Thank you to all my loyal readers.... Both of you.
Also thank you to the everyone who took the time to read my last post, even though it upset many people. I don't think that the sum of all of my blog hits this year are equal to the hits that last post received. Some left anonymous angry comments about how I didn't give the names of the people in many of the scenarios that I mentioned. First, The irony of posting about not naming names anonymously was not lost on me, I laughed about it later. I'm still having a chuckle about it now. Secondly, The main post that I didn't post names was because this wasn't about them. If I have something to say to someone, I generally say it to that someone. What I was writing about was concepts and things that I see in regards to people, not the people in of themselves.
When it comes to writing, one of the rules is to write what you know. As this is; a private blog, a place as advertised where I write my thoughts on God, man, sin, death, failure, triumph and all the laughter and anguish that they produce... I write my thoughts on various things that I know. I know frustrations at times through the wide reaching aspects of those who call them selves believers in God. Sometimes those frustrations are small aspects that I see that I find curious as to why things were done a certain way. I write doctrine as I understand it. I write transparent shortcomings when I do not meet my own expectations of what I value and hold to be true and right. Sometimes my thoughts echo a call to a higher standard for myself, and even my readers in the body of believers. That's right, both of you.
Now to clarify something that many people took issue with ( allegedly, as nobody strictly came right to me to discuss the issues they felt that were talking about them... but instead talked to a friend and a friend of a friend who talked to a family member who had a meeting and phone calls were made, but I digress)
"What good is it to discuss word pictures, arrangements of Hebrew letters, place values, star positions, iconography ... when you haven't the essentials of love?
"hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others."
Some of you read this passage and felt that I was speaking against such things as Hebrew letter pictures, or Number commentaries or star positioning. I was not speaking against such things but attempting to draw the conclusion that these are extracurricular academic ventures in regards ministry. The thrust must be interpersonal relationships and the aspects of heart improvement, life improvement, love improvement. These are intellectual candy. Candy is good. Everyone loves candy. If you eat candy every day all day your teeth will rot and you'll have other minor side effects such as death.
Another conclusion that was drawn from the italicized passage was the suggestion that I was chastising a specific group of people as not loving. I fully admit that I could have done a better job clarifying my points and I understand how some people got that conclusion even though that was not my intent. It wasn't to say why are we doing A, B, and C when we don't have love at all, and we're failures and hypocrites who don't have relationships with anyone. I can see how that could be interpreted, and again, not my intention. In one conversation I had with a gentleman ( heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another he was bothered by my post) He explained that he was hurt because He's a numbers guy and felt that I was saying that he doesn't love. In reality, my writing my post, I wasn't even thinking of him specifically. I assured the man that He is one of the most gracious and loving examples of righteousness that I have be fortunate enough to have met. I hold him in high regard because in his communication with me he has always been gentle and humble. I apologized for offense that I may have caused him even though it wasn't intentional, and I felt that the relationship grew a little deeper with better understanding from the exchange.
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Last Sukkot, I good friend of mine did a brief teaching titled "The Why". In it he discussed the importance of not just giving orders but explaining the Why we do the things that we do. We have customs and we have traditions, and many times we do them because.... well, it's what we do. Intellectualism and knowledgeable study is an asset. It is a strength. I acknowledge that.
But why? What are we gathering wood for? Occasionally we drift far from the Why. The Why is a Crucified Messiah for the sin of man. My sin. Your sin. Both of you.
"Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies" This caution isn't to say that by searching knowledge one forsakes love. This is the concept that I was trying to convey, the warning that knowledge and intellectualism can and does often distance a person from the very real and humanizing truth that we're all called to Love foremost. I quoted the passage about the pharisees as an illustration of a rebuke that the Savior gave to the scholars,The intellectuals, the learned men who know the Torah through and through, but have let that Knowledge case them to drift from the anchor of love.
I'm sure some would ask if I was implying that they aren't loving enough. I'd answer, are any of us? Can we ever?
... shouldn't we try?
.... Can't we do better?
With love and apologies from all of us here,
( Me, I count as two)
- Jay M. Muratore-