I spend a lot of time in contemplation. In the past few years, a ‘shape’ has occupied an appreciable amount of my thoughts. I have not the skill to make the shape, although I can describe how it may be done, nor the skill to produce a proper drawing. I haven’t an original thought in my head. I got the Idea from the cover of book (Gödel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter). On that cover, there is the picture of two shapes carved from wood. The silhouette of these shapes cast a different shadow from each of three directions, forming G for Gödel, E for Escher, and B for Bach. This is to depict the unity as well as the separateness of Mathematics of Gödel and the Graphics of Escher and the music of Bach. I always thought of a shape representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same way. It could be F & S & H, or a Crown, a Cross, and a Dove. The purpose of this sculpture would be to represent the distinctiveness of the three persons of God, at the same time representing the unity of the whole. One can look at the sculpture I described and see different things from different angles, while the whole can only be inferred. A second meditation is the man in the mirror, meaning myself. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. I think Christians would do well to consider this truth. I have been meditating on the thought that my most critical assessment needs to be done when looking in the mirror. Honest self assessment is, to me, so central to improvement in the Eyes of the Lord. I am minded that honesty does not require self loathing. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but if we do not know how to love ourselves, how may we then love each other? This love needs to be for our spiritual needs, not necessarily our desires. Putting these two meditations together provides a context for discussions on venues such as this one, where many with different viewpoints see the same Lord from varying angles. For reasons that I will not go into here, I have not been faithful enough to commit to a single church family for several years, although I have attended services. In the past, I have found that attending a believing church, even when they have markedly different view of the scriptures than has produced an approach that concentrates on areas of agreement. There is a central core, that of Christ crucified and risen, through which we are made part of His kingdom. Beyond that there are many differences, many of these differences stem from which different views on the meaning of scripture, and each have come to their views as the HS has led them. I am truly interested in hearing how others perceive Him. I find a parallax view very enlightening and edifying. But many seem intent on removing the mote from the eye of others. There are cries of ‘false teaching’ whenever someone posts something that does not reflect the views another wishes to put forward. It is interesting that the term is always pointed at the other viewpoint. Someone once said that when you point your index finger at another, three fingers point back at you. Of course that applies to myself also, and I maybe I cannot post this without being a hypocrite, but I really want to explore views other than those that may align closely with my own. Getting back to my first thought, that of the cube that appears different in profile from each of three directions: Imaging the ‘G-E-B’ cube, as opposed to the ‘Trinity’ cube Suppose there were three observers attempting to gain a clear, complete and correct understanding of that shape by looking at the shadows it casts. Observer G can only see the ‘G’ shaped shadow. Observer E can only see the ‘E’ shaped shadow. Observer B can only see the ‘B’ shaped shadow. Observer G (here called OG) remarks on the beautiful curves that connect the top with the sides, and again the curves that connect the sides with the bottom. OG compares these curves to segments of an ellipse and finds great beauty in that description. Observer E (here called OE) says that OG’s view is obviously fallacious because the shadow is wholly composed of sharp edged straight sided parts that join in sharp right-angles. He then marvels at the straightness of these lines and the rightness of the angles. OG then states that he can see several straight components and some sharp angled edges on one side, but still holds that the overall shape is best understood by comparing it to an ellipse. Observer B (of course called OB) tries to mediate saying that his observations show that there are both straight edges/sharp corners and beautifully curved parts. The problem here is not with any observer but the failure of them to combine their views in cooperation to perceive a greater understanding of the central object that is only indirectly observed. Of course this is a made-up illustration (But I would like to be able to construct the Father/Son/Holy Spirit cube). The analogy breaks down fairly quickly, if you tug at it, but that is the nature of analogies: they may illustrate a concept, but usually there are sharp limits to the truths that can be extracted thus. I am using this site as one tool of self examination. I am thankful for disagreements in love. I need the challenge of having my thoughts critiqued by my brothers. I may receive pleasure when my thoughts are affirmed, particularly when it is from an angle I had not considered. But my prime purpose is to come to a better understanding of contrasting points of view. This is not an attempt at some kind of lukewarm ecumenical stance. The differences in doctrine are real. The differences in doctrine are important. I know why my first church after I accepted the Lord baptized me by immersion, and only baptizes those that have reached the maturity to make a faith decision. I know why protestant churches have an empty cross to signify a risen Lord, rather than a Crucifix signifying a perpetually crucified Savior. I have a layman’s understanding of the differences between the various views of the Lord’s Supper and I am not about to go looking for another understanding. But I gained these views at the proverbial knee of my church. I am sure that their explanations would be deemed correct by adherents of alternate views. My primary purpose here is not to convince anybody of anything, but I believe the best way to address misinformation is with true information. If the truth is understood, the false will wither. I have an understanding of the importance of words and know that there are some ‘Christian’ denominations that deny the trinity but will use the same words to say completely different things. If I were hosting a Bible study, I would take stronger views, and challenge those I felt were mishandling scripture. When I was a Sunday school teacher, I made sure that I reflected the teaching of that church, which was not a stretch. If I were a church leader, or a Pastor, I would make sure that the Church’s theology reflected scripture, and that teaching received from that church was in line with that defined theology. I can be blessed by the teachings of Charles Spurgeon. I can also be blessed with the teachings of Karl Barth, and comparing both of those with the scriptures. I will leave you with one more analogy. Many times, the differences in theology stems from discerning which Biblical passages are descriptive, and which are definitive. To illustrate the difference, I’ll use a book on my shelf called “Gray’s Anatomy”. It describes, but does not define the human body. For my purposes, it is authoritative. I know of nowhere in that book that provides patently false information (although I recognize that medical research is continually in motion). I have no problem agreeing that it is a detailed description of its subject. If one were to consider this book to be definitive, then I cannot be considered human. I was born with several things at variance (an extra tooth, a few other things). Since my birth, I have been surgically altered. I have had the removal of my thyroid, I have had the blood vessels around my heart rerouted, and a few years ago I had further modifications without which I would, without the Lord’s intercession be deceased. The Bible contains a lot of examples, from which we extract the truths they exemplify. The Bible also contains direct statements, but none of them exist separately from the rest of the text. However one passage is perceived, its proper interpretation cannot invalidate the proper interpretation of another. Much ink has been used expounding on how one passage comments on another.