Dedicated To An Expanded Awareness of God's "Mystery ... Which Is Christ In You"
You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me, and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. John 5:39,40
T he Bible labels Solomon as the wisest man to have ever lived in the past, or to ever live in the future. But that label was an enigma to me for many years when I thought of his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines and the resultant confusion in his life. How could a person who had "wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore", that "surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt" (1 Kings 4), start his reign as king with such an advantage and end it in total disillusionment and frustration? The answer lies in seeing the proper distinction between the words "knowledge", "wisdom", and "understanding". A failure to properly distinguish these words will keep the door of comprehension closed on many Scriptural passages, as well as on many life situations.
The term "knowledge" can include both intellectual knowing (information) and inner knowing (enlightment). The former, without the latter, is impersonal and deadening, but the two together are creatively life-giving to both ourselves and those around us. As used in this article, "knowledge" is assumed to include spiritual knowledge-a mature recognition and enlightenment of the One who is THE PRINCIPLE and THE LAW of all of life.
True knowledge includes both the knowledge of THE PRINCIPLE ("the knowledge of the Holy One", a person) as well as the knowledge of spiritual principles ("the knowledge of His will", as revealed in the Bible). To know THE PRINCIPLE is to know principles, but the reverse is not true. Though exposure to God's principles can teach us much about Him who is the PRINCIPLE, it is imperative that we see Him in the principles, as all objective principles must be subjectively applied to life situations. Paul's longing was "to know Him" (Phil.3:10), not
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 3
just to know more about Him and His principles.
"Wisdom", or advice, is a recommended decision or course of conduct based on knowledge. Wisdom is the application of proper principles (laws-the way things work) to life situations. Faced with major decisions in the kingdom which he inherited from his father, Solomon asked for wisdom-the gift of "discernment to understand justice". Though the granting of this gift enabled him to properly judge and serve the people of his kingdom, it was no guarantee that he would apply wisdom in the personal decisions affecting his own life.
"Understanding", or demonstration, is personal application of wisdom to a life situation. All understanding is wisdom, but wisdom is not necessarily understanding. Solomon was able to discern good and evil for the benefit of his people, but he failed miserably to personally apply his wisdom. He wrote most of the book of Wisdom (Proverbs), but another of his books, Ecclesiastes, reveals the frustration that ensues when knowledge and wisdom are not properly applied in our personal lives. This explanation of the distinction between wisdom and understanding accounts for the disparity between the good advice given by Solomon to others, and his personal, miserable performance.
The application of "understanding" in a marriage relationship is a prime illustration. Have you ever noticed how simple it is to give good marital advice compared to following that same advice in your own marriage? If I had followed my own advice to others through the years, the first 34 years of my marriage would have been a lot smoother. A lot of people raised their eyebrows when they heard recently that Ann Landers, the respected marriage consultant, was being divorced after 25 or 30 years of marriage. Giving advice is always easier than following it.
Many books agree that 1 Peter 3:7 is key advice for husbands-"You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow-heir of the grace of life." But what is the primary ingredient in "an understanding way" that is so all-important? The answer is: a willingness to die that others may live. 2 Corinthians 4:12 says, "So death works in us, but life in you." Nature and Scripture are replete with illustrations that there is no new life without prior substitute death. A husband must live in a way in which he constantly acknowledges his co-death and co-resurrection with Christ, that his wife might live. (Wives would guarantee themselves happier and more fulfilling marriages if they too lived with their spouses "in an understanding way".)
Understanding is demonstrated by self-giving love. Once again, acknowledgment based on inner awareness is the key. Acknowledge union-life. Acknowledge your death to sin, the Law and the flesh. Acknowledge the replaced life-that new life in Christ with its resultant self-giving love. This is the volitional response that will bring you to a new awareness that you truly are a person of understanding.
A couple of years ago I completed the syllabus for a Christian growth seminar which I entitled "The Designer's Blueprint For Happiness". Based on the eight qualities of life listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7, I had developed a practical systematic theology using a multitude of scriptural insights. The mimeographed materials that were to be given to students consisted over three hundred pages of principles, illustrations and readings.
Only recently I saw that to try to see Scriptural principles without seeing Him who is THE PRINCIPLE is to try to see truths without seeing Him who is Truth. To try to see life without seeing Him who is Life is like trying to see love without seeing Him who is Love. The entire emphasis and approach of my syllabus had to be changed. (Do you know anyone who wants to buy 30,000 sheets of scratch paper cheap?)
There is a wonderful emphasis today on the principles of Scripture. Those who are called to this emphasis (as I was for many years) are heeding the admonition to "teach and preach these principles" (1 Tim.6:2). When properly seen as witnesses to Him who is THE PRINCIPLE of life, principles are great. But these principles must not degenerate into a new law. Man has always gravitated toward the law, because there is always that residue of hope that in our "separated selves" there dwells some good thing (even though Romans 7:18 says unequivocably, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh").
The songwriter brother of the evangelist, John Wesley, was Charles Wesley. He bordered on union-life truth when he capitalized the word "Principle" in his song, "I want a Principle within". But his use of the word "want" is to speak a word of separation and unbelief, instead of a word of faith. Another song needs to be written with a title that is a positive acknowledgment: "I have a Principle within".
Unless we come to Christ when we come to the Scriptures (or to a Bible study, or to a church service, or to a "Jesus" rally, or to a Seminar on principles, or to any other meeting or fellowship), we will not receive Life. We might receive mental comprehension, or have our ears tickled, or experience a subjective "high"; but we will not receive that Life which manifests itself in love to others.
"Let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ" (Col.2:16,17). As mature, free spirits, we have a single eye on Him who is THE PRINCIPLE, and we do not have to look to human advice or even Scriptural principles for our decisions. Though I appreciate many of those who are involved in the current "shepherding" emphasis in some Charismatic circles, the failure of the leaders to adequately help the "sheep" to see their full competency in Christ will retard their growth and reinforce feelings of guilt, inadequacy and incompetence. It would not be inaccurate to say that the shepherding emphasis is turning many legitimate groups into "cults".
Many of us have been challenged for years to study the Scripture because of the admonition of 2 Timothy
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2:15-"Study to show thyself approved unto God, etc." We interpreted this to mean that the more we studied the Scriptures, the more approved we would be of God. Once again we erroneously assumed that performance based on principles would gain God's approval.
But that same verse paraphrased from a union-life perspective brings you to a far different and far superior application. "Study the Scriptures and 'handle accurately the word of truth', that you might prove to yourself that you are approved by God. Study to show how approved you are in Christ." The primary purpose of the Bible is not to underscore our need, but to reveal the fact that complete Supply is available within each individual.
What is your reaction when people interrupt your Bible study or devotional times? Would your spiritual temperature drop substantially if you couldn't have those times for a couple of weeks? As important as the Scriptures are, they are still just a witness of pre-existing inner Truth. We must have an inner consciousness of Union and Oneness with God when we come to the Bible, or we will not experience His Life, which is Love.
OF HEAD KNOWLEDGE
When we are exposed to someone who really "knows the Word", most of us tend to be very impressed. We erroneously assume that there is a correlation between how much one knows about scripture and his empirical Christian performance. If only we knew more, we too would act more "Christ-like". If only we read our Bible more, memorized more verses, and meditated more on the Word, we too would have more faith, more power, and more love. But all head knowledge, even knowledge of scriptural principles, is merely wisdom of this world, which Paul classified as "foolishness before God" (1 Cor.3:19).
Since I am a lawyer, it is not surprising that for years I have catalogued the commandments and principles of Scripture just as lawyers catalogue the legal rulings of the various courts of law. Only a proverbial Philadelphia lawyer can understand some to the fine-line distinctions which courts have drawn to justify their decisions. And only a Philadelphia theologian can distinguish all of the seemingly conflicting statements of the Bible. Certainly most reasonable men would have trouble reconciling the two statements in each of the pairs of verses set out below, as well as a hundred other pairs that might be cited.
Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee. Mark 5:19 (Share your testimony with others.)
And he charged them that they should tell no man Mark 7:36 (Do not share your testimony with others.)
Carry no purse, no bag, no shoes. Luke 10:4 (Take no provisions.)
But now, let him who has a purse take it along Luke 22.•35 (Take provisions when you go out.)
There remains no sacrifice for sins. Heb. 10:26 (You can fall from Grace.)
No one shall snatch them out of My hand. John 10:28 (You cannot fall from Grace.)
Undoubtedly, some readers will have no trouble distinguishing and delineating one or more of the above pairs, based on historical context, or on another translation of the Greek, or on dispensationalism, or on Old Testament prophecy, or on something. But I said "most reasonable men" would have difficulty.
In any event, we must learn that none of the above principles, nor any others, are meant to be absolutes that are to apply to every comparable situation. The fact is that it is just as impossible to identify the "comparable situation" as it is to delineate the principles. Have you ever noticed how often godly men with different persuasions and contrary advice come up with a reasonable scriptural basis to justify their approach to the same problem? Who and what are we going to listen to? Any attempt to make decisions based solely on the outer application of supposedly objective principles of Scripture is foolishness.
Man's desire to classify truth and automatically apply principles to life's questions is just another manifestation of his love for creeds and mental beliefs. I'm surprised that some enterprising Christian has not devised an IBM computer program which would "scripturally determine the will of God" as to any question fed into the computer. With the advent of computerized dating and mating, why not a computerized will of God?
I am convinced that God purposely introduced the contrast of seemingly conflicting principles in the Bible so that in his frustration man would turn to the inner Source for his answers. Inner knowing, not head knowledge, is the proper basis for making a decision. Both wisdom and understanding are given to man by intuition and revelation. "If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously" (James 1:5). The asking does not necessarily take the conventional form of prayer, but rather is an attitude of Christconsciousness. With such an awareness we have confidence that our decisions are His decisions.
God's advice is "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps.46:10). Man has changed it to, "Become something on earth by knowing more principles about God who is in heaven." Instead of just "being" (experiencing unified existence), we stress "becoming" (attainment). Instead of inner knowing with the heart, we stress outer knowing with the mentality. Since our premises are based on a separated outlook (we are earthbound and God is in heaven), our final conclusion is also separated. Instead of coming to the truth that "I am a form of the unified God right now", we conclude that He wants us to be quiet and worship Him as an external God, with the hope that someday (presumably after the rapture) things will be different.
John 5:39,40 could well be paraphrased, "You search the scriptures for principles, as if in the principles you have life. Though the principles do bear witness of me, you must see through the principles to Me if you really want Life." It is the awareness of our union with Christ and his expressions here on earth that brings life, not the mental absorption of principles. Face the truth that even Scriptural principles are foolishness unless we see through to THE PRINCIPLE within.
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 5
Editor: One of our readers in California (Elanor) sent me a copy of a letter from a close friend in Illinois (Agnes), together with her response to that letter. The light that comes from this sequence of letters is well worth sharing. Letter writing can be a rewarding ministry if our letters encourage our friends to see with a single eye and refocus on the Christ within.
I'm free, praise the Lord, I'm free!
First, I want to apologize for not writing sooner to tell you what has happened to me. For many years, I have known that God was opening my mind to receive more and more truth, and many times I would rejoice in knowing this and in the measure of freedom from various self-bondages. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." However, the feelings of freedom were so fleeting, and the joy that I expected seemed almost never to be there. But always there was deep peace that I was on the right track.
When I wrote you last September, I had just about finished reading my third Lanyon book and was really discouraged because the reality of freedom that I saw in the books appeared to be beyond my grasp. And I tried so hard to "grasp" it. Ed Gregory, in his periodical, "Spirit of the Word", said that his readers might like to order the three Lanyon books and the three Grubb books that had ministered to him and many others. He casually said, "If you do, you will never be the same again."
I ordered these books and remember saying before opening the first one, "Lord, Ed promised that whoever reads these six books will never be the same again. You know the desire in my heart to be free inside, and I'm expecting You to do the same for me as you have done for the others. Thank You, Lord." Within a week or two after talking with you on the phone I read the last chapter of the six books that I had ordered, and joy welled up within me. There was no more grasping, but a complete relaxing-and that rest in my spirit and feeling of free-ness has been with me ever since. Praise His Name!
Secondly, I am writing to ask you a favor. As you can see, I am enclosing a letter I recently received from my friend, Agnes. My heart goes out to her. Since you are both in the same state, I thought that you might be able to help her as you feel led. I'm also enclosing my letter of reply to her.
Thanking you, In Him, Eleanor
You haven't heard from me in all this time because I once again landed in the hospital for over a month. This time it was because of severe depression. I became afraid of harming myself, so I signed myself in.
Along with all my physical problems I am diagnosed as a manic-depressive having never reached the mania stage just normal, then depressed. I am being treated with lithium for this state but notice no difference in mood with the medication. I was in a great hospital with fine nurses and doctors who were extremely kind and concerned about each patient.
My doctor doesn't feel I can work for the next six months, if then, so I am on Public Aid which gives me a whopping $175.00 per month while my rent is $180.00. So to make up some of my other expenses I am baby sitting two days a week and looking for more such work.
Eleanor, my doctor says I was dealt unlucky cards, but maybe he can help me play the game. I don't know why God gave me such a deck and I do "fret" inside, but sometimes I'm with you and feel that it all is for a purpose and that the purpose has to be a glorious one. However, this feeling is still a fleeting one, and much of the time I feel all alone in a large universe. Some of my loneliness probably stems from living alone.
I thank you for the literature. I have read some of it and will have to get back to reading it some more and back to reading the Bible which I have not done in years. Slowly, slowly I believe God is working in my life, but He has such a stubborn, angry vessel in me that "fighting the good fight" has been a long, tedious, one-step-forward-three steps-backward fight.
I told you I write poetry. There is much that is angry, much that shows deep hurt, and much that wishes to be able to start life all over again. I wish you lived closer and that we could spend hours and hours talking about these things. Your letters and visits are always an inspiration to me, so please write soon, and I promise I shall answer.
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"Come up hither-in the Son realm, No dragon here abides.
For the sure Word now has conquered, And in Him we have our Life.
As the kingdoms of men crumble, Have no fear just stand and see; That the kingdom of our Father Is brought forth in you and me!"
"The kingdom of God
is within you." Luke 17.-21
That's where it's taking place, honey-in you. All the beasts to be overcome and the battles to be fought and won are inside of us. We are so used to eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and seeing with duality, that sometimes it takes years (and some never seem to realize)
before we come to know that there is a higher realm. And in this realm, we have chosen to reject the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to partake of the tree of life. We have chosen to look not with a double vision, but to see with a single eye.
The knowledge that God is within (he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit) and that His love for us is unchangeable and eternal enables us to see and understand that He has ordained that we go through everything, so that we might ultimately be conformed to the image of His Son. No longer do we blame Satan, other people, or ourselves, for the socalled bad luck.
We want so much to be accepted and loved. So we take a look at ourselves and see how unlovable we are, look at our own faults and despise ourselves. It's no wonder others don't love us, when we can't love ourselves. But we are beautiful, lovely, priceless, perfect, whole, and fully capable of loving with a pure love, unconditionally accepting people as they are, not condemning their faults. Impossible? No! Christ lives and loves and walks in our shoes. We are crucified with Him. No longer do we live, but He lives in us. "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me." We reckon ourselves dead. We died with Him, were buried with Him, and are resurrected with Him. Those no-good thoughts, words, or deeds that seem to originate from us-that's not the real us. Our spirit is joined to His spirit, making one spirit; and His life is being lived in our fleshly bodies. If He chooses for a time to live a negative life, knowing that someday we'll see that that is what was necessary to change us into a positive life, then that's His business. But we don't have to be condemned by our negative thoughts! We are His business. What He has begun in us, He will consummate, and it has to turn out beautiful and perfect.
We really have no choice in the matter. He has made all of His children in His image, and if that image seems warped or deformed for awhile, just relax and watch Him put the finishing touches on.
That worm that is so ugly and works so hard squirming and fighting and struggling within the cocoon will emerge a soaring, free, beautiful butterfly. That's why it was created. The worm is perfect, though ugly; the cocoon is perfect, though struggling; and the butterfly is perfect, the finished product, free from all bondage. A baby is a perfect person, though helpless; a child is a perfect person, though going through stages of learning and struggling, and not understanding; and when a person reaches maturity, full maturity, he will be free, responsible, and perfect, for Christ is perfect. No matter where we are right now, we are a perfect manifestation of Christ on this earth. So is everyone else, from the President to the skid-row bum.
To have a single eye means to be able to look at another and see him as God sees him, without condemning him, knowing that he is exactly where God wants him to be, and
that he will become that finished product that God has destined him to become.
Relax and begin to realize who the real you is. You are so in union with Christ, that you cannot be separated. Begin the day saying, "Father, You and I are one." In everything that you do, be conscious of the fact that it's not you, but you and the Father, we, all the time. It takes conscious practice. What we are really doing, is practicing the presence of the Father every moment of the day. We are exercising mental muscles and after awhile, we automatically are aware of His presence always.
But what you mainly need to do is just to relax and allow yourself to learn to love yourself. And it is possible when you realize that you are not you, but Christ, perfect and lovable. Therefore you can love yourself, because you and Christ are inseparable and you can love Him. Set your will to no longer eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but of the tree of life.
Your letter was precious to me. The voice that came through loud and clear was the one that is so miserable because of the circumstances, but I could also hear a faint and weak little voice that says, "I'm going to make it. I was created for a purpose and it's going to be a glorious future. I'll take one step at a time and eventually those steps will be sure and sound." The loud voice was the voice of the temporal-judging from appearances, but the other voice was the voice of the eternal. The eternal is that which is lasting and based on facts, while the temporal is counterfeit, unreal, and based on appearances.
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 7
Editor: The same day's mail included the two letters set out below. Each letter contains an honest, but diametrically opposed, opinion of Judi's article entitled "Oneness" from the December 1978 issue of
FROM ONE READER
No other publication is challenging me at the present as much as UNION LIFE. From cover to cover it is a tremendous blessing. I have only received four issues, but I treasure each one. Every time I look back over them I see something more to identify with. Much stands out clearly in each issue, and several writers have spoken strongly to my heart. In the March '78 issue I especially appreciated the poem by Judi entitled "I Always Have Been, I Always Will Be".
When the December issue appeared with Judi's article "Oneness"-that was almost too much! I wanted to see eyeto-eye with her, and I felt she might be right, spiritually speaking, but I wasn't quite sure. Thinking I'd better play it safe, I conceded to a friend that it probably would be wise to lay aside UNION LIFE-no use wasting time with "way-out" ideas and questionable things. But more and more I was seeing my own experiences unfold over and over again the
My dear V.S.:
How good it was to open the mail this morning and receive your stimulating letter. Believe me, the concern you address is not unique to you. I suppose that the occasional comment in the magazine that seems to ignore the distinction between the container and the contents is the basis of most of the periodic objections and admonishments.
In fact, because of such concerns, it is just this matter which is addressed most frequently in the March issue of UNION LIFE. One article is called "The Eternal Duality", and two other major articles seek to clarify this problem of people speaking as though they were Christ.
Most of the negative reactions arise because of a failure to distinguish between soul and spirit. On the spirit level we are one and it is perfectly right to say that our actions are His actions. The concept of "replacement" does not mean anything if we deny that. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Either it is true on some level or it is not. On the other
UNION LIFE. Part of my response to the one objecting to certain statements and emphases in Judi's article is given at the bottom of these pages.
same truths I had already seen expressed in the magazine.
I found myself often rereading here and there, and occasionally I'd reread Judi's article too. As God worked more and more in my life, I suddenly discovered that God was letting me "see" what she was saying. And how opposite a thing can be from what it first seems! Now I know what it means to have a "single eye". Everything becomes different within and without. Behold, He makes all things new!
UNION LIFE does much to stimulate into consciousness the maturity of Christ within. As we put Him on, He puts us on. Truly it is even as it is written, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit"! Jesus said, "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you." Thank God, we can be His will in the earth today. We can be the broken bread and poured out wine; we can have the words of eternal life through Him Who loved us and made us in His very own image!
F.S.- West Chester, PA
hand we still add: "And the life I now live...." This is the eternal duality.
I know what you mean when you said, "I can only reply to this sludge with a big 'Yuk' ". But do you reply "Yuk" when Joseph says to his brothers, "You meant it to me for evil, but God meant it for good"? Certainly that statement takes a lot of explanation. But it is in that sense that Judi said "that all sins when committed one to another are really God loving me in a perverted form". Hebrews 5 is clear: "The mature discern good and evil." But that discernment becomes the eating of the knowledge of good and evil when we fail to see God in all situations.
We all feel at times that our "understanding is split right down the middle." But in more times than not that split is a failure to see with a single eye. You say: "We cannot mix the container up with the contents..., so why give this impression?" But it is impossible to add a "caveat" to every statement in the magazine which speaks in the spirit of
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FROM ANOTHER READER
Thanks for the present issue of U/L magazine. It was much enjoyed, with the exception of the article by Judi on "Oneness".
Time and time again, after being blessed and thrilled to my spiritual core, I come across something in UNION LIFE that "throws" me. Examples are: the poem that suggested ultimate reconciliation, and then the item on the death of "Benji"- a precious and uplifting treatment until we come to the words, "It was not Benji that died but Christ again." Then the letter by a lady in which she states, "By my stripes she (her neighbour) was healed." Just the other day we received a phone call from a lady who was distressed by just such references. Though we visited her to try to explain, she no longer comes to our U/L meeting.
We cannot mix the container up with the contents. I know you will agree with me on this point, so why give the contrary impression?
Now in the article by Judi you tell us, "A sin fact musi
oneness. It is always assumed that readers know that we embrace the paradox of "unified individuality"-of "oneness within the context of twoness".
I have just written my answer to the "attacks" on me for allowing any reference to ultimate reconciliation and other such doctrines that I do not personally embrace. You can read that in the "From the Editor" section of the June issue of the magazine.
Sorry that all of this has made it necessary for you to resign from membership with your church, but the "replacement" truth of Galatians 2:20 throws a lot of people. I hope Dan and Norman and I will have an opportunity soon to meet your ex-elders, especially the one who is contemplating a booklet against U/L. If they have an explanation of Galatians 2:20 that is better than "replacement-without-the-loss-ofindividuality", I would like to hear it.
You must understand that most of us have been brought up to see in duality rather than in oneness. When the inner con
somehow be a love act, from cancer to insanity." In the process of talking about an "enormous stretch of spirit understanding" my understanding is split right down the middle. When I am painting in oils, I try to keep the colours fresh and unmixed. If I mix them all together I get a muddy, sludge effect. So let's keep our colours clear in UNION LIFE and not conclude "that all sins when committed one to another are really God loving me in a perverted form, etc." I can only reply to this sludge with a big "Yuk".
The point I am trying to make is that there is enough opposition to the basics of U/L without giving our critics mud to sling about in "over-views" which in fact become error. Some of the Elders of the church I used to attend scan each issue of the magazine, and one of them is about to write a booklet against U/L teaching. Don't let us give him unnecessary ammunition.
After Norman's visit here, our Elders recalled all Norman's books and sent them to their Bible College to be reviewed by their Head-man. You will be pleased to hear that they were returned with his "OK", although some of the Elders are still suspicious. Their typical reaction is, "Though Norman Grubb's books have been a blessing through the years, has he and the other folks at UNION LIFE become so 'expanded' as not only to have lost the 'common touch' but also to have lost their roots in the Word of God?" This is the feeling amongst not only the Pentecostal but also the Evangelical Christians in our area. I love you all dearly and I do not want to see anything hinder the spread of the message God has called us to minister to the present generation.
sciousness finally takes us we are at last content to sense continuing inner oneness even though we operate as separate individuals. Then we see "I" and "Christ as I" as the same thing. Rest assured: I will be more careful than ever to limit the "over-views" so as to minimize the misunderstanding. But when it occurs, be assured that in the "overkill" many will finally see the difference between U/L and typical Christ-in-you teaching.
The tone of your letter was wonderful. I trust that you see from this letter that I do not necessarily disagree with you, but that a measure of "Christ as me" statements in letters and articles need not be avoided. We are co-redeemers, cosaviours, co-Christs. This is the mystery of Colossians 1. If it could be easily explained by a few simple words, there would be no mystery. It will remain a mystery and secret until men "know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Thee!"
Kind regards, Bill Volkman
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 9
(Editors: One of our Union Life family from California sent us the letter below, together with the poems on this page. We encourage others of our readers to share something of their pilgrimages and of the light that has resulted.
Enclosed are some poems that I would like to share with you. They are a witness of the Christ in me. You should understand that to me, a woman with little academic training or education, God makes His presence within very real by sending this gift of expression through me.
I first experienced the writing of these poems as therapy which helped to bring me out of the deep depression and attempted suicide resulting from my recent divorce, loss of my home, and rejection by misunderstanding friends and family members. But now the poems just flow from me as I have come to see all these adversities as God's all-embracing love, meant to reveal Himself to me and through me.
Currently God is removing more of my crutches, and I now find myself living 3,000 miles from all that has been known and familiar to me for the last 30 years-a stranger in a strange land. My copious tears and panicky feelings attest to my pain. But, praise God, He has assured me that He is taking me to the Promised Land. Having brought me out of the land of my bondage, across the sea of my fears, through the wilderness of my doubts, to this last river of tears, He has let me know that I have come to this place for total immersion in Him. To be lost in Him is the "good" I am now ready to take-have already taken in faith-and so I stand and will see the salvation of the Lord.
For all His sons and daughters who serve me as confirming witnesses through Union Life Ministries I give thanks and praise. Because of our oneness of faith, and the countless variety within that oneness, I know what it is to belong to the family of God.
Thanks and praise be to God Who is the Author and Finisher of my faith. Bless you all.
Yours in Christ,
Edna Price-Pacifica, CA
FEAR NOT HIS SWORD
Though His sword be raised against you, Oh, do not fear its fall, In pruning, the Master Gardener Shows the tenderest love of all.
IN THE SHADOW
Reluctantly I come to the shadow For it is in this place of pain, That I would rather curse the hurt And run away
Than bless it
And stay and learn.
He reigns - governs - the Father He rains - gives - the Son He reins - guides - the Spirit.
AT THE JORDAN
Out of the land of my bondage, Across the sea of my fears,
Through the wilderness of my doubts, To this last river of tears, You've brought me, Lord, And I thank you,
That at last I long to be Immersed and lost in Thy Spirit, Forever one with Thee.
The feel of knowing Christ in me,
The sense of "all is well", Is far beyond All written words To ever, ever tell.
THE LETTER VS. THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW Discipline imposed by demand Reaches only the goal of another remand; Discipline released by desire Goes forward to goals higher and higher.
Page 10 UNION LIFE
A fellow "Found Christian" recently shared with me these basics of his heart and life: "I wouldn't change a single thing in my life: I wouldn't want to be younger or older, richer or poorer, more or less educated, married to any other woman, father to any different children, have my children any less a comfort or challenge, change the color of my skin or even have better health."
Needless to say, this Believer had learned with Paul and others the joy of being content in our containment of God, whatsoever his "state of BEing" happened to be (Phil.4:11). Who can add a cubit to his stature anyway? Our destiny is already His determined will, not for us only, but also as us.
The practical outworking of this inworked contentment in full salvation was evidenced in this Finder's happy outlook on (in) Life. There was no room for pessimism or distraughtness because none existed in true reality. This is always the testimony of ONE Who sees through the clouds of life to the ever-present blue sky. Though that particular encounter lasted but a full day, the day was one of unique pleasure. It was sheer delight to share an entire day with one who was a resting, quiet spirit come alive as the Spirit of God. Eternity now, as then, has the promise of endless similar encounters.
Once containment of God is realized, contentment is both eminent and often immediate. The overflowing will be our consistent testimony of Him as our Grace. Restlessness arrested in Him will be substituted by quietness of soul and Spirit, even when outer surround
ings give suggestion of turmoil and chaos.
Allow appearances of "change" to be swallowed up in "changelessness": Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. In Him we can be content as contained.
Youth today, in both word and life, are asking the two most important questions of life: "Who am I?" and "Why am l?" Today's pressures of Identity and Identification make many everyday happenings appear to be crises. Few realize that the events of one day are meant to be the foundation of another day.
Where have we been? Where are we? Where are we going? Such specific questions require specific answers, and we need to provide workable and working answers to honest seekers.
With "nothing original under the sun" still a realized prerequisite for all of life's definitions and expressions, it must be understood that no one is tested in a way that is not common to all men. Though the circumstances obviously vary, they must all be seen as part of the ultimate solution.
Since birth, all of us are conditioned to call both good and evil, "evil". But being born "sinners", we've become so negative in our vision and outlook of both life and our role in it, that the ability to see the blue sky through the clouds has become a rare lifestyle commodity.
Our own impaired vision is further clouded by a host of sincere well wishers whose blended voices all
proclaim that all is well only if it ends well. The already "defeated one", who was ordered by Jesus to get behind Him (us) where he was not within His vision, has been falsely enthroned as sum and substance of all too many lives.
Those in darkness see only darkness. Any penetration of light is hindered by eyes that refuse to see. People unquestionably like darkness rather than light when their deeds are seen and called evil. But it is a case of mistaken identity that causes most crises. We've been misled and mistaught to attribute to Satan the very good works of God. Many claim sin and sins as their permanent inheritance when they were meant to be but a prelude to Sainthood. Hence hell becomes our chosen dwelling place instead of heaven.
Such misdirection causes us to press our claim in the wrong direction. We constantly give lip service to a confusion of which God is not author. Such confession necessarily results in frustrations and a poor self image.
However, the "Good News" remains always the same. The Hope within us is Christ and none other. He alone sets the captive free. He alone is our true identity, in Whom the crisis has already passed. Calvary, the Empty Tomb and Ascension are His living monuments to the Eternal Hope of mercy and grace. He is the fulfillment of the law, every jot and tittle, renewing us completely in spirit and mind.
Identification in, as with Christ, makes us as comfortable in Creation as in the Creator. In that sense the world is our home. "As He is in the world, so are we." Jesus claimed that He was the Kingdom of Heaven. We, in turn, can make that claim, based on Oneness. As His "finished products", life is no longer a crisis, but a fulfilled promise-a satisfying "well of Living Water" that never runs dry. This well is Christ who
Page 12 UNION LIFE
satisfies our thirst as we quench the thirst of others.
Identity crises? No way! Enjoy BEing HIS and HIM to a world filled with fellow seekers and finders, some of whom know Him and some who know Him not!
The greatest challenge laid on most of us when we first become Christians is that of "witnessing". The methods suggested to me by fellow Christians varied from button-holing the man pumping gasoline into my tank to participating in a tract-blitz on the beach. But it is only in the genesis of discovering Who God really is, as the One alive as us, that we can know the true meaning of witnessing.
Verses like Acts 1:8 then begin to stand out like sore thumbs. In that verse witnessing is narrowed down (up) to: "be a witness". Wow, what a discovery! As natural as breathing, we are to be His witnesses, assured that even in weakness God is made
strong. We soon learn the truth of the expression, "the lame get the prey„
Yes, outer influences will still challenge us to witness, wherever and whenever. But above all, allow the inner Spirit as your witness to continue to flow as easily as sunlight, leaving all results to Him as the "Lord of the harvest".
Talk about a burden being lifted! The heavy, needless challenge to witness is wonderfully fulfilled in BEing a witness. The result will be both spontaneous and comforting as God gives utterance in word as in deed. All "doing" is consummated in the "doing of the Word", Who is Christ in us, through us, and as us. Hallelujah! O
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 13
Editors: Many readers have so appreciated the "I AM MAN" eight-page insert in the March issue that they have ordered additional copies for distribution. (250 each plus a single mailing charge of 250.) The art work for this creative presentation of union life truth was done by Richard Moszumanski, one of our CONTACTS in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In this issue, Richard once again shares his unique talent with us-this time in the form of "Seeing Beyond The Fences" set out on the next four pages. We are deeply grateful to Richard for all the creative art work which he has shared with us in the past three issues of UNION LIFE.
Richard sent us the following short explanation of what it was that prompted him to draw these twelve cartoons:
My cartoons of the clown are nothing more than a series of drawings depicting the elementary milestones that were significant in my coming to fixed realization of the Christ within. (Some may call this consciousness "The Other Side" or "When I get to heaven".)
The first fence represents a period of time in my life when I was awakened to the truth of a Divine Relative (Relationship)-"For God so loved the world"(John 3:16). The second fence represents my "Making God work with what I know", or "That's all there is and no more" period. The bold statement of 1 Corinthians 2:9 "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard" opened me to accept the truth of the crucified life of Galatians 2:20, and put me in a position of uncompromisingly accepting the truth of God as Love. The last fence illustrates my seeing myself as truth because of inner union and seeing all of life from the perspective of "I know even as also I am known."
Page 14 UNION LIFE
Every time my sixteen year old daughter jumps into the family car, the first thing she does is flip. on the radio. The push buttons have been pre-set to her two favorite stations, both of which feature teenage "chatter and platter". (The other two buttons are reserved for the "middle-age" music which her mom and dad prefer.) After five children and many years of forced exposure, I have finally learned to enjoy much of the current music, as well as the disk jockey "jive" that accompanies it.
Though I know that the words on many of the current records leave a lot to be desired, it is also undeniable that much truth can be gleaned from many of the songs. The singers are frequently communicating messages to their audience that have more true "gospel" in them than many of our church hymns. Truth is not limited to fundamentalist, scriptural expressions and language. Though I would not label many of our standard hymns and gospel choruses as patently false, they certainly are communicating an immature, separated outlook toward life. They might serve to share the born-again message that "Jesus saves", and admonish believers to "trust and obey", but they are wanting in their communication of inner wholeness, positive acceptance of self and others, and God's intention that we be spontaneous, free beings.
The key phrase in one of the current teenage hits that I have been exposed to with my daughter is: "Love isn't always on time." Though I haven't caught most of the other words in Toto's song, "Hold The Line", the continued reiteration of the key words has caused me to reflect on the following important truth: true love cannot be judged solely by external appearances.
In the classic love chapter in the Bible we read:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Certainly the demonstration of spiritual gifts, the performance of miracles, the giving of all our worldly possessions to the poor, and the sacrifice of a life for a needy cause all appear on the surface to be virtuous; but the Bible reminds us that without the inner motivation of love all external actions are worthless.
I Corinthians 13 continues at verse 4: "Love is patient, love is kind, etc." It does not say, "Love must always give the ap-
Page 20 UNION LIFE
pearance of being patient", or "love must always give the appearance of being kind." No, love will not always appear to act patiently or kindly by everybody's standards. A loving parent might well seem to act impatiently with a child who is about to touch a hot skillet. Under normal circumstances you would be considered a brute if you shoved an old lady to the pavement, but if you did it to push her out of the path of an oncoming car, you would be called a hero. The seemingly "unkind" action is really a "kind" action.
Love actions are frequently misunderstood. Have you ever said "No" to a Christian brother who has come to you for a temporary loan or has asked you to co-sign a bank loan with him? Does love always share available cash with a requesting brother?
For many years, saying "No" to a cash-short brother was very difficult for me. A superficial reading of Matthew 5:42 seemed to leave no alternative: "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." How could I refuse a needy brother when I had the cash available to meet his need? An inner "sixth sense" frequently told me to say "No", but the clear reading of Scripture (the Word of God) seemed to dictate a "Yes". The letter of the law seemed to be clear, so I loaned my friend the cash he requested, or cosigned the note at the bank, even though I had inner misgivings and something within me died as I agreed to the friend's request.
Fortunately the day came when I learned that we can live by the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. The "royal law" of love (James 2:8), which James also labels as the "law of liberty" (James 2:12), transcends the inflexible letter of the law. When we have finally been freed to live by inner spontaneity instead of the superficial letter of the law, we are freed to act creatively with our brother. Then we will still give to every man who asks of us, but we will give according to his need, not according to his superficial feelings of need. He might think he needs a fish to eat, but what he really needs is to be taught how to fish. He might think that he needs money, but what he really needs is to be shown how to live on a budget. We still do not turn away from anyone who wants to borrow from us, but our love response does not always meet the situation in the way the supplicant had anticipated.
No wonder Jesus said, "Do not judge according to appearances, but judge righteous judgement" (John 7:24). And Paul was making the same point when he told the Corinthians, "You are looking at things as they are outwardly" (1 Cor.10:7). Proper judgement sees beyond externals, and recognizes inner motivation as being primary.
No, love isn't always being on time. Love isn't always punctual. Love sometimes dictates that it is better to be late to meet a friend than to speed and take unnecessary risks with your car in order to be on time for an appointment. Love sometimes dictates that we finish a job, even if it means being late for dinner with the family. Whether it be in the area of punctuality, or giving, or whatever, the love motive transcends all outer appearances. Aren't you glad that we can live by the inner spirit of the law rather than the outer letter of the law? The naked letter of the law always kills, but
the spirit of the law allows us to live in liberating freedom.
Learn to trust your inner feelings and reactions. We "were by nature children of wrath" (Eph.2:3); now we are lovers by nature, at our very core. When we operate from this recognition we know that we can trust our inner desires and drives. Our nature is one of love, because we know that we are one with Him Who is Love. In our oneness with the Living Word we are able to distinguish between soul and spirit-between outer feelings/appearances and inner feelings/reality.
So live free and natural and confident. And allow that same freedom and naturalness and confidence to your brothers and sisters. Love isn't always being on time.
Note: After completing the above article, I read it back to my two toughest critics, my daughter and wife. They had comparable reactions: "Dad, you missed the whole point of the song. 'Love isn't always on time' doesn't refer to punctuality; it refers to the fact that love has a way of coming into our lives when the time is right, not when we want it to." So I listened to the song again, carefully this time, and I still am not sure what the composer had in mind when he wrote the song. In any event, the truth remains that valid judgement of ourselves and others must be based on inner knowing, not solely on outward feelings and appearances. C
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 21
On February 20, 1973, at the age of 21, I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart. Twelve days later, in a Charismatic church, I indicated my desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So I was taken to the prayer room along with a few others and we all received instructions about how to "receive". Shortly after several people had laid their hands on me and began praying, I experienced what Charismatics frequently label as "the baptism with signs accompanying".
Two years later, in January, 1975, I was involved in the biggest decision of my life. I had just informed my employer that I was going to quit my job and go back to college.
"What are you going to study?" he asked.
"I don't know for sure," was my reply.
"Well, what do you want to do with your life?"
"I haven't decided yet."
"Well, my son is the same age as you, and he ...blah, blah, blah, etc." (No criticism intended.) "You ought to make up your mind and get started."
I felt that he was right, but I didn't want to make plans for the future without knowing what God's will was for my future. I wanted to do His will. So I decided to fast and pray for three days so God would reveal His plan for my life. I had one week between my last day at work and my first day at school, so this worked out very well. I know my motives and attitudes were right, even if my theology wasn't.
On the first day of the fast, I arose early in the morning and began to pray. After praying for a couple of hours, I decided to read my Bible. At the time, I was working my way through from Genesis to Revelation; so I just picked up where I had left off. The first chapter that I read hit me like a ton of bricks. (The exact scripture is irrelevant, and I have chosen not to share it here.) Wow! But, I reasoned, "That can't be what God wants me to do. That's im
By: Robert W. Chamberlain
possible!" So I read on, about 30 or more chapters. But that first chapter kept coming back to my mind. So I read it again.
"This can't be. It's impossible," I reasoned. But, I said to God, "God, if this is what you want me to do, you'll have to confirm it, because I just can't accept it."
So I prayed some more-perhaps another hour or more. I told God I just had to know His will for me. I asked Him to make it very clear to me.
I didn't want to take any chances on what the Bible would say next, so I decided to listen to a cassette tape that I had purchased just the day before. The title of the tape had nothing to do with the message that I received from it, but the speaker used, as his first illustration, that same chapter that had just hit me so hard. I was amazed. What a coincidence! (?) I had received an exact, specific confirmation, and yet I couldn't believe that it was God. So I prayed some more, again asking for confirmation.
As I prayed, my wife returned home from work. This was late in the afternoon. I immediately told her what had happened and asked her if she thought that was what God wanted me to do. Without hesitation she replied, very matter-of-factly, "Yes." But that wasn't good enough. So I called a friend who was a minister and teacher at our church. We knew each other well because we used to share a house before I got married and we continued to have lunch together quite often after that. I told him what happened and asked him if he thought that was what God wanted me to do. "Of course. I've known that all along. Haven't you?"
We had special meetings at our church every night that week and several things were said by the guest speaker that seemed to confirm what that chapter said to me. How could anyone doubt after all that? I don't know how, but I did
doubt. I looked at that chapter over and over, again. Impossible! How can God tell me to do that? I can't. No matter how hard I try-I can't. No matter how much I study and prepare-I can't. No matter what-I can't do it.
So after awhile, I just forgot about it. I had written the chapter out on a couple of 3" x5" index cards, but I threw them in a drawer after a few weeks because I just couldn't believe that it was God. After all that, I still couldn't believe.
About two years later, in the Spring of 1977, I came across those index cards again. "I wonder if that's what God wants me to do," I thought to myself. A couple of days later I was having coffee with a friend and I related this story to him. Until then, only 4 or 5 others knew about it. I asked him if he thought that was what God wanted me to do.
"How should I know? If that's what God wants you to do, He'll let you know."
So I prayed again, "God, if this is what you want me to do, you'll have to confirm it again." (Can you imagine such audacity?)
Two days later, a friend called me and said, "Bob, I have a bomb shell to drop on somebody at the lunch meeting on Tuesday." (I'm president of the local Full Gospel Business Men's Chapter and he had called to ask permission to speak at the next meeting.)
I said, "What is it, Paul?" And he began reading that chapter to me-that same chapter. Wow! So I told him that he had already dropped the bomb, and he had hit the bull's eye.
So here it was again. What could I do? I still couldn't understand it. There was no rational interpretation. There was still absolutely no way I could ever accomplish this impossible task. But I accepted it anyway-in a way. I accepted the fact that God meant what He had said to me even if I couldn't understand it.
At this point I recognized that up to that time in my life I had not ex
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 23
perienced what Norman Grubb refers to as the second crisis. But I was unfamiliar with his books at that time. I just knew that "before I did not do God's will, and now I realize that I can not do God's will." What a predicament) I prayed. I read. I searched for the answer.
One evening I called my pastor (at a different church than before, because we had moved) and shared my burden with him. He invited me to his home. There we prayed together for awhile and then we just knelt in silence. He said, "There's your answer." I didn't know what he was talking about.
"Where?" I asked.
"There, on the radio."
All this time, unnoticed by me, the radio had been playing in the background. It was on the local Christian station and they were playing the song which is taken from Jeremiah 29:13; "If you will seek me with all your heart, you will find me."
So, for the next 17 months, I did just that. I prayed-I read-I listened-I sought-I cried. During this time I read about men of God, such as Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, Hudson Taylor, Guy Bevington, John Hyde, Rees Howells, and many more. I noticed that most of them spoke of an experience with God, apart from salvation, that drastically changed their lives. After they were saved-after they had done works for God such as starting missions, churches, schools, etc.-after all these things-something happened. They met God in a new way. They called it by various names, but they seemed to share a common experience. This is what I needed. This was what I sought-a deeper experience with God which would radically transform my life to be able to perform that impossible task which was set before me.
In my searching, I came across Norman Grubb's book, The Spontaneous You, and was greatly blessed. I discovered that Norman had a more recent book entitled, Who Am I?, so I bought a copy and read it and underlined it and read it again and again. I knew that this man had what I wanted, and he was trying to share it with me. I prayed the prayer that he recommended about acknowledging "Christ in me", but nothing happened. Still, I persisted. I read more of his books and the books of others, mostly biographies of men of God. My hunger increased, and my yearning grew
more intense. When would God answer my cry?
I began to have serious doubts about God and about myself. I came dangerously close to turning my back on God, my wife, everything. If God was real, why wouldn't He answer my cry? If He wasn't real, I wasn't going to waste my life "playing church". I was really getting desperate. I had already made preliminary arrangements to have Norman Grubb and Dan Stone come to Hawaii in several months, but I was ready to give up the whole thing.
On the evening of November 8, 1978, a Wednesday, I was troubled, as usual. I went into my study and shut the door behind me. I talked to God. I don't remember what I said. I flipped through a few books I had on my shelf about men of God. I read Dwight Moody's account of his "baptism in the Holy Spirit" again. I read Hudson Taylor's account of his experience with God after he had been a missionary for many years. I read the book of Romans. And in the fourth chapter of Romans I came across the story of Abraham. The following excerpts seemed to come alive to me.
"v.3-Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. . .v.5-to the man who ... trusts God ... his faith is credited to him as righteousness. V.10-Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before) v.11-And he received circumcision as a sign and seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. v.1 2-And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
"v.13-It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith ...v.17-He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." (New International Version)
God had given Abraham a promise. By all human means, it would be impossible for Abraham to ever obtain that promise. And yet,
Abraham believed. He didn't understand. He just believed. And because he believed what God had said-even though the task was impossible-he was righteous. He walked in the truth that God had declared. He assumed the role of the "Father of many nations" even though it was impossible for him and his wife to have a son. They were much too old. God even changed Abrahams's name to let the world know how He saw this man. God "calls things that are not as though they were."
Because Abraham believed God and walked in the TRUTH, he was righteous. Did he feel righteous? Had he any outward signs of being righteous? I think not. He received circumcision much later. The inward reality existed long before the outward evidence appeared. But he was righteous as soon as he believed.
God was telling me to BELIEVE. The task was impossible for me to perform. But I didn't have to perform it. I had now come to the point where I could appropriate Galatians 2:20: "It's Christ that lives in me." God was going to perform this impossible task in me and through me. I didn't have to do it. God would do it. In fact, it was already done. Right from the beginning, I had always been what "I" couldn't become. The truth of Galatians 2:20 became real to me. I now saw what Norman and the others came to see. I read on in Romans 4.
"v.18-Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations. ..v.19 -Without weakening in his faith... v.20-...he did not waver ... but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, v.21-being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. v.22-This is why 'it was credited to him as righteousness.' v.23-The words 'it was credited to him' were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."
Now, for the very first time, I could see what it was all about. I called to my wife and shared these things with her. I told her that this was what Norman Grubb had been talking about when he spoke of a second crisis. We reread a portion of Who Am I? and Norman said that
continued on Page 30
Page 24 UNION LIFE
"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal,
but the things which are not seen are eternal." II Corinthians 4:18
The Change Of Reality
W e spend a great deal of time within the church discussing how God is our total sufficiency, but few of us really believe it. Many claim such a belief, but their lifestyles and attitudes deny it. This parallels the distinction between Matthew 7:21 and Romans 10:9. In Matthew Jesus is quoted as saying, "Not every one who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." The Romans passage appears to be a contradiction: "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." The distinction is drawn between merely saying Jesus is Lord and confessing Him as Lord. Anyone can say Jesus is Lord, but to confess Him as such means that Jesus is indeed the Lord of one's life.
This same distinction extends to a Christian's reliance on God. Though he claims that he depends wholly on God, his habits and everyday conversation may confess that God is no more real to him than is the man in the moon. Sadly, many new Christians fall into this category. It is little wonder, therefore, that outsiders rail accusations of "hypocrisy" against the church.
When Jesus said in John 17, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world", He was not only saying that we have something that the world does not have. Nor was He merely speaking of a distinguishing trade-mark. He was saying that we are totally different, as day is from night and as white is from black. Blind eyes now see and deaf ears now hear; only now they perceive a new reality. All that once appeared to be real now grows dim and is recognized as merely a reflection of true reality.
The person who exists within this new dimension is spiritually restored to the original position of Adam and is able to gaze in wonder upon the eternal truths that are unfolded before him. He now has the very life of God within himself. God said, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."
by David Carson
And after God had formed man from the dust of the ground, He Himself breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The life of God was breathed into Adam, and God looked upon the one whom He had created as one who was even as Himself. God then placed this superior creature, who had His very life, within creation, in order that he might reign over it, revealing the glory of God throughout it. Though man was in creation, he was in some sense apart from it, for he knew nothing of the good and evil within it. In accord with God's ultimate plan of restoration, Adam chose to eat of the tree that would give him the knowledge of good and evil. Thus man became an intimate part of the world. At the same time that his eyes were opened to good and evil, man's eyes were closed to the reality that stood behind all this; for by his own choice he had temporarily lost the life of God within himself.
Just as God once saw man as one who was even as Himself, now we find Jesus saying, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." This life is restored to us and we begin to function as new creatures, no longer concerning ourselves with the follies of this
"Only through the act
volition does the
world but finding our whole desire centered on Him who is eternal and true. We may lose all the things of this world, but no power can ever take Christ from us.
Are we perceiving of true reality? Do we know the dimension of life that is not of this world? Do we live as well as proclaim our reliance on God? Two personal experiences have vividly contrasted for me the "yes" and "no" answers to these questions.
Several years ago, while a student in college, I had the op
portunity to go abroad on a summer missions program. A number of other students were also going to various parts of the world. Each person was responsible for raising his cost for the trip. For those who were going to the more distant lands, this was a considerable amount, especially for a college student. One day a man came from the mission headquarters and spoke to us on the Lord's provision for our making the journey before us. He told us that we could trust God to care for those financial needs which were upon us. He then took a turn and said, "Let's be realistic about this though", and proceeded to speak of the empirical means of raising one's support. Unfortunately, this attitude is common among us. We talk at length about dependence on God, but it is not at all realistic to us. It is not realistic, for God does not exist in our reality. He is looked upon as the ideal, but by no means as the real. Our reality lies in human endeavor and empirical means. The irony of all this is that we claim to have salvation in that which is not even real to us.
Of course, these are all steps through which God leads us. Eventually we begin to see that true reality lies in that which is unseen, that which is spirit. A year after the summer missions program, I heard a Wycliffe Translator home from the mission field tell of an incident in his life. He had come home from the field because of his wife's illness and was uncertain as to when he would be able to return. One day he received a letter in the mail from one of his supporting churches stating that it was withdrawing its support since he was unsure as to how long he would be before returning to the field. He said at first it made him angry, for now, with his wife's illness, the financial demands upon him were greater than ever before. He thought how heartless the church must be not to realize these needs. Then, however, God began to speak to him, and he saw where his dependence must be. He sat down and wrote the church a letter, saying, "If you believe that God has led you to withdraw your
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 25
support from me, feel free to do so, for I have no need of it. I know that my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory." Through a faith in the invisible God his eyes had been opened to receive a glimpse of true reality, the reality that is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Talking about this reality is one thing. Living in it is another. It is hypocrisy to claim to know, understand, and be a part of this true reality, only to continue in the mundane sphere of existence common to those who have no knowledge of it whatsoever. To live in this reality means to assert oneself upon it in every decision one makes, for decisions are the very substance of one's true inner self. Only through the act of volition does the intangible consciousness become tangible. It is not enough simply to recognize the fact that Jesus died on a cross. One must be subjective to the point of living in the knowledge that just as Jesus' death was my death to sin and my life is changed accordingly, so this new reality is my reality and I am to live in it. Only then can we know things as they really are.
To perceive true reality is possible only to the person who has the life of God within him by the new birth, the birth into that higher dimension wherein is truth. Apart from God a person cannot accept as truth anything but the material world around him, for as a fallen creature his eyes have been partially blinded and that is as far as he cares to see. He is the person that hears and does not hear, and sees and yet does not see. Everything has only its face value to him. The Word of God is no more than the words of men to him, for, no matter how vehemently he may deny such a fact, God does not. exist in his reality. To be sure, God exists in his ideals, but by no means in his reality.
Separated man cannot perceive God-reality-for he is blind to it. He has never known it. He is like a man standing beneath a two-way mirror. In his fallen state he looks up, and all he can see is a reflection of himself and those things around him. When he rises above the mirror he can see what is above and then with understanding look down through the mirror into the material world and see man as he really is. The new perspective will change his whole set of values. He knows something of what lies beyond and
what its true meaning is.
An illustration of this vision would be the perception we have of a two dimensional drawing. We may look at a drawing of a house and some trees and, even though it is only two-dimensional, we may see three dimensions. We see the three dimensions in the world in which we live. Imagine, however, that we had never known three dimensions. Imagine that we, along with everything around us, existed as cartoon characters, existing only in two dimensions. If this were the case and we were to look at a twodimensional drawing, no matter how skillfully the artist had attempted to represent a third dimension, all we could possibly see would be two dimensions. The person who has known three dimensions, however,
would look at a two-dimensional drawing and immediately see three dimensions.
It is in just such a way that the non-Christian cannot perceive of reality, for he has never known that dimension. He is as the Jews were when Jesus said, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." They argued among themselves over how Jesus could give them his flesh to eat. They had no idea of the mystical union of which he spoke. They could only take Jesus' statement at face value, because they had never known that higher dimension.
Our confusion of these dimensions is partly due to our use of certain Christian jargon. We refer to our "spiritual lives", and we say that a man with no knowledge of Christ is "spiritually dead". The terminology which categorizes things as "spiritual" seems to be an attempt to separate those things from our "secular" life and so confine them to the church. One can then comfortably say, "Here is my spiritual life, and here is my secular life. Everything has its place." The man, however, whose eyes have been opened by the new birth sees and understands that no things are secular. All things are spiritual. When we speak of "spiritual" life
and death, what we fail to understand is that this is the real life and real death. The truth is that physical death is not death at all. It is only the moving into the fulfillment of what one has already known: perfection with Christ for the Christian, and fulfillment of the sinful life in hell for the sinner. "Spiritual death" is the true death, for it is the absence of true life, the life of God. How sad it will be for so many to someday realize that what they thought was life was only a dream. They will have missed out on that which is real and eternal.
Our separation of the spiritual from the secular has also given us a false notion of priorities. I have heard more than one person say that Christ is first in his life, his family second, his job third, etc. As admirable as such a declaration may seem, the tendency has been to group Christ with a lot of priorities, because we have failed to see that He is not limited to our service within the church or to a daily time of devotion. Christ is to be all; He is our reality. All these other things we have listed as priorities are to be reflections of Him, not separate entities. Jesus is not a priority. He is, in Himself, reality.
This true reality must become our reality if we are ever to rise above the mundane existence of everyday life. Entrance into this reality is entrance into life itself, since it comes by being born into it. This birth comes from God Himself, because it is His life that is born into the one who chooses to give his all that he might have this life within himself. Paul wrote of this reality and this life when he wrote to the Colossians of "the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints." The mystery is revealed by the life of Christ Himself within the believer, for Paul later speaks of "the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
When Christ is born into a person's life, his eyes will be opened, and he will perceive reality for the first time. He will be as any other blind man who sees for the first time. Before, nothing within him could conceive of what vision itself would be like, much less of the things he would look upon. But now he sees. No one needs to tell him he sees, for he knows it, and never again will he close his eyes to become blind as he once was. El
irony... is that we
claim to have salvation
in that which is
not even real to us."
Page 26 UNION LIFE
I received a letter from New York while sojourning in Florida which contained the following:
"The report has gone around that you died last week. Of course we know it is not true, but how do these things get started?"
I had to reply to this letter somewhat after the following manner:
"In the language of Mark Twain I must say that the report of my death is greatly exaggerated-and yet somehow or other the same report is true."
The offices of death are many. According to St. Paul, death is one of the most helpful and necessary things that can be performed. He advised the habit of dying daily, and this prefaced the glorious possibility of being born daily also. There is something back of the "idea" death which is replete with substance for meditation.
Death brings with it oblivion-a blotting out, as it were. In reality it can only occur on the plane of changeable manifestation. There is no possibility for death to enter the precincts of the Changeless Life of Spirit.
When you die to anything you are through with it. Just as in the relative sense of the word, when a man dies he is immediately separated from all his possessions; good, bad, or indifferent. His debts are cancelled as far as he is concerned. His estate is disintegrated almost immediately, and no longer is attached to him. Like cloud of dust in a hurricane, his entire affairs are scattered in all directions. When the dust settles, the "place thereof is no more" and the particles have gone into another pattern.
Not understanding Life, the greatest enemy is death. It deprives Life of its manifestation. When Jesus became conscious of Life, he could pass in and out of the shadow called death almost as if passing through a purifying fire. When he arose from what appeared to be physical death, even his disciples did not recognize him until he allowed himself to take on enough of the former beliefs, to which he had died, for them to do so. All along the way to Emmaus, they could not distinguish the man with whom they had been for three years.
....To die daily, as Paul instructs, is to be born daily. It is a letting go of used ideas, and a taking up of new and fresh possibilities, without any "hang overs" or memories or beliefs. "The former things shall pass away; they shall not be remembered nor come into mind any more."
"The Power of Life and Death"-surely this is not the evil power from which the human mind shrinks in terror. It is the redeemed "idea" from which the "sting" has been removed. "Nothing shall be destroyed in all my Holy Mountain." In this day we are reclaiming all the lost enemies and making them into friends.
To tell Jesus of a death was not to upset or startle him. He did not seem to be any more moved than when he heard of a blind man, or a poor man, asking for aid, even though the evidences of the death had gone so far that the greatest imagination of the human mind could not possibly piece the body together again. He went into the tombs and pronounced the "Lazarus come forth" which brought about results.
When the eagle is born or hatched, it means death to a thing or a state of things called "egg"-that much is sure. The former things which were true about the egg are no longer true about the eagle. It is under a different set of beliefs entirely. As an inanimate egg it is acted upon, but with the death of the egg it acts. All the beliefs that were true of the egg fall away for ever.
"Marvel not, ye must be born again"-and in this new process it is impossible to carry any of the old estate with you. Many are seeking the new birth, but they do not want to go through death to get it. In other words they want to hold on to old ideas, and at the same time try to express new capacities. It is quite as impossible for a caterpillar to fly as it is for an egg; both must perform the death upon the thing of which they want to be rid, and re-embody themselves with the new idea, before they can attain the expression they are seeking.
When you learn the proper interpretation of the word "death" you will see that it becomes a friend, for it is a cleansing process. It is a letting go completely and ascending to a place where the former things cannot enter in, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the present manifestation. Instead of getting rid of things temporarily, man dies completely to the idea and its manifestation. In the new place he finds himself as incapable of experiencing his former limitations as an eagle flying over the abyss would have in experiencing the cramped quarters of the eggshell from which it evolved.
"Awake thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee
Light"; "Awake and arise from the dead."
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 27
It is only because the idea of life is transient, and because it is dependent upon muscles and brain, that man is afraid of death. He is in constant fear of it because with his limited sense of life he knows that it will eventually overtake him. When the new arrives, and man begins to sense the idea of Life Eternal, then the fear of death is transferred into an intelligent understanding of the power of Death, which is mentioned as being in the tongue. It is a power to crack the shell of limitation or rip open the cocoon and free the new expression into a place already prepared for it.
"I go to prepare a place for you"-is the assurance that Spirit makes to the awakened soul. Just as the place for the butterfly or eagle is already prepared for it before it cracks its shell or opens its cocoon, so the place is prepared for you when you die to the shell of consciousness which is holding you in the present irksome limitations.
But man in his limited concept of life fears death because he thinks of it as oblivion. He thinks of life as having a beginning and an ending-but life has no beginning or ending any more than an egg or a seed has a beginning or an ending. Give it a chance and it will drop off one limitation after another and constantly come forth anew.
"This is life eternal to know Me," and the only place you can know this Me is in the locality indicated by Jesus-i.e. within your consciousness. It does not say this is a life which endures for a few years and then lets go, but states without qualification, "this [the here and now] is life eternal." It is getting "nigh unto us," no matter how the shell of your present beliefs has cramped you. Presently you shall let it go; you shall die to it, and to many other things, in the truest sense of the word, and shall be born again into the new state of being.
"Give up, let go, call down a blessing," is not a supine drifting into all sorts of chaotic conditions, as many mistakenly believe. Until you understand in some measure the importance of death and life you cannot let go of anything.
"Death and Life are in the Power of the Tongue."
"Only speak the Word and my servant shall be healed."
Every time the word of Life is spoken it means death to some belief-a dropping off of some manifestation which is held in place by conscious thinking. Yes, the Power of Life Eternal is within the contemplation of the Me, which Jesus discovered for all of us.
A tiny plant starts from its cell and the seed dies. It pushes forth a bud, the flower comes, and the scales or outer leaves die, the flower is born. The fruit pushes out into manifestation and the flower dies, and so it goes ever on and upward into the more glorious manifestation of Heaven here and now. The never-ending merging into new and lovelier states takes place when you are ready to die, and when the "last enemy" has become the friend and the "sting" has been taken from it.
With Life we think in terms of Light; with death we think in terms of darkness. The offices of death are oblivion to that which is outgrown and of no further use. If you have not already died to much of the conscious thinking of yesteryears, you are suffering from arrested or retarded mental development. A memory of an accident hovers about with all the conscious thinking that went with it at the time. The mind fixed upon the fortune that it once had and lost, or the health or friends that it once enjoyed and has no more, has not performed the death that Paul so advocates. It is the chick half out of its shell.
"Awake, and arise from the dead," When Jesus aroused Lazarus, He brought him out of the tomb. He laid aside the grave-clothes and cast off the sweet-smelling garments that had been the badge of the conscious thinking death, and came out from all of "them" and was free. So when you have gone through the death process and let go of a thing, then "arise"
and go forth out of the tomb of conscious thinking and do not stand holding on to the beliefs with which you have finished.
"Ah! but what if one has the scars such as Jesus had?" Did it ever occur to you that unless Jesus chose to show the scars they apparently were not visible-that for the moment he descended to the point of conscious thinking where Thomas (who could only believe by seeing with the human eye) could see? No blessing went with Thomas finding out about the resurrection. "Blessed is he that believes and does not see." Blessed is that one who does not have to handle with his hand the unseen thing of Spirit. That one will be able to see and handle and experience the hidden things. It is wonderful!
It is wonderful when you contemplate the Power of Death in its resurrected sense-when you begin dying in the true sense of the word. All you can die to is conscious thinking. In the conscious thinking lies all the substance of the evils of your daily life.
The conscious thinking of Jesus was that of a carpenter. He admitted that he could nothing of himself. When he died to this, he gave up all the limitations of it, and moved by the process of birth into the Father Consciousness, where none of the former limitations came into play or had anything whatsoever to do with him. He did not graft the Christ power upon a Jesus consciousness, as many people have tried to do, and make it his own teaching. "My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me"-into expression. He dropped off the limitations of Jesus in order to appropriate the Consciousness of the Christ, and the two became one, just as the egg and the eaglet become one-one being lost into the other-absorbed-made one-Whole....
And so death when properly understood becomes the friendly enemy. It is that which throws a veil of oblivion to outgrown or cast-off limitations and causes the Magdalene to look about and see that she has no accusers. Suddenly she is dead to the thing called harlot and all that has gone with it, and she is born at the same instant to something that cannot experience or understand the former state of things.
The friendly enemy has released her. 0
Page 28 UNION LIFE
I have been reading with great interest in both the March and June issues of Union Life the articles on mysticism. In my opinion, there is no way of understanding these modernday mystics and what they are speaking of unless one lives in the Finished Kingdom and accepts the fact of universal or total victory of Christ at Calvary and the Ressurection. Never since that moment when He revealed to me the meaning of the Incarnation (Word made flesh) has He ever let me read a book that separates saint from sinner, saved from unsaved. Lanyon always speaks universally, as do all these other mystics. It is finished, it is done. We have always been free; we just haven't been aware of our freedom. As Lanyon puts it, "In the beginning God-and He saw everything He made, and behold it was very good."
Truth is truth and it cannot be subdivided, whether we happen to find it in a pigpen or in the Father's house. The prodigal son was as much the Father's son as the "good" boy who stayed at home, and I personally like him better. Our God is one Lord, and He cannot be divided.
A friend gave me a little meditation book the other day, and I want to share a quote from it.
"Know with surety that the physical body is but the cloak I wear about My shoulders. It is only that with which I clothe Myself as I go to and fro in the world of My creation; the world which was created that I might express myself as joy, peace, and gladness of heart. All nature thus expresses Me. Only man, whom I made in order that I might wear the robe of mortality, has taken it upon himself to rule My world in his own way. There is only ONE GOD and ONE POWER filling all men, and even now I that great ONE am in the midst of you. So again I
say, know your physical body as but the cloak I wear about My shoulder."
Isn't that lovely? When, oh, when will Christians ever know that He is the only man who ever lived or will ever live, and He is all and all in them?
H.M.-Witchita Falls, TX
I met the Lord in a very real way two and a half years ago and since then have experienced His leadings, abundant life and rest, in many ways. But one thing I still haven't been able to handle is my over-eating and subsequent nausea. I've written for the magazine on the subject of dieting, but I still haven't experienced any personal victory in this area. I tried praying, fasting, discipline, and different diets-but nothing worked. I eventually became depressed, emotional, suicidal, and even had problems in my marriage.
But the Lord didn't let me down, though I confess I was sometimes resentful toward Him in the process. I felt that it would be so much more Godly to be helping others with a cheerful spirit than to be sitting depressed in an unclean house with no desire to even cook meals. I went for counseling sessions with a few doctors only to be told what I already knew: I was depressed, had tension, and that I should take valium. I was still not satisfied.
Later I felt led to go to a nutritionist. Though my friends were against this, I had peace about it. God used this man to show me that my addiction to sugar was causing the depression and the tension. Since I've started to avoid sugar, most of the symptoms have left.
I'm so grateful that we can learn to depend solely on God. He has shown me through all this that it was not for punishment, but that this was something I was to experience for
another. Because of this experience I now love a man whom I could not stand before-and all because the Lord took me through some of the same problems he had been having.
There was no time wasted in the last year, for I know that I was going through God's positive plan for me, even though it looked negative. I praise Him for His excellent timing, His hand which holds us tight, and His voice which we can always count on.
It is amazing how the great plays, films and songs of our time frequently communicate a lot of deep spiritual truth. During the Christmas holidays NBC aired a special presentation of Victor Hugo's classic, Les Miserables, a story which I found had much to say concerning the indwelling Christ.
The main character is a man, Jean Valjean, who, after emerging from prison, is won to God through the kindness shown him by a saintly priest, the Monsigneur Myriel. The priest, typical of one who knows true union with Christ, wins Valjean by his extreme generosity and total acceptance, traits that seemed to flow spontaneously from him. Valjean is not won through words or through preaching, but rather through love.
After his conversion, Valjean rises to a position of respect and is soon made mayor of the town in which he works. This is a town which he saved from economic disaster by applying the industrial expertise learned during his prison years. We see here a perfect example of one who does not seek out a professional religious ministry, but rather simply lives out the creative expression he is. It is obvious that this is where he is best able to serve God and be a witness to the hope that is within him.
On the other hand, we see a misused form of God in the Inspector Javert, the man who seeks over the years to expose Valjean for being a former criminal. Javert typifies one consumed by an evilconsciousness rather than a Godconsciousness. Unable to give grace to himself, he is understandably unable to grant it to others. His end epitomizes his focus on evil: unable to accept the reality
THE FINISHED KINGDOM
MY ADDICTION TO SUGAR
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 29
Continued (from page 24)
when you come to this point, you say a prayer acknowledging that it is Christ now living in you; not yourself any longer. I asked my wife, "What shall we do?" There was a long silence. I answered my own question, "I think we have to."
She replied, "We really don't have any choice."
As we realized that Jesus wanted to take over our lives it seemed exciting except for one fact: in order for him to live in us, we had to die. That wasn't so exciting. But we prayed the prayer, one at a time, in our own words. I really believed. Before I prayed the prayer, I expected that at some time, several years later maybe, I would receive a sign or seal of what God had done. But, immediately upon acknowledging that Christ was in me now, something happened. I received a seal upon my heart. No lightning. No choirs of angels. Nothing had changed. And yet, everything was different. It wasn't just a profession by faith. Christ in me was me-is me! He was there all the time-I just hadn't let him "be" before. At this point I have a hard time trying to explain just what happened. But it happened to my wife, too. Everything is different now for both of us. There is a world of difference between life as we live it now and life as we lived it before.
I had many questions in my mind before this. Questions such as "Who am l?" What am I? Who is God? What is life?" and many, many more.
As I related the details of my new life to a friend, he said, "I guess you have the answers to all those questions now."
I replied, "Yes."
"Well, what are they?" he inquired.
I paused. I realized then that I didn't have all the answers. But it was O.K. now. I didn't need all the answers. Before, these questions haunted me. Now it didn't natter. What matters now is Christ in me. Everything else is O.K. The problems are still there-maybe more than before. But now it's O.K. Christ is still there, too; and he'll take care of them.
of the grace of God which Valjean attests to, Javert commits suicide.
All through the television dramatization, I was impressed by the way Jean Valjean seemed to operate in naturalness and in confidence. Because of the knowledge of the One within, he lived as an other-lover, giving even as it was given unto him. Through the suffering, turmoil, and sorrow experienced in prison, he was prepared for his subsequent conversion, and then a life spent for others.
Last August I sent for Lanyon's books and have enjoyed each of them very much. At times I have to stop and let them sink in, but when it does-Wow!
It was just one year ago that I saw the truth of "I am" (Christ in me). Today I am a new person. The old me has passed away, and I truly am living in a new heaven. My personality has changed so much that family, friends, and neighbors cannot understand what has happened to me. I am finally free of bondage to people, and at last am free to be Christ in me. They look in amazement when they see me talk freely, make decisions, and act sure of myself for the first time in forty years. Christ is me and it's wonderful.
N.P.-Elwood City, PA
I felt I had to write you to express my appreciation for the December issue of Union Life. The article by Alan Watts was most enlightening and confirming. I had never heard of him, but a couple of girls in my Bible class who have been involved in the occult and one in the drug culture were both surprised by the article. This whetted my appetite to know more about him, so I went to the library and got the book, Behold the Spirit. I found it to be a book which I feel needs to be more widely read in evangelical circles. We are terribly ignorant of the real truth, and the things we are missing that should be proclaimed-especially the truth of the mystical experience. I have been
so scared of being misled that I have feared reading anything that didn't have the proper stamp on it.. Thank you so much for broadening my horizons by publishing this article.
For years I've wanted to be the "Church in Action"-to be able to reach out meaningfully and authentically to others in a relevant response to human need. But I felt boxed in to a physical church that seemed to make it impossible to be authentic. Then came a growing awareness of what it is to be the church-accepting my own body in which Christ is incarnate, revealing Himself as the One who is real, not phony.
With this growing understanding I have been content to give up all outer efforts and strivings to do "good deeds", and, instead, to let the Holy Spirit illumine my awareness of His presence in, as, and through me.
This past week a distant relative moved in with us-how temporarily we don't know. She is sixteen and had been in conflict with an oppressive and destructively authoritarian home environment. Her confused attempts to rebel led her equally confused father to handcuff and beat her, then call the juvenile officer. The result is she is with us during a cooling-off period. Already I can see the good in having turmoil surface to the place where a specific need can be dealt with. The whole family needs counselling, but, of course, what is really needed is the awareness of true identity and value.
I am learning that the secret to a creative release of teenage rebellion is the One-Power message-knowing that submission to oppressive authority, and the seeing of it as an agent of God's grace, robs it of destructive power. How I wanted to share this truth to the rebellious teenagers in the high school where I substituted this fall! But now there is the opportunity to share with one person, as it is appropriate, a few of the secrets I've learned along the way about living in an oppressive environment.
THE CHURCH IN ACTION
SURE OF MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME
Page 30 UNION LIFE
It's the same old story: a young man and woman fall in love, get married, and she dies. From this angle, Romeo and Juliet, Love Story, and A Severe Mercy have something in common. The difference is that Sheldon Vanauken's auto-biography goes a step further. Jesus Christ enters Davy's life and his, in that order, transforming the relationship. Although I• found the writing at times both sentimental and maudlin, it is at least honest. In consequence the discerning reader can separate the wheat from the chaff and learn something.
One of the lessons to be learned is that selfishness is a vacuum. We are made to be transparent vessels, filled with God's Spirit and giving light to all around us. If, however, we are filled with the spirit of the world, the devil; we become opaque, lightless and joyless. Vanauken has to learn that his "shining barrier" is ultimately death to both himself and his relationship with Davy. He will not share his beloved one with God nor with anyone else and finally begins a liaison with another woman when he finds Davy beginning one with God. In fact he and Davy are so selfish, they decide not to have children because they will not share their love with another, will not commit themselves to anyone but themselves. Vanauken trots out the theory so beloved by women "liberationists" that having children will enslave Davy, when actually as C.S. Lewis points out he has denied her the fulfilment of a woman. Ironically, by doing so, he has no one to turn to, to share his grief at Davy's premature demise. Instead of a living picture of her beside him to remind him of happy times in which they all might have shared, he has only photographs, portraits, and paintings. The after-death visions and apparitions of Davy are pathetic substitutes, sick illusions of a great reality. As C.S. Lewis writes to him:
One Flesh must not (and in the long run cannot) "live to itself" any more than the single individual. It was not made, any more than he, to be its Own End. It was made for God and (in Him) for its neighbours - first and foremost among them the children it ought to have produced (p. 209).1
That reality is of course God, which brings me to the second lesson to be learned from Vanauken's experience. It is God's "Severe Mercy," as C.S. Lewis aptly terms it, that God took Davy from him. God is a jealous God, jealous for our own fulfilment, knowing we cannot find rest or fulfilment apart from His absolute infilling. There are indications Davy found oneness with Christ. I am not so sure Vanauken ever has. The book ends unsatisfactorily, emphasizing a "second death" rather than a second life. By "second death" Vanauken is not referring to the theological concept of Revelation (20:6) but to Davy's final departure into the life beyond this-one: Earlier, however, Vanauken has glimpsed what union with Christ means, but unfortunately does not pursue the relationship further than to state "...I had seen in the hospital the Christ in her - the Co-inherence. Did she see Him in me, I wonder?" (p. 195)
The poetry was hardly worth quoting. Only here and there are there glimpses of good verse as in "Summer." It is unfortunate that the more serious verse is unimaginative in both meter and figurative content. Nothing beautiful there. But, more seriously, the whole tale tends to a ghost story conclusion and lacks the high seriousness the subject is given by Vanauken's spiritual mentor, C.S. Lewis. I found myself wishing there had been more of C.S. Lewis, earlier and constantly, and less of the love story descriptions.
'Quotes are from Sheldon Vanauken's A Severe Mercy (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1977).
UNION LIFE JUNE 1979 Page 31