Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Psalm 116

I was watching Law and Order -- which I keep telling myself not to watch-- and well, you know how L&O is. They're on a mission. They want to enlighten folks. A noble enough cause except this goal of theirs makes them be very reductionist with their stories. Crimes that happen to black people generally happen because they're black. Crimes that religious people commit generally happen because the person is religious. Hey, one has to use stereotypes, I suppose, if one wants to teach.  So yeah, I kinda attempt to blot out all those poor black moms, angry black kids, sex-craving ministers, judgmental religious folks, etc I see on these stupid L&O shows.

Anyway, recently, a female minister (of course she was female, she was represented as enlightened) says of her old church secretary, "She had a simple faith. She believed everything she said in the Bible." The implication was the old church secretary was behind the times -- as if religious truth changes with the time-- and none too educated (like female minister) or at least not cultured. Aside from the fact that hollywood tends to ignore that the folks they are insulting are folks actually watching their shows, there is also the problem that they want to shame those very same viewers. How can a viewer stand up and not feel shamed by such a slam? Well, I'll stand up and say I have been trying for years to get a simple faith. Do you know how frickin' hard that is to get? Simple faith is one of the hardest thing to come by.

Folks with simple faith, like a little old lady up the road from me, can pray folks out of diseases. Folks with simple faith are cynical as heck and not at all like the gullible types they portray us to be. Folks with simple faith know that if you don't believe in something you will believe in anything -- like scientology and other flaky stuff. Hey, it has taken me years to become this straight-and-narrow-minded and I have still years to go to attain to simple faith.

The Bible describes two kinds of simplicity. One kind which comes from being wrongly educated or miseducated by the world. A spiritually-slothful person is simple, for instance. Think of all those people who hate God, Jesus, and the Bible and have never studied Christianity. It's just a kind of kneejerk dislike they pick up in from the media or society. Or think of folks who never learned to use their minds? This kind of simplicity, the Bible says, can be cured. But it is cured by the word of God, not by the media and certainly not by sneers.

Then there is a different kind of simplicity which means purity, straight, untainted. This is a simpleness that is to be aimed for. No double-mindedness, no being spotted by the world, no being tossed about by every wind of doctrine or by what is considered the "deep" things or the "hippest" trendiest theology. In a world where everyone from psychologists to waitresses who watch too much Oprah to TV producers feel they can teach folks about the Bible, true religion, faith, and God, one can end up losing one's simplicity and having a very muddied religion indeed! Especially because these folks know little about religion, and are often talking about it second-hand.

Various verses in the Bible show the different kinds of simplicity

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Proverbs 1:31-33

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto thesimple.

Psalm 119:130

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Psalm 19:6-8

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
Proverbs 1:21-23 

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Romans 16:17-19

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Proverbs 27:11-13 

For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simpleconcerning evil. Romans 16:18-20 

Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright (or simple); but they have sought out many inventions.
Ecclesiastes 7:28-29 

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it withsimplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:7-9 

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
2 Corinthians 1:11-13 

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:2-4 

Psalm 116
1I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
2Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
3The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
4Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
5Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
6The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
7Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
8For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
9I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11I said in my haste, All men are liars.
12What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
13I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
15Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
17I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
18I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
19In the courts of the LORD's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.
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