not perfect, Christian.

I have my flaws and have made mistakes, but have tried to learn and them.  I will continue to make mistakes, but with God's help, they will be fewer and less profound.  But, I digress.

I try to see things through the eyes of God as I understand him.  It is my hope that my family and friends see what I see and come to appreciate my faith, but that leads to my overriding point.

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I think in this world, we often have preconceived notions of what is.  I believe the spiritual realm is so profound that there is no way we could grasp it in all its completeness and nuances at least on this side of our lives.

Anyway, we tend to have a need for answers, of absolute, visible proof of everything before we accept.  Hence the term, leap of faith for when we believe based on what we can't see.  In any case, how does one explain the profound evil in this world?  How does one explain the minor miracles that happen around us everyday?  How does one explain whom 'by chance' we meet, whom we connect with, whom comes into our lives?  Sure there some element of chance, but I believe God plays a huge role here.  Anyway, knowing what happens immediately around us and about us and in the world around us, it seems far fetched to not believe in the spiritual realm.  It seems unbelievable to reject the idea of a profound--but not seen--spiritual component in our lives.

Examples:
* If I am at my mom's grave-site and she's a (black) cat person and a stray black cat nearby gives me attention, who is to say that isn't a sign.

* If I considering starting a new chapter in my life and without warning I see a rainbow in the sky over the sun, why couldn't it be a sign from a recently passed loved one that it is time to move on from the previous chapter?

* If I have a dream in which I hear from a late family member, why couldn't it them reaching out to me?

Those are just some examples.  But, in my life, when my mom passed away unexpectedly last July (2014), I had already started planning a trip to Chicago.  It was her birth place and a place where she grew up and where she met my dad.  I wanted to do a trip with Olivia, but it was impractical to do a coastal trip at that point.  So, I wanted to go somewhere I could get relatively close.  A coworker suggested Chicago.  I'm like why not?   In the middle of planning the trip, as I mentioned, my mom passed away suddenly.  Before she passed away, she said, "I wish I could be there wish you".  Given her health, that was impractical.  But on the last day of my trip, I remembered that and I realized on some level that she was with me.   I miss my mom and wish I'd gotten to know her even better than I did.

Anyway, IMHO, who are we to decide what is or isn't a spiritual experience?  To me it strikes me as arrogant to dismiss out of hand what another person sees as a spiritual experience.  It's as if to say, I pretty well know God's mind and His ways.  No, I believe the spiritual realm is so profound we couldn't even begin to grasp it. All that being said, I believe there are limits to claims of the spiritual.  A Jim Jones who having his followers "drink the Koolaid" would seem to be an example of a claim of spiritual that isn't so--unless of course you are talking about Satanic.  Also, someone claiming every time they see a black cat to see their mom in it, could easily be seen as going over the top.  Sometimes a black cat is just simply what it is: a black cat.  But, there is so much we don't know, to dismiss out of hand that which we can't easily see or understand is presumptuous.


Just some musings.

This paradise wasn't paved with a parking lot, it was Hawaii