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"put The Fan By The Door"


DavidD
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It was hot again yesterday. I took a box fan into my bedroom as it was getting close to bedtime. I was going to put it on the dresser by the window, where I always put it, but was momentarily inhibited by all the things that had accumulated in the space for the fan since the last time I used it. Then the voice of the constant companion in my consciousness said, “David, put the fan by the door.” “Oh yeah! There is an outlet there, isn’t there?” There was a nice place at bed height to set the fan, too. It was much better than my plan. How did God know?

 

Any atheist I know would say this was just me. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew this solution, and it just comes to me through this imaginary God my mind has developed to process help for the more incompetent part of me. Right, the thing about that is I didn’t have the slightest glimmer of a clue in my consciousness that there was an outlet there. I recognized it when I saw it, but it may have been years since I plugged anything in there. I had every intention of just taking a minute to clear off where I previously had the fan. It was not a big deal. I admit in retrospect I had the very slightest discouragement that I couldn’t just put the fan down, but it was so slight I wasn’t thinking about it. I also had no visual clues that there was an alternative. My back was toward the place the Spirit knew was a better solution. I didn’t know. If my mind can do this without God, it’s just as significant as if God can do this, as a phenomenon that really is worth paying attention to and following. But the truth is I have no way of explaining this naturally.

 

When all of that dawned on me, I asked God how She did that. She said She could see the fan winding up there in the future. Why waste time? Besides it would make a good story to supplement these things She’s been wanting me to write about how one can indeed be led by the Spirit.

 

You know, She’s right again. It would make a good story. I wonder when I’m going to write it. Oh yeah, right now!

 

I forget if I shared this here before, but the first time I went to a charismatic church, in 1992, there was a time of praise reports. Now in the liberal churches of my youth, praise reports were thanking God for recovery from a serious illness, for a new job, something of substance like that. In this charismatic church, the praise reports were for God helping someone find her glasses, his car keys and get through a dental visit without incident. Huh? What does this great and glorious God of the universe have to do with such trivia? Well now I know. God loves me. He and She show it in countless ways everyday. I have learned to hear God and trust God regarding things just as trivial as when I first learned about living with the Spirit. It’s not an effort for God to be helpful. It’s certainly not a wasted effort for God to help us with trivial things. He’s not going to end poverty without us anyway. So how do we learn to trust God? We learn by many experiences that are much easier than upsetting one’s whole life to do something heroic. There may be no conscious awareness of God’s help early on, but as one draws closer to God, communication with God can become just as easy as I’ve described it here, just as easy as it’s described in the Bible. I’m sure the Bible is wrong about some things, but not everything.

 

Now there are plenty of Bible-believing Christians who report experiences like this, and I think their beliefs and their behavior are all wrong. Their behavior may be Christian in terms of being polite, but they do nothing to help the needy. They fan the flames of political and religious conflict. What goes on here? God says that they aren’t hearing Him well, but He loves them enough to help them where He can be heard. It is a limited experience of God that men like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have, but it’s more than nothing. God tells me there’s no way a large section of humanity will ever be in that constant contact with Him that some have. He wouldn’t be able to stand the way we treat each other. It takes so long to learn to do things God’s way, even though when one does, when one has died to the flesh and lives in the spirit, when one has given up one’s own inner 2 year-old who says no to everything, it is so much easier than living the natural way to live.

 

So why does He put up with the mess that the world is today? There’s no other way. The end justifies the means.

 

But within those means, there is love, for those who want it, for those willing to trust. The charismatic way is not for everyone. It may sound like I’m saying that it is when I say how wonderful some aspect of it is. I’m not saying that. I’m glad loveapple asked the questions he did in response to what I wrote about “God says so”. No one can say there’s only one possibility for God. I only say that there is indeed this possibility that rationally minded Christians shy away from. Hey, I can be very good at being rational. It’s just not the whole story.

 

Being charismatic has its advantages. That fan worked really well last night. This story could be better, but words are so limited, and it’s not enough to make a movie about, which I know nothing of how to do anyway. The Spirit is a powerful muse, but it takes more than that to convince anyone to live his or her life to end poverty, to live to end conflict. If God could do that easily, it would be done by now. It’s about much more than words or beliefs.

Edited by DavidD
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It was hot again yesterday. I took a box fan into my bedroom as it was getting close to bedtime. I was going to put it on the dresser by the window, where I always put it, but was momentarily inhibited by all the things that had accumulated in the space for the fan since the last time I used it. Then the voice of the constant companion in my consciousness said, “David, put the fan by the door.” “Oh yeah! There is an outlet there, isn’t there?” There was a nice place at bed height to set the fan, too. It was much better than my plan. How did God know?

 

Any atheist I know would say this was just me. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew this solution, and it just comes to me through this imaginary God my mind has developed to process help for the more incompetent part of me. Right, the thing about that is I didn’t have the slightest glimmer of a clue in my consciousness that there was an outlet there. I recognized it when I saw it, but it may have been years since I plugged anything in there. I had every intention of just taking a minute to clear off where I previously had the fan. It was not a big deal. I admit in retrospect I had the very slightest discouragement that I couldn’t just put the fan down, but it was so slight I wasn’t thinking about it. I also had no visual clues that there was an alternative. My back was toward the place the Spirit knew was a better solution. I didn’t know. If my mind can do this without God, it’s just as significant as if God can do this, as a phenomenon that really is worth paying attention to and following. But the truth is I have no way of explaining this naturally.

 

When all of that dawned on me, I asked God how She did that. She said She could see the fan winding up there in the future. Why waste time? Besides it would make a good story to supplement these things She’s been wanting me to write about how one can indeed be led by the Spirit.

 

You know, She’s right again. It would make a good story. I wonder when I’m going to write it. Oh yeah, right now!

 

I forget if I shared this here before, but the first time I went to a charismatic church, in 1992, there was a time of praise reports. Now in the liberal churches of my youth, praise reports were thanking God for recovery from a serious illness, for a new job, something of substance like that. In this charismatic church, the praise reports were for God helping someone find her glasses, his car keys and get through a dental visit without incident. Huh? What does this great and glorious God of the universe have to do with such trivia? Well now I know. God loves me. He and She show it in countless ways everyday. I have learned to hear God and trust God regarding things just as trivial as when I first learned about living with the Spirit. It’s not an effort for God to be helpful. It’s certainly not a wasted effort for God to help us with trivial things. He’s not going to end poverty without us anyway. So how do we learn to trust God? We learn by many experiences that are much easier than upsetting one’s whole life to do something heroic. There may be no conscious awareness of God’s help early on, but as one draws closer to God, communication with God can become just as easy as I’ve described it here, just as easy as it’s described in the Bible. I’m sure the Bible is wrong about some things, but not everything.

 

Now there are plenty of Bible-believing Christians who report experiences like this, and I think their beliefs and their behavior are all wrong. Their behavior may be Christian in terms of being polite, but they do nothing to help the needy. They fan the flames of political and religious conflict. What goes on here? God says that they aren’t hearing Him well, but He loves them enough to help them where He can be heard. It is a limited experience of God that men like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have, but it’s more than nothing. God tells me there’s no way a large section of humanity will ever be in that constant contact with Him that some have. He wouldn’t be able to stand the way we treat each other. It takes so long to learn to do things God’s way, even though when one does, when one has died to the flesh and lives in the spirit, when one has given up one’s own inner 2 year-old who says no to everything, it is so much easier than living the natural way to live.

 

So why does He put up with the mess that the world is today? There’s no other way. The end justifies the means.

 

But within those means, there is love, for those who want it, for those willing to trust. The charismatic way is not for everyone. It may sound like I’m saying that it is when I say how wonderful some aspect of it is. I’m not saying that. I’m glad loveapple asked the questions he did in response to what I wrote about “God says so”. No one can say there’s only one possibility for God. I only say that there is indeed this possibility that rationally minded Christians shy away from. Hey, I can be very good at being rational. It’s just not the whole story.

 

Being charismatic has its advantages. That fan worked really well last night. This story could be better, but words are so limited, and it’s not enough to make a movie about, which I know nothing of how to do anyway. The Spirit is a powerful muse, but it takes more than that to convince anyone to live his or her life to end poverty, to live to end conflict. If God could do that easily, it would be done by now. It’s about much more than words or beliefs.

 

 

I have to admit a God who can be concerned enough to tell you to put the fan by the door on a hot night, but not bothered to answer in a positive way prayers for the life of dying child, it a very strange entity indeed!

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I have to admit a God who can be concerned enough to tell you to put the fan by the door on a hot night, but not bothered to answer in a positive way prayers for the life of dying child, it a very strange entity indeed!

 

Not strange, just limited in what He can do. I have looked at presentations of supposed medical miracles. There's always some mistake in the interpretation of what happened. Someone was said to have cancer, but to a trained eye it's a bad diagnosis. Someone claims a recovery was miraculous, but ignores that there was actually some conventional treatment along the way. Twice over the years I happened to be watching when evangelicals on TV presented supposed miracles and put up MRI's on the screen, which I can read. Both times I could say, "Oh, that's not what they're saying it is." James Robison presented the case of a girl who developed double vision and someone thought she had a tumor on her MRI. Then there was prayer and whatever, and the tumor went away. Only there was no tumor. They showed her MRI, and that's no tumor. It might be a first attack of MS or a different sort of inflammation that goes away. Whatever it was, her course was natural, not a miracle.

 

Then on Pat Robertson's show they showed a woman with sarcoidosis who supposedly had a brain tumor as well. Her MRI was that of someone with neurosarcoidosis. That was it, no tumor. Someone had made a mistake, and rather than anyone say, "Oh, that was a mistake," they let her believe in her miracle when she got better after being treated just for the sarcoidosis. No miracle.

 

Medicine is a tricky business. It's always hard to know if someone's diagnosis is accurate. There are many things that are hard to know. But if God did medical miracles, there are so many that would not be subtle at all. If an amputated limb grew back, now that would be a miracle, and no one would quibble. To my knowledge, that has never happened.

 

From what I know, inside me, outside me, inside medicine and physics, outside things where I have expertise, God never has done a physical miracle, ever. I don't know why. Some would say He could, but chooses not to. I find that hard to believe. That's not what He tells me. He can get into my consciousness. Why He doesn't get into everyone's consciousness the same way, I don't know. I do know that even as a liberal, I had prejudices about God that I had to overcome. Things would happen that I just wanted God to fix. If He could do that, the problem might not have arisen. I had to learn that it's not God who's the problem, on any issue. Our false perceptions of God are a big part of the problem. That's why I say "real" God a lot. He is not what people think He is. He says that if you're ready to hear it.

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Not strange, just limited in what He can do. I have looked at presentations of supposed medical miracles. There's always some mistake in the interpretation of what happened. Someone was said to have cancer, but to a trained eye it's a bad diagnosis. Someone claims a recovery was miraculous, but ignores that there was actually some conventional treatment along the way. Twice over the years I happened to be watching when evangelicals on TV presented supposed miracles and put up MRI's on the screen, which I can read. Both times I could say, "Oh, that's not what they're saying it is." James Robison presented the case of a girl who developed double vision and someone thought she had a tumor on her MRI. Then there was prayer and whatever, and the tumor went away. Only there was no tumor. They showed her MRI, and that's no tumor. It might be a first attack of MS or a different sort of inflammation that goes away. Whatever it was, her course was natural, not a miracle.

 

Then on Pat Robertson's show they showed a woman with sarcoidosis who supposedly had a brain tumor as well. Her MRI was that of someone with neurosarcoidosis. That was it, no tumor. Someone had made a mistake, and rather than anyone say, "Oh, that was a mistake," they let her believe in her miracle when she got better after being treated just for the sarcoidosis. No miracle.

 

Medicine is a tricky business. It's always hard to know if someone's diagnosis is accurate. There are many things that are hard to know. But if God did medical miracles, there are so many that would not be subtle at all. If an amputated limb grew back, now that would be a miracle, and no one would quibble. To my knowledge, that has never happened.

 

From what I know, inside me, outside me, inside medicine and physics, outside things where I have expertise, God never has done a physical miracle, ever. I don't know why. Some would say He could, but chooses not to. I find that hard to believe. That's not what He tells me. He can get into my consciousness. Why He doesn't get into everyone's consciousness the same way, I don't know. I do know that even as a liberal, I had prejudices about God that I had to overcome. Things would happen that I just wanted God to fix. If He could do that, the problem might not have arisen. I had to learn that it's not God who's the problem, on any issue. Our false perceptions of God are a big part of the problem. That's why I say "real" God a lot. He is not what people think He is. He says that if you're ready to hear it.

 

 

I would certainly agree that I think it unlikely that God intervenes in a physical way in this world. You might be right that God is the enabler behind the miracles of modern medicine, I must give that more thought, thanks David.

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I would certainly agree that I think it unlikely that God intervenes in a physical way in this world. You might be right that God is the enabler behind the miracles of modern medicine, I must give that more thought, thanks David.

 

My take on this question comes from process theology, which says that omnipotence is not a characteristic of God (Charles Hartshorne, the theologian who took Whitehead's process thought and developed it into process theology, once even wrote a book called Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes.) According to this view, God acts by offering possibilities to a world that is characterized by free will; each "occasion of experience" involves taking into account the world as it is (which is the product of every event that preceded it), and also taking into account the possibility offered by God, and then responding to it.

 

The idea of Divine intervention was seen as problematic as we increased our scientific understanding of the world. Believers in divine miracles were then left with using God as an explanation for just those areas of the physical world that we didn't understand--"The God of the Gaps". The problem was that as our knowledge of the physical world increased, the gaps kept getting smaller. "The God of the Gaps" seemed philosophically untenable. The thing about medical science is that the processes of the body are so difficult for us to observe in detail, so it continues to serve as one big Gap where many believers continue to think that God acts. How this allegedly happens isn't clear to me--apparently God flips some quantum switches somewhere in the atoms of a body, and then the person gets better. Or something like that. But then, there are still the bigger moral problems, about why this God, as a patriarchal master of the world who dispenses favors when we pray for them, chooses to let some suffer and die but not others. Trying to pass it off the decisions as to who gets helped and who doesn't as some unknowable mystery involving God's will doesn't make a lot of sense to me. One of the most saintly Christians I know has suffered for years from a debilitating spinal condition that is slowly killing him; all the prayer in the world hasn't done a thing to save him. In any case, this patriarchal image of God the master is not something that I accept. That is one reason why I like the idea of process theology, which is steeped in a panentheist conception of God who includes all the world (but is also more than the world).

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The problem was that as our knowledge of the physical world increased, the gaps kept getting smaller. "The God of the Gaps" seemed philosophically untenable. The thing about medical science is that the processes of the body are so difficult for us to observe in detail, so it continues to serve as one big Gap where many believers continue to think that God acts. How this allegedly happens isn't clear to me--apparently God flips some quantum switches somewhere in the atoms of a body, and then the person gets better.

 

I may be wrong, but I think this particular gap is wishful thinking. There are other gaps where one can wonder, such as the gap that there was some ultimate creation of the universe before that split second after the Big Bang that modern physics understands very well. Consciousness remains potentially a huge gap, depending on whether my neuroscience colleagues really can show someday that they can explain everything in the mind with physical processes in the brain. I believed that without question until I started having spiritual experiences. Then I started to wonder - can we really fit all these memories into a physical brain, things like that?

 

There really aren't processes of the physical body that are unknown, that I can think of. Disease isn't mysterious any more, for the most part. We understand so many factors, but that doesn't mean we can know whether the bacteria are going to win or if someone's immune system will beat them off. That's not quantum switches. That's watching a battle from a distance where the outcome depends on a whole lot of individual fights. Some systems are more predictable than others.

 

Even if there were some dark recesses of human physiology where God feels compelled to hide to do His miracles, why would He? I make that point about amputations often. Is it that making an amputated limb grow back is too much new tissue? Well, OK, then there's just this limitation to explain instead of the limitation that I think is more likely, which is that God does no physical miracles whatsoever. Either way there's some limitation that deserves an explanation.

 

As I was saying, I see in myself as a liberal, at one time skeptical of there being any miracles, a desire that God make big interventions, ones of life and death, black and white, like so many people want of God, even liberals. What if this is just childish? What if rejecting that God can do any miracle is only a little less childish?

 

I get excited by how many miracles God has done for me, but there as so many that one thing is unmistakeable - they are all mental. I've prayed for many things, mental and physical. I never got anything physical. I show gratitude to God when I have some good outcome physically, but both God and I know that I'm sharing my joy with Him, but He didn't give me that joy, not directly. Yet when it comes to mental miracles, circumstances are such that it's unmistakeable that God is the cause, as I describe in the original message here.

 

I have prayed regularly for direction, strength and comfort. I have received direction, strength and comfort. It is nothing like praying for physical miracles where there is constant disappointment. You have to pray long enough and effectively enough to see this pattern. I haven't found anyone saying this in print, but I have found it in my life. Now maybe it's just me. I doubt it, but maybe so. Or maybe there is something more general in evidence. All I can do is share my experience and my suspicion that there is plenty to receive from God, but nothing physical. I am adapted to life through evolution, but life doesn't love me. God loves me, but I haven't found Him coming through my body to show it, just my mind.

Edited by DavidD
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  • 3 weeks later...
So why does He put up with the mess that the world is today? There’s no other way. The end justifies the means.

 

Perhaps, this is where your error may be. In my experience, God does not 'put up' with anything. God is not a limited man that God 'puts up' or 'not puts up' with anything. God is the very essence of love and peace and truth and not the creator of 'your world'. Your world is your illusion. And the end surely does not justify the means in anything concerning man or God. God is not found in the ego of man. And God has no need to 'justify' anything.

 

First of all, the only mess in the world is that which you see with the perception of your mind which is highly limited for many reasons. First it has physical limitations and is prone to forgetting, second it has a lifetime/(s) of programming by a morass of different individual experience, parents, society, culture, the teachings of men etc. etc., third, it is further limited by languaging and by itself the mind is incapable of even discerning truth from falsehood. History itself is the evidence of such things.

 

Even the Bible talks of 'Dying to the carnal mind' and how is is not subject to the laws of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7) One does not understand God with their mind. One experiences God with their being because God is the very source of being and mind is only a phenomena that thinks it has life of its own. Its projections makes this world a 'mess' when in reality all is already complete and what you see and project is merely an evolution of phenomena you identify as "I" that has forgotten its source but inevitable will re-discover it in the minds concept of time.

 

Just a difference of opinion to consider.

 

Love in Christ ,

JM

Edited by JosephM
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I have to admit a God who can be concerned enough to tell you to put the fan by the door on a hot night, but not bothered to answer in a positive way prayers for the life of dying child, it a very strange entity indeed!

 

 

I had a similar thought. A friend found a name badge and decided it was God who had led her to it. Later that same day my husband told me the story of a man who had been exonerated after 18 years in prison of raping someone. It seemed to me that God should be more concerned about making sure people who are innoncent don't go to jail than name badges. It is a s strange god some people worship/believe in.

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I had a similar thought. A friend found a name badge and decided it was God who had led her to it. Later that same day my husband told me the story of a man who had been exonerated after 18 years in prison of raping someone. It seemed to me that God should be more concerned about making sure people who are innoncent don't go to jail than name badges. It is a s strange god some people worship/believe in.

 

 

I agree with you October. The God some people would have us believe in is a bit like someone playing a rather sick game. :angry: Yes you can have a fine day for the church BBQ but you can't have rain in a drought striken area! I remember a few years ago a young woman's family were praising God thinking he had performed a miracle of healing on her breast cancer. The poor girl was only in a short remission and three months later she was found to have secondaries everywhere, she died not long after! I am of the opinion that God can't physically intervene in our world and the only tools he has are our good selves!

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I am of the opinion that God can't physically intervene in our world and the only tools he has are our good selves!

 

That is also what I have seen. God gave us a brain and expects us to use it! In some cases I think expecting miracles is laziness. God will take care of it, I don't have to do anything. I was very disappointed to see a Progressive post something on another forum to that effect. arghhh.

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Perhaps, this is where your error may be. In my experience, God does not 'put up' with anything. God is not a limited man that God 'puts up' or 'not puts up' with anything. God is the very essence of love and peace and truth and not the creator of 'your world'. Your world is your illusion. And the end surely does not justify the means in anything concerning man or God. God is not found in the ego of man. And God has no need to 'justify' anything.

 

First of all, the only mess in the world is that which you see with the perception of your mind which is highly limited for many reasons. First it has physical limitations and is prone to forgetting, second it has a lifetime/(s) of programming by a morass of different individual experience, parents, society, culture, the teachings of men etc. etc., third, it is further limited by languaging and by itself the mind is incapable of even discerning truth from falsehood. History itself is the evidence of such things.

 

Even the Bible talks of 'Dying to the carnal mind' and how is is not subject to the laws of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7) One does not understand God with their mind. One experiences God with their being because God is the very source of being and mind is only a phenomena that thinks it has life of its own. Its projections makes this world a 'mess' when in reality all is already complete and what you see and project is merely an evolution of phenomena you identify as "I" that has forgotten its source but inevitable will re-discover it in the minds concept of time.

 

Just a difference of opinion to consider.

 

Love in Christ ,

JM

 

 

Yes, yes, and yes. Once you realize that good and bad are relative it all gets unclear again. Who are we to decide if it is tragic that a young person dies in a car accident or fortunate that a mother gets a heart transplant??? I think that we have to be aware of our very limited and time and culture bound perspective. If there is a point to the universe then, no doubt it is progressing as it should. If not, then why get in a dither? :D

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