“I am at point in time where I question belief systems (be they spiritual or otherwise) to see how they fit into my experience… I remain open to receiving “answers” that are always true no matter time/space/circumstance. I must say though when I have received such information it has come from within….”
[Paraphrase] I am drawn to Sophia, personified wisdom (and Goddess of Wisdom); here is a link to an article about Sophia’ Exile and Return” written by Kathleen Granville Damiani. She articulates here (much better than I can) a significant part of my questioning/thinking.
“Who is Sophia? Literally she is Wisdom, because the Greek word Sophia means “wisdom” in English. More than that, Sophia is the Wisdom of Deity. She has been revered as the Wise Bride of Solomon by Jews, as the Queen of Wisdom and War (Athena) by Greeks, and as the Holy Spirit of Wisdom by Christians… Sophia personifies wisdom, an ancient tradition concerned with integrity in the marketplace, politics, and royal court. Because the teachings were rooted in life instead of doctrine, Sophia became problematical and excluded from the religious formulations of monotheism.” http://www.northernway.org/sophia.html
Great to hear from you. Thanks for your thoughts, and sharing “Sophia: Exile and Return” with me. I found it very interesting and revealing about Ms. Damiani’s personal journey. I appreciate her openness and your sharing her story with me. Each of us is on a personal journey, and although our journeys may intersect or be along the same path for a time, it is still personal and one that each of us must live out in our lives.
I also question belief systems to see how they fit into my experience. And as I meet people, read books, and have other encounters, they inevitably become part of my experience. Although I used to see religion as a matter of belief, a “blind leap of faith”, I now see a profound opportunity – that of a relationship with the sovereign, living God, the creator of the universe. Furthermore, I see many manifestations of God’s supernatural intervention into the natural world and our lives. A few examples:
- A colleague of mine who is on the faculty at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences campus told me about an experience that transformed her life. In the 1970s, she said it was the worst time of her life. She was going through a divorce, and she had a 2 year old girl. She felt strongly that she should stay home and take care of her daughter, but didn’t have enough money. So she wrote down how much money she would need, and then said: “Lord, you know I want to stay home with my daughter and take care of her, but you know I don’t have the money. So let me know what I should do.” The total amount of the money she needed was $10,750.56 (this was back in the 70s).
The next day she received a letter from her mother, telling her that she knows she is going through a tough time in her life, and perhaps this will help. Enclosed was a check for the exact amount of $10,750.56! The letter from her mother was sent a day before she wrote down the amount. I think this is how the Lord works – something happens in our life and we know it could not have happened by chance.
- Three weeks ago, I heard a large man, whose name is Ed, tell his story – an incredible story, in some ways similar to the story of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Ed was drafted into the army and went to Vietnam, where he witnessed great brutality and became heavily involved in drugs. When he returned, he became an enforcer with the mob in New Orleans. He was arrested for a murder he did not commit, and was sentenced to die. While on death row, he heard an audible voice tell him “I know who you are and what you have done”. At first he thought it was a guard, but finally realized it was the Lord, and became a Christian. He was still destined to be executed, when another person confessed to the murder. As soon as he was free from prison, he was arrested for a murder he did commit. He was let out on bail after several years, and now goes to visit prisoners to tell them how they can become spiritually free.
- The New Testament is full of stories of the Holy Spirit guiding, nurturing, convicting, and supporting the apostles and early believers.
As I mentioned before, I find it helpful to make clear distinctions whenever possible, which gives us choices and perhaps provokes us to deeper thought. Here are some distinctions (please forgive me if I don’t do justice to Sophia):
- Where Sophia, personified wisdom, looks to personal experience, illuminated by myths, stories, and legends, Biblical Christianity looks to the sovereign, living God of the universe as the ultimate source of wisdom.
- Sophia, personal wisdom, encourages us to listen to ourselves, and seek wisdom from our experience that emerges from our unconscious. For a Christian, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord: a profound respect that God for who He is and recognizes our inadequacies and sin in the presence of the Holy God.
Ms. Damiani stated in her dissertation: “Wisdom used to be the highest virtue, but with the coming of Christianity, wisdom left the Western world.” An astute observation, and I agree with her.
The two realms – human wisdom and wisdom from God are distinct and ultimately compete for the attention of people. It is interesting that the Bible addresses this very issue:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? …For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” I Corinthians 1:18-25
Perhaps the ultimate question is this: how can human wisdom guide us in eternal, supernatural, spiritual matters – an arena in which our human senses and reason fail us, but can only be understood as revealed by the sovereign, living God of the universe?
By the way, I just read a book entitled: “The Math of Christ”, by retired Army Colonel Steve Bauer. Bauer calculates the odds that 40 of the Old Testament prophecies that have been fulfilled happened purely by chance. He found the odds to be one chance in 10 to the 136th power. To gain some perspective on this number, let’s say that the United States was covered by silver dollars, one of which is red. If we asked a blind man to go out and pick up the red one, his chances of success are one chance in 6.8 chances x 10 to the 13th power. Fulfilled prophecies are another indication of God’s intervention into our natural world.
I hope this note finds all is well with you. On with the journey…