Viewpoint

photo of a man sitting under the tree
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The secret of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold vessels with burning lights. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven lights are the seven churches.

Revelation 1:20 (BBE)

In Revelation, Hebrews and other books of the Bible we see the juxtaposition of heavenly entities with their reflections or shadows on earth.

In our text it is the stars as heavenly lights in relationship with the lamp stands as earthly lights. Other examples are the temple, the sacrifice and the sabbath.

But we can go back into Genesis as well and often find two things in juxtaposition, like light and darkness.

One can certainly make the case that the Bible has the central theme of heaven and earth and the way they relate, with earth either reflecting the heavenly to make it “real” (as the desirable interpretation and aim), or engaging in egotistical self-expression (as the norm). I think that after some thought, nobody would doubt that, even if they would not use those words exactly.

I think that how we view this duality, whether we see it as a duality in the first place, and what kind of reaction we take is a key issue for us.

Christians want to do God’s will, but what exactly is God’s will, and how can our view of the Bible and its metaphors help us figure it out?

You might not be surprised that for me our intepretation is and has to be changing over time as we grow and mature.

Many see this change in applying a finer granularity of more of the same, applying the same set of rules to ever finer things. „You might be able to watch that movie, but on my level of anointing and maturity, God does not allow me to taint myself with that any longer.“

But let us have a look on how this interpretation of this juxtaposition might change over time.

First, humanity had to recognise that there was something like the heavenlies. Having developed or having been given consciousness, we started to recognise death as inevitable intermediary destination, and therefore anticipating, fearing, foreseeing it for ourselves.

But we also started to think about where people that were obviously different after death, with only an empty shell left behind, were going.

We started to attribute the things we had no explanation for to the acting of those ancestors. This might be a comical representation, but I could imagine somebody saying: „Grandpa never liked when I was doing this and punished me for it. Maybe he is the source of what is happening to me because I again did this? He might still be angry with me.“

Questions of origin lead us to develop the idea of gods, and we needed to make sense of their intent with us.

For most, the gods made us as toys out of boredom with an aspect of demonstrating their power and ability.

What a difference to the judeo-christian view that we are made as a reflection of the divine, made in his image to have a relationship.

We refine our view of the divine and of ourselves over time. There are phases we depend on others, and phases we are pioneering our own views and testing our own faculties.

God allows for times we delegate our understanding of him to the wise men of the tribe, and then again times we mis-represent him as one power god among many. He grants us a period of seeing him as the eternal judge that punishes and rewards us for our behaviour or believes. He even is fine with a period in which we push him back to discover our own divine attributes, during which we might go as far as denying his existence or necessity. We have the tendency to go overboard in our ways. But then he leads us back to a new spirituality with a more fitting God image as we learn the value of others more deeply and get a better grip on grace.

Today, this evolutionary path of thoughts as you might call it is lived through by everybody, triggered and aided by the God image and worldview of those around us.

I believe that we are coming into a new period. This period will result in a major change of our perspective, maybe greater as all of the previous ones.

In the first periods, there were no perspectives in the sense as nobody questioned the only view available. This view was either formed by the wise men in the tribe, usually the elders, or the strong man.

When right and wrong came into focus of our development, we realized that there were different perspectives to things, but we saw one as dominant and true in regard to our value system.

We used phrases such as „it is written (in our sacred text)“ or „follow the science“ to select the true or the best interpretation. We even learned that we at times have to compromise, adjust for the situation, combine theories, or optimize a set of theories to the system.

There are also those that use another measurement to evaluate the true worldview: subjectivity. They seemingly do not assign absolute value to their worldview, but have a clear understanding for themselves which theories they prefer.

They trust that their worldview will proliferate by osmosis as it seems to be objectively the best, but for a while will not interfere with your function of maturing and finally accepting truth, as long as your view does not interfere with the values of others.

I think that the next step is imminent: true aperspectivity. We will have a toolset of worldviews, solutions, and theories that we will apply depending on the other person, the circumstances, the need of the situation, and as little as possible on myself.

Let me explain and maybe differentiate this a bit:

Our emotions are shaped by our values. We for example react to a breach of our values emotionaly, and find peace when everything is within the borders of our values.

Thus it is clear that we cannot just create our own individual values, because then our conscience never drives us to higher development. Why? If I create my values, my conscience will not take issue with my actions as they are driven by my values. Never facing the chaos makes growth impossible, but is impossible in and of itself as we are not alone and individual sets of values clash.

We cannot just have values superimposed on us by others either. We are valuable individuals in the image of God, and having values superimposed by others at least needs a decision that we agree on a hierarchy and the selection of who is creating those values.

This has been decided several times over the last millenia, starting from the elders and wise men to the strong man to God through his anointed ones, to the successfull ones, and then the most woke ones. But there were always circumstances and new problems brought about through the actions those value systems initiated that showed us that the powers that be were not skilled enough to create the values for us.

God obviously decided to not do that for us entirely, but to give us more or less cryptic texts–if even that–that need interpretation to set us on a path to discover the truth that we have to co-create those values.

And thus the history of mankind of learning to co-create value systems that answer the questions of the time and bring us forward.

So we cannot have others superimpose values on us, whether that be men or gods, nor can we create them individually, nor can we create them for others. It is a process that includes all including God.

And since we all are at different points of development, there are no cookie cutter recipies. If there were, a subset of humanity again were to superimpose those recipes and values on all that have not reached that conclusion yet or have grown further.

Thus, human growth is a function of co-creating the value systems and answers to the heavenly concepts and earthly circumstances as far as we can see them and fathom them at any point of time, reflecting on earth what we see in the heavens. And less religious: living out in the now what we conceptually see developing in the eternal.

Thus, the phrase „who so-ever is led by the spirit“ becomes an ever-changing processual growth and learning path that is co-created individually and communally in the interaction with each other and God.

What becomes important is the in-between-ness, the process, the flow, and not one set of measurements along the lines of one value system.

That does make us truly inter-dependent.

And now, what is your viewpoint?

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Categorized as Kingdom

By Ralph Rickenbach

Accompanyist | Pastor in Exile | Iconoclast — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.