Friday, May 24, 2013

Jim Elliot, Waiting On God

"Surely God is good to his Israel." Jim Elliot

In 1945 with the world war now behind, the nation turned herself to other matters; a young man, Jim Elliot commenced his studies at Wheaton College, an esteemable Protestant Christian bible college located in Wheaton, Illinois. Apart from Bible scholarship, Wheaton is perhaps best known for its conservative views, prohibiting drinking, dancing and smoking among its students.
As a protestant, Christian institution it offers a solid education in bible learning, Greek, Latin and other modern languages as well as subjects which support christian missionary activities and ministries. His education prepared him well for the experiences which were about to come to him.

Against this backdrop, Elisabeth Elliot edits her husband's journals, including their chronicle of his later work in South America in the high Andes, The Journals of Jim Elliot. She writes in the foreword that what becomes most prominent in these journals is his dedication to his Lord, his ministry and his "consuming thirst to do what he saw as the will" of the Creator.
He reminds us not to "bind down the word of God... it's (the Spirit of the Lord) free to say what it will." He also makes it clear that quiet and solitude are important to develop ones' spiritual, inner life.

While his life was cut short, in his 29 years, he demonstrated a remarkable young faithfulness and other character traits such as determination and sensitivity to the working of the Spirit as he recognized them.
Indirectly, he asks the questions of trust or mercy, faith or belief which many before and many after him have also pondered.
And he addresses the great question of love.
Like many others before, he met his end steadfastly and ignominiously as a Christian, martyred in the wilds of the Andes by members of the Auca Indians, natives to the region in which Elliot felt called to minister.

Contrasting the sincere devotion of Elliot
there are those persons, past and present who represent a different face of Christianity. Some may come to accept their particular views, while others may not.
Recently this Simple Mind had the occasion to hear the speech of a radio preacher.
Clearly a person involved in a segment of the Protestant Christian tradition as opposed to the Orthodox-Catholic Christian traditions, he was in the midst of espousing the abhorrence of "meditation as an evil" due to its apparent complicity with the evil spirits and demons of the world.
Using a bible verse and applying an interpretation of said verse, this man claimed that the Bible was clear, that meditation was evil due to its tendency to free the mind of extraneous thoughts, thereby giving evil the opportunity to enter and possess a soul.

Now, is one to accept this thinking because "we say so," or is one to further study its source or implication to determine true motive? Will Relativism or political correctness accept his thinking because it's his thinking, thus one can't judge, or are we to act to discern the meaning and intention of such a claim?

If this claim is true for the limits of the particular individual, then it is not unreasonable to presume that this person is also contemptuous against all denominations of Buddhism, much or all of the mystical Judeo-Christian tradition and Hinduism, for starters. Well, what's does that leave off the list? His speech sounds like an exercise in Calvinism, possibly or Puritanism, also related to Calvinists.

The take away for this Simple Mind is that truly there are those of many different stripes; the prime commandment for the Christian is not to demonize but to "love your neighbor as yourself, to love one another -- even your enemy." Anything less falls short of the disciples which the Christ called for and commanded. A Simple Mind questions this preacher and his (lack of) education. Ironic, isn't it?

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