Tuesday, July 17, 2012

C.S. Lewis and Focus on the Afterlife

I've been reading C.S. Lewis's book Reflections on the Psalms, and in it he explains how the Jews perceived the Psalms vs. how Christians perceive them. One thing he addresses is the Christian focus on the afterlife. He says that traditionally in Judaism, there was little to no belief in an afterlife. Then he says this, which I love because it so succinctly states my own objections to scaring people into salvation via hellfire and brimstone: "The truth seems to me that happiness or misery beyond death, simply in themselves, are not even religious subjects at all... the hopes and anxieties aroused are overwhelming. But they are not on that account the more religious. They are hopes for oneself, anxieties for oneself. God is not in the centre. He is still important only for the sake of something else" (emphasis mine).

That is also how I feel about the "Left Behind" mentality. Having been through my own Last Day obsession, I came out of it realizing how little it nourished me spiritually. My focus was on things so literal.

Anyway, he goes on to theorize why, in all God's revelation to the ancient Hebrews, he didn't reveal to them the importance of the afterlife: "It is surely, therefore, very possible that when God began to reveal himself to men, to show them that He and nothing else is their true goal and the satisfaction of their needs, and that He has a claim upon them simply by being what He is, quite apart from anything He can bestow or deny, it may have been absolutely necessary that his revelation should not begin with any hint of future Beatitude or Perdition. Those are not the right point to begin at. An effective belief in them, coming too son, may even render almost impossible the development of (so to call it) the appetite for God; personal hopes and fears, too obviously exciting, have got in first" (emphasis mine).

Brilliant. It shows exactly the theological flaw in using scare tactics to present Christ. I realize some Christians have a "whatever-it-takes" mentality, but I just can't believe that such "salvation" leads to a true understanding of Christ.  It may do more damage in the long run.
I was brought up being taught, and have continued to experience, that the Kingdom is in operation every day, every moment.  Christ is Risen.  And living the Kingdom every day automatically keeps us in a state of preparation because we have the proper focus.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Silent Scuffle

There have been several events in my life that have seemed paranormal but could possibly be explained away, even if by a far-fetched theory. 

Tonight's event was not one of those.  At least I can't think of an explanation.

I will back up:  two days ago, I had a couple experiences with texts I knew I had composed and sent only to find later that they were nonexistent.  This happened with two different text messaging services.  Still, technology will be technology, so, while I find it intriguing, I know it could just be a glitch -- even, coincidentally, in two different text messaging services.

This morning, I noticed two of my rats starting what I like to call a "silent scuffle."  Bishop and Farnsworth are such good friends that when they DO appear to have a fight, they go through the motions, but there is none of the squeaking and screeching you hear with two less affectionate rats.  It's kind of like watching a silent movie.  So when I saw this silent scuffle about to start up, I grabbed my iPhone to get it on film so my friend Jocy could see it.  She had heard about their scuffles, but I'd never filmed one. 

Disappointingly, just as I started recording, Bishop and Farnsworth toned it down and just sat there sort of swaying their heads back and forth, merely considering starting a scuffle.  I thought to myself, "Well, this is boring.  But Jocy would probably find it interesting since she would be able to tell what they are actually doing." (Jocy knows "rat language" very well.) 

But when Farnsworth started grooming Bishop, I realized the show was over and I just stopped the recording and went about my morning.  The video wasn't worth sending even to Jocy.

This evening, Jocy accompanied me to a vet visit for my brother's dog.  On our way, I asked if she had seen the two rat videos I had sent her yesterday.  She said, "Yes, I saw them this morning." then she laughed.  "I saw the one with the 'silent scuffle.'"  I looked at her in confusion and she continued, "You know, where the two rats were swaying back and forth in front of each other."

I knew I hadn't sent her the video she seemed to be describing; I hadn't even told her I had recorded one of their scuffles.  So I just decided she was referring to a video with a part I didn't remember happening, or she was just confused.  We were interrupted, but resumed the conversation later.  When she again brought that video up, I said, "I didn't send you that video."

She insisted I did, and she grabbed her phone to pull it up.  Meanwhile, I grabbed my phone to pull up the video of the near silent scuffle.  When I showed it to her, she said, "Yes, that was it."
"But I didn't send this to you," I said.  "I just decided it was too boring and I quit recording and did something else."

Again, she insisted I did send it to her.  And, like I said, she had already described the video, even before I'd shown it to her.  She decided that maybe my iPhone had sent it automatically. 

However, when she went to her email to show me -- it wasn't there.  Only the two videos I remember sending her were there.  She told me it had been a Youtube link within an email, like the others.  I showed her no such email in my own sent messages OR in my uploaded videos in Youtube.  I then showed her the steps I have to take to send her a video (with this particular one, I'd have had to clip it and that takes me some time since I have to decide which part to send) and there are even more steps to uploading it to Youtube then sending it as a link. 

But the fact remained that she had been able to describe this video before we had realized there was no way she could have seen it. (Also note that I have only ever sent her three videos total. Two of those were yesterday and one was months ago. None of them had a scene like the one she had just described that I had filmed.)

To make this more interesting, she told me that as she was watching it, she had figured - considering the boring content - that I had wanted her to tell me what the rats were doing -- which was exactly what I was thinking at the time of recording. 

There is no explanation as of yet for this.  But it's not the first time Jocy has experienced what appears to be an alternate reality.