In Daniel 6, we see a young exile, Daniel, now in a position of influence yet facing, the challenge of an edict strategically designed for his demise by jealous peers. Knowing is daily habit of prayer, his sole source of strength in this foreign land, they had cajoled an egotistical King to prohibit prayer to others them himself.
In this moment of potential political loss, Daniel not only prayed but opened the windows to his upper room, exposing himself to even further probability of loss.
"And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem); and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime."
Somehow as I age and find myself in conflict with culture and to a degree the Institutional Church, I am inclined to throw open my "upper chamber", laying bare my mind in a similar fashion for all to hear.
Maybe this blog and my few books represent that window. I am however, reminded of what the leader in I Kings 22 once said about Micaiah, one of four disciples of Elijah, when recommended as a source for wisdom: "Is not there another prophet, as this one never has anything positive to say about me?" (Paraphrased).
I would love to think I hear from God at that level, but also would love a more positive word than often seems my own.
This morning my head is focused on the practical impact of true spiritual balance, verses the parroting of scriptural text for the sake of demonstrating alignment with this sacred book, The Bible.
If "God breathed" once, can God not breathe again in us, now that Christ lives in us by the Spirit. Cannot not this breath of God then have practical applications for our sick society, one that is driving up an enormous debt while amassing huge private wealth, simultaneously with an extreme and punishing wealth gap?
I know what this must sound like to my evangelical friends some firm in their attempts to explain the Bible by the Bible, but something seems now awry in Christianity.
My early science training and firm belief that Christ was first manifest in Creation, long before the Canon, takes me to some relatively recent studies of Motherhood. All this brought to mind by a video shown in a recent church service (yes, I am still churched) that verified the impact of a smile on a baby's development of trust, etc.
Motherhood and brain development determine the raw material for a balanced capitalistic society. Human capital is a word often used in industry where ROI and bottom line is concerned.
I know how I am sounding and as a Christ follower, using this stark, rather rank capitalistic language most certainly troubles me.
However, shock value sells!
This world, one driven more and more by dictatorial oligarchs and high wealth capitalists than spiritually balanced philanthropists will become even more stressful, the longterm effects then naturally manifestjng an even more calloused capitalism. The right and left extremes are played against each other to sustain this madness, while the benefactors, the one percent, ignore the rapidly growing wealth gap, given their lust for wealth and for some megamillion dollar yachts.
Yet, I am amazed that they seem not to understand or in fact lack the wisdom to see that in so doing, they diminish their own raw material, human capital, threaten societal health, our global security and now their critical supply chains.
Why can’t we learn, as so much seems evident even from the first moments each of us lie between our mother's breasts.
Science confirms that a mother's breasts can detect even a one degree fluctuation in baby's body temperature and adjust accordingly to heat up or cool down baby as needed. Meanwhile we ignore the cries of our culture, one starved for affirmation, with their spiritual temperatures in fever mode!
“Pediatricians are growing increasingly alarmed about the dangers of so-called “toxic stress”—certain kinds of childhood experiences, like turmoil, violence, and neglect, that, when chronic, can alter brain structure and chemistry and hurt a child’s chances of long-term success. Harsh parenting by itself won’t necessarily doom a child, but when combined with other stressors, it might.”
“When bad things happen early in life, whether you remember them or not, the brain doesn’t forget,” Jack Shonkoff, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said at a recent conference in Washington, DC.
“According to a study out of Israel, researchers discovered that when moms and babies look at each other and when moms interact with babies in general, they coordinate heart rhythms within “lags less than one second.” The study also showed that 3-month-old infants and their mothers could synchronize their heartbeats to milliseconds when sharing a smile. And interestingly enough, this only worked for mothers with their babies, not someone else’s.”
Surrogate mothers and sperm donors may afford options for those desiring offspring, even same sex couples however, serious hurdles may soon be faced if those offspring know only the mercies of our present culture, one diminished in its capacity for sustainability, even so much as to respect natural maternity.
Horror stories can evolve over generations of poverty and stress. “Denise Dowd, who works at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, mentors mothers who are victims of poverty and domestic violence. “You can’t imagine what they’re going through,” she told me “We’re talking about not just sexual abuse, but your mother selling you into prostitution, your mother shooting you up for the first time when you’re 12 so you can get through your first tricks okay.”
Isaiah 49:15-17 Amplified Bible (AMP)
[The LORD answered] “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.”
There is hope in Christ!
These statistical "prophecies" hold serious implications for the long term of this most prosperous nation in history, as she abandons her spiritual moorings, likely because of a religious mediocrity gone to seed, a comfortable status quo that has lost its ability to transfer any significant spiritual heritage.
Adopting a spiritual language relevant to the culture is becoming more and more difficult, if one dares be politically correct (Daniel was not), while we continue to religiously align with a dated Canon of scripture while distancing ourseves from access to true spiritual gifts as demonstrated after Pentecost and well into the first few centuries of the pre-Constantine Church.
Don't hear me throwing the "baby out with the wash", for the Canon itself has always been progressive, yet soiled by the thoughts that those whose lives, so opposite of the Christ though captured in the text are used to validate warfare, slavery and polygamy. All this negates the truth so evident in the life if Christ.
Back to my favorite mantra, Christ was first manifest in Creation, secondly in The Word become flesh, thirdly the ody of Christ, the Ecclesia.
Living the Christ in You, affords His Kingdom on earth. We are the challenge, not the text!
Declaring the words of scripture as God breathed, apart from a new “breath of God” by the Spirit, diminishes the true joy of life and limits mankind to temporary materialistic prosperity (oxymoron), professional and academic achievements, many of which are accessible only to the wealthy, save the benefits of some meager philanthropy by way of nonprofits, foundations, etc, more and more a means of tax evasion.
Our families are perishing and our children confused even to their own sexual identity, now being raised by parents equally confused, some even demanding that the children be allowed to make decisions and if need be have surgical and pharmaceutical remedies made available in the name of healthcare. All of this mandated long before puberty has stabilized and affirmed a child's personal sexuality beyond obvious anatomy.
Gender bias then compounds this trauma by labeling traits as either male or female that often together would otherwise create a more balanced human being, better able to care for their offspring.
Unhealthy parenting, absent sufficient role models sets a cultural trajectory that causes otherwise stable, compassionate human beings (human capital) better able to manage prosperity and avoid the poverty trap that is undermining our nation.
Meanwhile technology is creating even lesser need for humans to accomplish menial task, thus reducing the probability of any serious closing of the wealth gaps as jobs disappear. Gen Z'rs know that, becoming more difficult to "manage". I use that word facetiously in hope that we give some space to what the Spirit may be up to in the next 4 generations, that come behind me!
Fortunately, there seems to be a growing number of entrepreneurs who recognize the benefits of a more compassionate capitalism and hold beliefs sufficient to escape the religious regression in our country while recognizing the need to encourage a spiritual renewal. I meet with many in my backyard cabin almost monthly, quite the privilege as a Boomer!
In other words, a reawakening may be occurring as our offspring sense the disparity that capitalism has afforded on the Church’s watch. Quite the contrast to the Christ she has represented.
I am hopeful, though like Micaiah, even Elijah, willing to sound negative if need be.