The Role of the Angels
May 15, 2023
It’s enough, however. This notion that we have to prove things to other people—where does that come from? Not from the Bible, which is content with ‘may each one be firmly convinced in his own mind.’ (Romans 14:5) It must be a residual of the ‘critical thinking’ plague that persuades people they have far greater analytical skills than they really do—or that creation lends itself to their brand of scientific thinking. In some ways it does but in other ways it does not.
(Photo: Ben White, Unsplash.com)
At the moment I’m reading Frederick Douglass’s first autobiography. He wrote three, at different stages of his life, ever incorporating his most recent doings and sometimes modifying his original accounts just as the passage of time modifies ours in the spirit of ‘time heals all things.’ It is an excellent work, fully justifying the praise the Great Courses professor gave it, superior (in my mind) to a biography of him by a contemporary scholar who uses contemporary jargon. I am steamed that no one told me to read the book previously—just like the Joker was steamed that no one told him Batman had one of those . . .one of those . . . one of those things that could sweep his balloons out from the sky. Someone should have told him. “Bob—give me your gun!” he ordered, and the thug instantly complied.
At any rate, the relevance here is that Douglass states that he has always believed his deliverance from slavery and course thereafter was directed by ‘divine providence.’ He writes this, although there were millions of slaves who never tasted an ounce of freedom and who suffered horribly. He further says he fully realizes some may view him as ‘superstitious,’ even ‘egotistical’ [as though he is anticipating our times] on this account, but he doesn’t care. Why doesn’t he care?
“I should be false to the earliest sentiments of my soul if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others rather than to be false and incur my own” internal disapproval.
Furthermore, “this living Word of Faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remains like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.”
He’s not worried lest others not accept his ‘proof.’ He’s not presenting it as proof to anyone, but to satisfy inmost fibers of his own being. The guy has more of a grasp on Christianity that does many a modern believer.
*** And on angels directing the preaching work? It may not be helpful to say that I’ve declined calling yet again on a return visit that is never home, regardless of when I call, saying, ‘Well, the angels have to do something.’
I have no problem saying that they do. Still, whenever I have throughly whiffed in service, such as the time when I explained how at death one has paid for his sin and the woman I was speaking with thought I was calling her deceased son a sinner put to death on that account, and consequently slammed the door on us, my companion’s angel winks at mine and says, ‘Boy, your guy sure is a dud, isn’t he!?’
****** The bookstore
Oh very interesting! "May each one be firmly convinced in his own mind" and "I prefer to be true to myself even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others rather than to be false and incur my own” internal disapproval."
I have felt pressure for years to be able to fully convince others of my beliefs (both scriptural and otherwise.) The red flag I think is when I feel "the need" to convince. Joy killer. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy lists "I'm right and your wrong" as one of several self-defeating beliefs, related to the need for others' approval ( and instead of a healthy internal "sober rating" of oneself). It also kills any attempt to listen with empathy to the other party.
I never thought about it from the standpoint of the influence of "critical thinking." But that makes sense.
We must have watched the '89 Batman a hundred times over multiple summer vacations, as it was one of the only movies we owned on VHS. I was so disappointed in my Bob the Goon action figure. The other VHS was a collection of movies my aunt recorded off TV: The 'Burbs, Creature from Black Lake, and Deceived with Goldie Hawn. Oh, and The Brave Little Toaster.
[Tom replies: The demise of Bob the Goon is one of my all-time favorite movie scenes. Several times I’ve woven it into my own work. Thanks for the reminder.]
Posted by: CM | May 15, 2023 at 03:50 PM