What Matters Most - part 1 (1/6/2021)

 
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Love Matters More

In the New Testament gospels, Jesus presents love as the ultimate end of a moral life (Mark 12:30-31).

Christianity Makes It Complex

· After becoming a follower of Jesus, Christianity makes foggy to continue.

o We were told to make sure we held all the correct beliefs and that we needed to remind everyone who disagreed that they were wrong, wrong, wrong.

o We were told correct doctrine matters more.

· People are forced to choose between truth and love.

When Love Doesn’t Feel Like Love

· We are told Christianity is about love, but most of the time it is about belief.

o The fear about being wrong in our beliefs has crowded out the clear message of Jesus’ life and death – love matters more.

o Christianity often claims “we are loving”; but it doesn’t feel that way.

· There is a word for people telling you they love you while what you are experiencing is actually only pain and loneliness: ABUSE.

Self-Deception in a Broken System

· When love doesn’t feel like love, it is often justified by saying “just telling the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

· Hopefully, the intention may be good, but it can easily become a sneaky way to tell people they are wrong as a means to feel more certain.

Absolute Truth

· Christians often are obsessed with “absolute truth”.

o It is the idea that we can know with certainty everything there is to know in the world.

o The problem becomes trusting in our beliefs rather than trusting in God.

o We keep the creator captive to what we can comprehend.

o Watching certainty slide into uncertainty is frightening for most people.

· The problem becomes apparent when new “truth” is discovered.

The UMWELT

· In 1909, the biologist Jakob von Uexküll introduced the concept of the umwelt.

o He wanted a word to express a simple (but often overlooked) observation: different animals in the same ecosystem pick up on different environmental signals.

· Because of how their bodies are built, all animals see, hear, and feel the world very differently.

o Dolphins can hear thousands of sounds we can’t hear.

o Buzzards can see a mouse from 15,000 feet in the air.

· The way the buzzard experiences the world will always be different from the way the dolphin experiences the world.

· There is the world as it really exists out there (what we call reality), and then there is the world as someone, or something experiences it (umwelt).

o We only experience “reality” through our umwelt.

o Different cultures, personalities, experiences and even languages factor into the human umwelt.

o Our limitations cause us to explore and experience the world very differently than other people do.

· Ignorance limits how we experience the world too.

o Every time we learn something new our world gets a little bit bigger and changes our umwelt.

St. Paul’s Black Swan

· Paul realized he did not have access to absolute truth (1 Corinthians 13:12).

o He used to have certainty about what he believed (Philippians 3:4-6).

o He believed he had God figured out.

o He used violence to help convince people he was right (Acts 7-8).

· Paul had an experience that expanded his umwelt (Acts 9:1-6).

o His black swan so radically changed his world that his name was changed, and he ended giving up his social status of a rabbi and possibly a Pharisee.

o Paul even was staking other people’s lives on the fact that he was right, and others were wrong.

Paul’s Doxology to the Mystery of the Divine (Romans 11:33-36)

· There is enough truth to guide us but not enough to think there are no surprises left.

· What about the Bible? Doesn’t that give us access to absolute truth?

· Faith is not certainty in what we know; it’s confidence in who we know.

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