On Respecting Authority or Differences in Opinions and Considering the Harm Done If We Choose Otherwise

"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1. To vote... for the person they judged more worthy.
2. Speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side." 
- John Wesley, English cleric, theologian, and philanthropist
The following are questions I entertain and often, given the current climate of our country:
  • What does it mean to really respect instituted authority, respect entities, and respect individuals despite encountering drastically differing opinions, values, or personalities?
  • What does it mean for our mental and emotional states when we choose to do the opposite?
Surely the thoughts we express can be of potent criticality without adding to toxicity.
I wake up this morning desiring to understand how to do this better and authentically in all circumstance… how about you?

My Faith Grounded Musings:

Romans 13:1 on Submission to Governing Authorities

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

As a Christian, I can rationalize the validity of this command or “rule”. When one considers the grounding tenets that define Christianity, a quick survey will reveal some very constant albeit complicated narratives that frame our faith: an everpresent dance and balancing act between the subject of God’s sovereignty, having free will and its impact, and the concept of time that is not linear or as we see it according to modern physics. Following God is not about always having the answers and the whys to everything from the start (I would say I struggled with this question as a believer my whole life until maybe about last year!). Sometimes a situation requires obedience before we are able to see and understand 20/20, even with a controversial verse and command such as this that many Christians either outrightly ignore or struggle with (including myself!)

The fact of the matter though is that God’s word is God’s word. When we say we give our life over to him, we are surrendering our right to picking and parsing things we like and dislike, accept or reject, and that includes where we stand on the merits of the Bible’s commands. When one accepts the truth of the Gospel, the only requirement for being “Christian,” this implies a full and total acceptance of the Bible as the living word (Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”).

*For context, the word of God referred to the written or spoken word of God, and the Bible is accepted as the word of God.

Victorious

Psalms 3: 2-6

 “Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him,’ But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the lord, I cry aloud and he answers me from his holy will. I lie down. and sleep; I wake up again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands.”

I will not fear because God said he’ll deliver me.

I will sleep and rest well, because God is the ONLY one that can sustain me in the literal and figurative sense. Not through the works or studies or efforts of our hand alone.

I am protected and shielded in the actions I take [so long as they are made in the character of Jesus Christ] and the opportunities I step into that are provided or opened for me, because in fact, they’ve been provided as a part of God’s will.

I will stay humble and low, because I will remember that as God’s child I am a part of his will and plan. For any glory bestowed onto *me* by the world, I will relinquish any claim to glory independent of God. As a true child of God, however, I will gladly receive with thanks the glory bestowed on me through his grace, his abundant provision, his protection, and his blessings on my life.

I believe.

Now I will go out victorious today, and achieve glory and redemption and beauty for my father.

Science and Spirituality

“A walk down Arundel Street in London remains, after all, the best introduction to philosophy. Keep your eyes to the left as you descend toward the river from the Strand. You will observe that the Christian World is published at number seven, and a few yards further down, at number nine, the Feathered World. By the time you have reached the Embarkment you will find yourself involved in the most abstruse metaphysical speculations.

The Christian World, the Feathered World — between them a great gulf is fixed… The values and even the truths current in the world of number seven Arundel Street cease to hold good in that of number nine.

The world of Christians and the world of the feathered are but two out of a swarm of humanly conceivable and humanly explorable worlds. They constellate the thinking mind like stars, and between them stretches the mental equivalent of interstellar space — unspanned. Between, for example, a human body and the whizzing electrons of which it is composed, and the thoughts, the feelings which direct its movements, there are, as yet at any rate, no visible connections. The gulf that separates the lover’s, say, or the musician’s world from the world of the chemist is deeper, more uncompromisingly unbridgeable than that which divides Anglo-Catholics from macaws or geese from Primitive Methodists. We cannot walk from one of these worlds into another; we can only jump. The last act of Don Giovanni is not deducible from electrons, or molecules, or even from cells and entire organs. In relation to these physical, chemical, and biological worlds it is simply a non sequitur. The whole of our universe is composed in a series of such non sequiturs. The only reason for supposing that there is in fact any connection between the logically and scientifically unrelated fragments of our experience is simply the fact that the experience is ours, that we have the fragments in our consciousness. These constellated worlds are all situated in the heaven of the human mind. Some day, conceivably, the scientific and logical engineers may build us convenient bridges from one world to another. Meanwhile we must be content to hop. Solvitur saltando. The only walking you can do in Arundel Street is along the pavements.”

– Aldous Huxley, Meditation in Arundel Street

 

Complement with the Bible

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon

On Psalms

I am embarking on a reading journey through Psalms, and I’ll update this post here as I find words daily that resonate with me in some way or potentially for where I am at a given point in time.

 

Feel free to check in and follow along:

Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man[a]
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

 

Psalm 2:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

Psalm 3:

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.”

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. 

5I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

 

Psalm 4:

O men,[a] how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry,[b] and do not sin;
    ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 5:

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
    make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouth;
    their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
    they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
    let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
    for they have rebelled against you.

Psalm 6:

Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

 

Psalm 7:

Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;

    save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
    rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.

Lord my God, if I have done this,
    if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend[b] with evil
    or plundered my enemy without cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
    and let him trample my life to the ground
    and lay my glory in the dust. Selah

Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
    lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
    awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
    over it return on high.

The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.

 

Psalm 8:

O Lord, our Lord,

how magestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Psalm 9:

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

 

Psalm 10:

The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

 

Psalm 11:

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
    but the wicked, those who love violence,
    he hates with a passion.
.

.

.

For the Lord is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.

 

Psalm 12:

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
    and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
    “By our tongues we will prevail;
    our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like gold[c] refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.

 

Psalm 13:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

.

.

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 14:

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,[a]
    who seek after God.

Psalm 15:

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

.

.

.

who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 16:

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 17:

With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.

.

.

.

10 They close their hearts to pity;
    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.

Lord, I pray I may be so, and that I too avoid the temptation to be arrogant for the sake of humor and laughs

Psalm 18:

He rescued me from my strong enemy
    and from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the Lord was my support.

Psalm 19:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 20:

May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

 

Psalm 21:

For you make him most blessed forever;[a]
    you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord,
    and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

 

.

.

.

Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 50

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”