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Monday, September 14, 2015

Born Again - The Ride of a Lifetime

What is the most significant crossroads event that separates the "before" and "after" of your life journey? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 217).


John 3:1-21 New International Version (NIV)

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”


A Christian Confederate Soldier's Prayer
(Anon - alleged  to have been found on a CSA casualty at the Devil's Den, Gettysburg)

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.


Spanning  some 20 years from 1980 to 1999 I had repeated bouts with mental illness. It was first diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia and later evolved into a bipolar disorder. These were the diagnoses. With the lapse of time I increasingly have seen the spiritual dimension of these experiences. The Confederate soldier's prayer quoted above was the essential transition I made.  To my prayers for  strength, health, riches, and power; I would have to add a prayer for cool rationality combined with the neat compartmentalization of emotion.   My born again experience completely shattered this unrealistic fantasy. The mind clearly interrelates the rational and emotional in a hopelessly complex interplay that could care less about my will in the matter.

Other Lessons Learned: After my born again experience I have a greater appreciation for the tendency of  passably sane people to "connect the dots" while the pattern perceptually derived is completely illusory. Great and small matters are routinely  launched  based entirely upon "paranoia applied to management" and defended with the utmost gravity and rationalism.  A third lesson learned is that people are reluctant to step up and say they think you're crazy. People largely "play along to get along." A  fourth lesson for me resulted from my encounter with God. After such an encounter there is no turning back in the matter of belief. Finally I learned to trust other people. Coworkers took personal ownership of my condition and with great skill and compassion navigated me to mental facilities. And upon recovery, I returned to work with only one thing apparent – their steadfast love.

 So as the Confederate soldier – I am, among all people, most richly blessed.

To understand it all, please play this YouTube music video (Glenn Frey "Part of You, Part of Me" from Thelma and Louise):

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