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Wilderness to Water. Reflections regarding God's faithfulness, character, love, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. An examination of God's grace and power through meditative prose, poetry, original drawings and full-color photographs.

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Thursday
Jan102013

So, Feel Free, My Friend...

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
—(Matthew 7: 26-27)


“All forms of humanist sentimental ethics have one common characteristic: subjectivism. Humanists decide for themselves what is right and wrong without any external entity to instruct them… sentiment rules. “
—Herbert Schlossberg

“Why look for real ironies and contradictions in life, much less watch out for the devils , when A) truth doesn’t exist, and B) what you feel is what really matters?”
—Roberto Rivera

“It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. We make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions – especially selfish ones.”
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


One of the most enticing drawing cards of “New Age Spirituality” in the post-modern culture of the secular West is the promotion and promise of a phantom: “Self-actualization”. We are told that if we can get in touch with our deepest inner feelings, if we can learn to follow our own subjective ” bliss”, then peace, enlightenment and ultimate satisfaction will be our well-deserved reward. After all, it’s the process that really matters, and if we’re “in process”, then surely we must be making “progress”. And progress becomes our ultimate goal. If we are in process of progressively progressing toward “Self-actualization”, then we must be set on the right course and sailing in the right direction. If we can sense the winds of change, we’re good.

At least, that’s how we feel…




When the phantom goal… (ie., “Self-actualization”)… is itself such an elusive and indistinct moving target…shrouded in the dense “fog” of Relativism, and when “progress” toward that goal is measured both in incremental units of subjective “feelings” and the sentimental ebb and flow of emotions , one ought to begin to realize that something is amiss. After all, when there is no compass, no rudder, no “fixed point”, no anchor and no North Star in sight, the waves of feeling and emotion will, sooner or later leave one languishing in the Doldrums or stranded on a sandbar…, or worse, shipwrecked on some very ugly, jagged rocks.


"Shipwreck", JMW Turner, 1805

If we set our course based upon insight derived “in accord with our [selfish] emotions”, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn states [above], we are mistaken. If we mistake movement for “progress”, we err again. If we are,… as the song goes…, “hooked on a feeling”, sooner or later we’ll come to realize that the feeling that we’re hooked on is very likely a deceptive, destructive and deadly whirlpool…though, perhaps cleverly concealed.

But, as we have all been warned…., that IS the nature of the beast.

Today, words like truth, goodness, morality, modesty, chastity, purity, holiness (and more) are no longer considered pertinent topics for discussion. These once virtuous precepts have become unwelcome “oddities” in….(ahem)… tolerant and polite societies like our own. These traditional precepts have all been passed through the blender of contemporary relativism in this Age of Progressive Deconstruction and have been rendered incomprehensible and meaningless to the more “advanced” post-modern mind. Today such virtues are deemed to be of little concern, and more and more, they are looked down upon with proud derision and contempt. We have, you see, evolved.

The Truth-less “insights” of post-modernism have, like an odorless and poisonous gas, seeped deeply into the very fabric of Western civilization. The traditional foundation of the culture has been undermined. The sands are shifting, and the once firmly planted pillars of Christian theological teaching can be seen…(if you look quickly)… sinking into a bog of subjective speculation and fuzzy, feel-good platitudes. They are in fact, being swallowed up by the quicksand idolatries of feelings and flesh. Relativism has taken its toll.



Someone once observed that we live today in an age of “the saturated Self”. Christian apologist, Stuart McAllister adds:

“Reason is abandoned for feeling. The will is overwhelmed by the range of choice. The emotions are on overload as a result of hyper-stimulation and image fatigue…our lives are porous and the volume of influences so vast that much of the corruption, compromise and carnality we are seeing can overwhelm us…The post-modern world is a boundary-less and boundary-destroying world.”

And so, here we are in these “United States of Entertainment”, where promised Self-actualization prances out onto the stage of American IdoLand, grins stylishly into the camera, waves to millions of adoring fans, and then proudly takes a bow. We feel good.



“So, Feel Free, My Friend….Just Do It!”


We don't KNOW good, we just feel it...
Feeling good's the way we grow!
Feeling good's what makes us happy,
And, like, man, that's good....ya know!?

If it feels good, hey,…. just do it!
We feel that’s the bottom line.
If you feel that we’re in error,
That’s cool, too!…We feel that’s fine.

We don’t feel that we should judge you,
And feel you should feel the same!
That way we can all feel happy
As we feel no one’s to blame.

We feel guilt is not a good thing.
No, what’s good is feeling fine…
And we do feel fairly certain,
Feeling good is just divine.

So, we hope you’re feeling good now,
And you feel you’re feeling well.
We feel best when you feel happy,
When we feel you’re feeling swell.

Though we feel The Final Answer
Keeps on shifting over time,
Still we feel that you’re progressing
If you’re feeling more sublime!

And then if you are progressing,
Then you won’t be feeling odd...
So, we pray you’ll keep progressing ,
‘til you’re feeling just like God!

So, feel free, my friend…Go for it!
Feel “the process”, man, ya know!?
We just hope you’re feeling lucky
And are going with the flow.




“[In the world of post-modernism]…there is no objective meaning anchored in a reality beyond ourselves; everything is unhinged; everything can mean anything, so everything means nothing. Style is all that remains; substance disappears…When all that is available is surface, when the ocean is all wave and no bottom, anchorage is out of the question. “
—Douglas Groothuis

“…he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1: 6-8)

"The formula is simple: when relativism holds sway long enough, everyone begins to do right in his own eyes without any regard to for submission to truth. In this atmosphere, a society begins to break down."
—John Piper

"Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever...." (Hebrews 6: 17-20)

A Simple Prayer

Lord, by your Grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit, please teach us to pray, and help us to ask:, “What is truly true?” Help us to honestly seek that which is truly good, truly just and truly foundational ….whether the answer will make us “feel” good or not. Help us, Lord, to be honest and sincere in our seeking and in our asking. We want to know the Truth. Amen

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