Split Focus

 

God began early, hunting me down and taking hold of me when I was just a child in Farmington, Connecticut. I wasn’t born there, but close by in Maine at a Naval hospital that no longer calls itself a hospital, and to this day still raises questions of its location; Maine or New Hampshire? My parents weren’t exactly religious given my father was a rigid perfectionist and my mother was a neurotic depressive. I emerged from the womb happy, which was taken advantage of by my mother and beheld with contempt by my father.

I say this to now say that we sometimes went to church (at least until the elders came to the house to collect offerings and ticked off my mother), I didn’t go to catechism, and in third grade, I was best friends with a Jewish girl who had never heard of Jesus until I told her about Him while playing out in the field near the school’s monkey bars. I don’t remember exactly when I found Him, except maybe the one summer I went to vacation Bible school in Farmington and we used felt-covered boards and characters to show Jesus running down the hill away from the big boulder chasing Him from the tomb. The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

Despite my less than perfect “churching,” there were four things that I “knew” early on.

  1. God loves me, is interested in me, and will never forget me.
  2. God has a plan for my life regardless of how things might look.
  3. God is present and if I get quiet, I will hear Him and He will show me what to do.
  4. God is behind things, engineering and allowing my circumstances to move and flow to His liking, revealing His hand in it all, but only in retrospect.

I’ve also learned that I can’t measure God’s love by the degree of ease and pleasure my life might offer. Ease and pleasure have nothing to do with God’s love. Well, sometimes it does, but only when that ease and pleasure points to Him.

Another thing I’ve learned is that He’s perfectly fine with allowing me to live with uncertainty about my own future and safety. I don’t like it, but He seems to have gone out of His way to put me through the boot camp of uncertainty at different times throughout my life, and now I wonder if there is a moment fast approaching when I will understand why.

I’m like anyone else. We want to control what happens, to protect ourselves, to pursue our own dreams, to make stuff happen. And for many of us that means we watch, study, calculate, prognosticate, anticipate, make plans, chase after the heroic, and obsess about what we’ll do to get through.

Don’t do that.

Why?

Because when you do that, when you read the news, listen to the podcasts, and allow the increasingly distorted perspectives of truth come into your mind, it will distract you from the only voice you ought to be seeking right now.

God is always talking. His word is alive and powerful.

Take time to hunker down and listen, be encouraged, and do that of which He asks. Your assignment may not seem like much, but it doesn’t matter. You will only find the strength to stand by doing that which He requires of you … you specifically … no more and no less.

Don’t split your focus. Be all in.

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

    Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

    He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

    Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

    The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

    — Psalm 46:7-11

     

    • #1
  2. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

    Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

    He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

    Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

    The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

    — Psalm 46:7-11

     

    Amen

    This is the word of the Lord.

    • #2
  3. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Great photo!

    • #3
  4. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Great photo!

    Thanks Detective!

    • #4
  5. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    If only you had shared your wisdom with me back when I was like 20 or so.

    Of course, I guess it is never too late.

    • #5
  6. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    You are such a treasure ’round Here.

    Should I be embarrassed that when reading Yer posts My lips are moving? 

    • #6
  7. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    If only you had shared your wisdom with me back when I was like 20 or so.

    Of course, I guess it is never too late.

    Well … when I was 20, I was partying, chasing boys, and hanging out with people who were up to no good. I guess that’s why they call it wisdom … only by God’s grace over time is He able to deposit His wisdom. I’m just lucky to get a few glimmers every once in a while. And it’s never too late … we have eternity.

    • #7
  8. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    You are such a treasure ’round Here.

    Should I be embarrassed that when reading Yer posts My lips are moving?

    You are more of an encouragement than you know given what it took to get me to sit down and write today. 

    As for whether you should be embarrassed, I had to try it myself to see what you mean. 

    The answer is “no.”

    Thank you Jimmy Carter … I’m embarrassed to say that in my younger days of following my parents’ political choices, I voted for you. And then there was the Iranian hostage crisis. And then Reagan. I didn’t settle into my own right away, but that whole thing was definitely the beginning.

    • #8
  9. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    • #9
  10. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    • #10
  11. Arthur Beare Member
    Arthur Beare
    @ArthurBeare

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    • #11
  12. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    God-LovingWoman: The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

    It’s amazing how we make it through those. I had a young teen-aged babysitter when I was four years old (1952 or early 1953) who was creative if not theologically sound. I’ve never forgotten the lesson, though I don’t remember for sure what she looked like, even though I have photos in which she probably appears. 

    We had made our own prayer books in Sunday School, out of black construction paper in which we pasted little prayers that were printed on white paper. Very uncreative. I remember it as a neat job, which means I probably didn’t do it myself without a lot of help from some adult. 

    One bedtime thereafter I had a babysitter. We were sitting on my bed, and she was helping me with bedtime prayers out of that book. I didn’t know how to read yet (and in fact didn’t learn how to read until I started first grade, and then learned quickly). So I’d point to one of the prayers, and say, “Do that one.” And when she was finished reading that prayer I’d point at another and say, “That one.”  I was probably making a pest of myself, so finally she said, “God doesn’t like it when we pray too much.” Well, if God didn’t like it, I wanted to stop then and there.

    The next night my mother was saying bedtime prayers with me, and she expressed surprise that I wanted to quit so quickly.  I explained to her what I had learned about God not liking it if we pray so much. She asked where I had learned that, and I explained about my babysitter.  She assured me that God does like to hear our prayers.  I don’t remember her explaining much more than that, but I quickly figured out for myself that it was my babysitter and not God who had been getting weary of too much praying. I filed that away in my mind along with other information about trusting authority figures (though I’m sure I didn’t think of it in those terms). 

    That incident is one of a handful of things I remember from those days. We only lived in the house where that took place until I was about 4 and a half, so it helps me narrow down when things happened in my early childhood. I managed not to burn the house down when I stole a book of matches from an uncle so I could learn how to light them, so the house is still standing. In 2018 I had a chance to look at it for the first time since we moved away in 1953.

    • #13
  14. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    If only you had shared your wisdom with me back when I was like 20 or so.

    Of course, I guess it is never too late.

    Man, I knew all this stuff when I was 20. Do you think I understood it?

    I think I understand it now. I suspect in a decade’s time I’ll look back at present me and shake my head.

    • #14
  15. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    I think it’s more whether or not you have the genes and whether those genes have been activated to get it. More and more studies suggest that religious belief is hardwired into you. 

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    I think it’s more whether or not you have the genes and whether those genes have been activated to get it. More and more studies suggest that religious belief is hardwired into you.

    Really? Could you cite one for us?

    • #16
  17. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    I think it’s more whether or not you have the genes and whether those genes have been activated to get it. More and more studies suggest that religious belief is hardwired into you.

    If I had time and words to go into what I’ve learned and have come to know and believe you would find that we are, in a large way, in agreement.

    And as an afterthought to my comment, I find the work of C.G Jung, Wolfgang Pauli, and the more recent work of Stephen C. Meyer to be enormously thought provoking along these lines.

    • #17
  18. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman: The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

    It’s amazing how we make it through those. I had a young teen-aged babysitter when I was four years old (1952 or early 1953) who was creative if not theologically sound. I’ve never forgotten the lesson, though I don’t remember for sure what she looked like, even though I have photos in which she probably appears.

    What a wonderful story. Those memorable mishaps seem to be the ones that stay with us, right? It almost doesn’t matter that the actual teaching was off … it’s the fact that He was brought into our sphere of awareness … and left His eternal impression. :)

    And by the way, the house in your picture is very similar to the little yellow house we lived in on Litchfield in Farmington. And I can’t believe I even remember that!

    • #18
  19. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    I think it’s more whether or not you have the genes and whether those genes have been activated to get it. More and more studies suggest that religious belief is hardwired into you.

    Really? Could you cite one for us?

    Here are two. More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic. If the capacity for religion was not influenced heavily by genetics than it would be about the only thing not influenced by genetics.

    • #19
  20. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    I think it’s more whether or not you have the genes and whether those genes have been activated to get it. More and more studies suggest that religious belief is hardwired into you.

    If I had time and words to go into what I’ve learned and have come to know and believe you would find that we are, in a large way, in agreement.

    And as an afterthought to my comment, I find the work of C.G Jung, Wolfgang Pauli, and the more recent work of Stephen C. Meyer to be enormously thought provoking along these lines.

    How does Jung have anything to do with genetics?

    • #20
  21. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    How does Jung have anything to do with genetics?

    I don’t know, but genetics is deep down in the complexity of life and  the way I look at things, it’s part of the larger whole of what I believe is an infinite reality.

    Here is where I’m coming from:

    I start with these verses from Scripture as my most important mystery to investigate. I am a systems thinker, always seeking to break down the walls between specialized areas of knowledge, and connect the dots in ways that explain the mysteries I can’t ignore.

    Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    Note: None of the authors I refer to below are believers. Keep that in mind.

    A few months back I decided to revisit Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death. He wrote it in the 1970’s, winning the Pulitzer Prize.  When I reread it, I found myself wanting to go read more about the work of the many scholars he’d referenced in the book. Jung was just one of them.

    Jung’s work is expansive, and I’ve just started. But because of Becker’s work, I stumbled upon Jung’s experiments in the area of acausal events and the phenomena of synchronicity. In his book Synchronicity he covers the collective unconscious, the archetypes, and the “themes” of unrelated events that when combined carry meaning to a person; events that would otherwise be considered independent acausal events, etc. There is more.

    I started reading scientists and researchers like David Bohm (and watching his documentary Infinite Potential), Wolfgang Pauli, more Jung, etc. In the middle of it, I realized that as a writer I probably wasn’t going to find anyone interested in the answers to the many questions being raised as I gathered my nuggets.  And as a mom of a struggling family, I set it aside for a bit. My mind maps await.

    To be clear, I don’t need to prove anything to myself. God has made Himself known to me throughout my life, even when I wasn’t seeking Him – no, quite the opposite. I’m a very curious person and this verse in Colossians has been stuck in my mind since the day I first heard it.

    Anyway, I don’t know if this response helps, but suffice it to say that I don’t believe we know enough about the totality of life, its origins, and its means of sustenance, and as long as we exclude acausal phenomena from the scope of scientific study, we will continue marching ahead working with only a sliver information about the broader reality.

    • #21
  22. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic.

    When I was a young medical student my best friend was adamant that all of life was predetermined by genetics. Having studied modern psychology, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

    I now believe that genetics accounts for about 70% of who we are. If we are a simulation produced by a higher civilization, then genetics would be the way to go.

    • #22
  23. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic.

    When I was a young medical student my best friend was adamant that all of life was predetermined by genetics. Having studied modern psychology, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

    I now believe that genetics accounts for about 70% of who we are. If we are a simulation produced by a higher civilization, then genetics would be the way to go.

    This is why it is only fair to genetically engineer humanity. 

    • #23
  24. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic.

    When I was a young medical student my best friend was adamant that all of life was predetermined by genetics. Having studied modern psychology, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

    I now believe that genetics accounts for about 70% of who we are. If we are a simulation produced by a higher civilization, then genetics would be the way to go.

    This is why it is only fair to genetically engineer humanity.

    Fair?

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I never get any of the G-d stuff.

    Bummer, dude. Do you want to get it?

    Now that is the big question, isn’t it?

    Exactly

    I think it’s more whether or not you have the genes and whether those genes have been activated to get it. More and more studies suggest that religious belief is hardwired into you.

    Really? Could you cite one for us?

    Here are two. More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic. If the capacity for religion was not influenced heavily by genetics than it would be about the only thing not influenced by genetics.

    I looked at the first article. Although I didn’t try to find the actual study report, from the article it seems it’s a lot more about genetic influence on cultural behaviors in general rather than about propensity to religious belief.

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    This is why it is only fair to genetically engineer humanity.

    Then it would not be humanity.  It would be Castaigny.

    • #26
  27. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic.

    When I was a young medical student my best friend was adamant that all of life was predetermined by genetics. Having studied modern psychology, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

    I now believe that genetics accounts for about 70% of who we are. If we are a simulation produced by a higher civilization, then genetics would be the way to go.

    I can easily see this! If I were better with language I could tell you how I think it all fits together. Maybe I’ll really stick my neck out and write a conceptual post. Maybe. Thanks for chiming in on this!

    • #27
  28. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic.

    When I was a young medical student my best friend was adamant that all of life was predetermined by genetics. Having studied modern psychology, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

    I now believe that genetics accounts for about 70% of who we are. If we are a simulation produced by a higher civilization, then genetics would be the way to go.

    This is why it is only fair to genetically engineer humanity.

    So … who is genetically engineering humanity, and for what purpose? Just trying to get inside your head, Henry. :)

    • #28
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    This is why it is only fair to genetically engineer humanity.

    Then it would not be humanity. It would be Castaigny.

    My genes are very bad. t should not have been formed as I was. 

    • #29
  30. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    More importantly than these individual studies, all of my research into genetics and heritability suggest that almost everything if 50-60% genetic.

    When I was a young medical student my best friend was adamant that all of life was predetermined by genetics. Having studied modern psychology, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

    I now believe that genetics accounts for about 70% of who we are. If we are a simulation produced by a higher civilization, then genetics would be the way to go.

    This is why it is only fair to genetically engineer humanity.

    So … who is genetically engineering humanity, and for what purpose? Just trying to get inside your head, Henry. :)

    Who have always genetically engineered humanity. Whenever a high I.Q. lady decides to breed with someone else of the same I.Q. because of his high I.Q., she is in part, genetically engineering humanity. So do dumb people who breed with the mentally ill or the criminal. 

    I suggest that in ten or fifteen years time, we can safely engineer humans in utero to remove some of the bad genes and replace them with good genes. This is much more complicated than I am making it out to be because genetics is insanely deep. 

    But like with every long-term goal. Some obstacles will be easier than others. Eventually, we will be able to find some genes that give mostly negative effects and some that are mostly positive. We have already done this with the genetic disease of sickle cell anemia. This will be humanity 1.5 where we remove some of the more glaring bugs in our code and add some slight advantages to immunity and I.Q. and some other things but we will basically be humans with some improvements. 

    China will be bizarre because it will force it’s population to genetically engineer themselves but in the United States, it will be voluntary. I can’t speak for China, but it definitely be an improvement in America. 

    The impact on this on the left will be enormous. There entire philosophy will fall apart because they will have to grapple with human nature. I cannot imagine the impact that this will have on our minds. 
     

     

    • #30