For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.“ (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Fifty-nine years ago I received new information about reality from an outside source. I had just learned that the Bible is no ordinary document but authored from another dimension by a very superior intelligence. I had turned thirty years old six months earlier and believed then that the best years of my life were lost and gone and it would be downhill from now on.
Not so! My dull, boring pseudo intellectual, brash and arrogant presuppositions came crashing down. I had been died-for and was loved by our Creator. He meant what He said, "I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly."
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.“ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)
(My Search: Part 1)
I had always wanted to travel--but until then I had gone no further than day visits to Tijuana, Mexico.
Update: Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Australia, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, India, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Greece, Germany, Denmark, England, Scotland, the West Indies—all paid for by another Cosmic Resource I knew nothing about before my spiritual rebirth. |
I was planning on a career in physics (which did happen) but what I learned about the real world paled in importance with my previous merely 4D secular "scientific" world view.
“But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.“ (1 Corinthians 2:9-13)
I was very excited about my discovery that Jesus Christ is alive and well and in charge of the universe. But I had a scientist's curiosity about everything--and as a boy growing up received zero discipline from my father. I was always "Boldly Going Where no Man had gone Before." Reckless, Yes. Did Jesus meet me when I excursed into the Dark Side! Yes! Should any one who reads this, emulate my craziness? Definitely Not.
Dutifully I was water baptized a few month after my 1962 conversion. I was very shy and self-conscious back then, but my wonderful pastor Dr. Ralph Kraft coaxed me one small step at a time to speak about my journey. “Lambert, I want you to give a ten minute testimony next Sunday night. You are among friends.” It was very scary but I did it!
Next time it was a thirty minute account of how I was experiencing Jesus at work in me. Back then scientists who came to know Jesus were as scarce as hen’s teeth, so it was not long before I was telling my story at lunches hosted by Christian Business Men’s Committee, (CBMC) and Christian Women’s Club (Stonecroft). I led a Boys' Brigade Group, worked with Young Life, taught on the “Cults and Isms” and never missed Wednesday Night Prayer meetings at the First Baptist Church of Altos. MP3 audio version of My Search Part One.
Back then, I studied the Scofield Reference Bible religiously. How to speed up my spiritual growth? Is there a short-cut to wisdom? Try LSD! It was very much the in-thing to do in 1963! Early in 1963 I made my first trip over into the Dark Side. This is NOT the way to learn about the workings of the mind! Don’t go there! I am a slow learner! Was this my own prodigal wandering? Nope. I know more about the Dark Side than I ever imagined. This is not an endorsement of those side trips, but a testimony of the grace and mercy of God. My big Trips:
Dark 1: LSD
Dark 2. Alcohol addiction
Dark 3: The Seamy Side
Dark 4: Oxycontin 2008-2017
Dark 5: The Occult
Dark 6: Pagan Religion
Church discipline, 1972
Thirteen trips to Egypt 1972-1978
The Return of the Prodigal (to church), 1982
Geophysics in Israel 1982-2005
Revisiting the Haight-Ashbury
The Forum Classes: 2002-2016
The Wednesday Brothers of Thunder
Scientific Treasure Hunting 1970-2005
NDE June 13, 2017
A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song
And he said:
I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
To David and his descendants forevermore.
The Onion and the Lake of Fire
Disciplines and Scourging
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
The Glorious Company
8 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire,
Long Journey Home: Ralph Stanley
In 1973, the US journal The Journal of Genetic Psychology published this:
"The shadow is described as the dark side of the personality or representing the original conception of evil in the world. The latter conception places the shadow in the collective unconscious."
The current use of 'the dark side' in everyday language isn't taken as seriously as Jung, or even Lucas, might have intended it. It has the same linguistic feel as a phrase like 'be afraid, be very afraid', which is never used in circumstances that are actually frightening . Someone might humorously be said to be 'going over to the dark side' if they opt for a preference for something that is out of fashion or not a social group's accepted preference - like a Londoner supporting Manchester United, for example.
The phrase “the dark side” is perhaps originated from a film, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. George Lucas, the director. He used this phrase as a concept to show the evil aspect of the underlying controlling power of the universe. However, a radical theologian, Jacob Bauthumley or Bottomley, has also cited this phrase in 1650, in his work, The Light and Dark Sides of God, where it is stated as; “Some live in the light side of God, and some in the dark side.”
From Darkside by Alan Walker
“Let’s leave the world behind
Take me through the night
Fall into the dark side
We don’t need the light
We’ll live on the dark side
I see it, let’s feel it
While we’re still young and fearless
Let go of the light
Fall into the dark side
Fall into the dark side
Give into the dark side
Let go of the light
Fall into the dark side.”
These two stanzas show that the speaker wants to embrace the dark side. He says that he does not intend to find the light or positivity in life. Instead, he wants to leave the worldly affairs behind just to enjoy the dark side of his beloved. He does not want to discover the truths of the world. He simply wants to enjoy the present yet dark moments of his life. The phrase has been used in its literal meanings without showing any other meaning.
The Dark Side of the Sun by Mindy Caldwell
“My today is for you.
My tomorrows are for me.
I must seek a new love now,
you knew we’d never be.
As I close my eyes to sleep,
I know you’re still the one.
You’ll only find me now
on the dark side of the sun.”
The first stanza speaks about the speaker’s intense feelings for his beloved. He feels her beloved’s presence every moment in his life. The choice of words suggests that his beloved is no more with him. The second stanza discusses the unavoidable presence of his beloved. However, the occurrence of the phrase in the last line signifies that the speaker has lost the enchanting sight forever; he will only meet her in his dreams.
Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn
“Evil is a word used by the ignorant and the weak. The Dark Side is about survival. It’s about unleashing your inner power. It glorifies the strength of the individual.”
According to the author, the dark side of human nature is not linked to evil or wickedness. Rather, the darker aspects of human nature are associated with his survival instinct. He further argues that it helps us identify our inner strengths and also helps us glorify the truths hidden under the blanket of light or positivity. Thus, weak and ignorant people associate the dark side of human nature with evil. On the contrary, strong souls are polished on the dark sides. The phrase, once again, has been used in its literal meanings.
The Phantom Menace by George Lucas
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
George Lucas in his work, The Phantom Menace, beautifully describes the meanings of the phrase, the dark side. To him, fear is the root cause of every problem; it paves the way for dark instincts, leads us to anger, hate, and sufferings. Therefore, the negative part of a person is polished and nurtured in fear.
The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett
The Dark Side of the Sun is a science fiction novel by Terry Pratchett. It details the far-future universe in which the scientific discipline of p-math is used to predict the future. The protagonist, Dominick Daniel, is a son of a prodigy of probability math who spends his life trying to discover the Joker’s world. Unfortunately, he is assassinated but his predictions about his son mark the center of his life and success. His son, Dom, survives after fighting all the odds and he fulfills his father’s unaccomplished mission; he discovers the Joker’s world by defeating the conspiracy that has long worked to prevent people from locating the secret world. Thus, the dark side of the sun refers to something mysterious. Therefore, it is a connotative use of the phrase.
Example #1: “Stock market nowadays presents the dark side of economic reign.”
Example #2: “When you shuffle the pages of history, you will surely conclude that 9/11 represents the dark side of history.”
Example #3: “I always helped him in trouble and trussed him a lot but my heart started bleeding when I see his dark side in anger.”
Example #4: “Mr. Collin advised us to leave because fear leads a person to the dark side.”
Example #5: “We need to ignore the dark side of the things and remain positive in life.”
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27–28)
Over two decades ago, on an unusually hot July evening in Syracuse, New York, I stood on Pastor Ken Smith’s porch and knocked on the door. I had been doing this for months, dining with my enemies.
I was a lesbian feminist activist English professor at Syracuse University. I thought I was doing research on this odd tribe of people called Christians, people who stood in the way of full civil rights for gay people like me. Ken was the pastor of the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church. On that July night, Ken opened the door and warmly embraced me and welcomed me inside. Dining with my enemies was a fascinating experience. It made me feel like a bona fide liberal.
I knew I was on enemy territory. But I didn’t believe that I was the enemy. How could I be? I was on the side of social justice, reparations for the disempowered, racial reconciliation, and equitable inclusion for all.
For years — and before I became a believer and Ken became my pastor — I enjoyed the company of the Smiths’ table fellowship. I sat under Ken’s family devotions and joined in the Psalm singing. And then, at this July dinner, I realized it. I wasn’t the victim dining with my persecutors. I wasn’t at the enemy’s table. I was the enemy.
I thought I was on the right side of history. It was my undoing to finally realize that it was Jesus I was persecuting the whole time. Not some historical figure named Jesus. But King Jesus. The Jesus who was this world’s sovereign King and would become my Lord. My Jesus. My Prophet, Priest, King, Friend, Brother, and Savior. That Jesus.
I don’t like thinking about the fact that I was the enemy who hated, the enemy who cursed, and the enemy who abused. But it’s true. And instead of hating me back, Ken Smith assembled such a wide team of prayer warriors that I likely won’t meet all of the believers who prayed for my salvation until heaven.
As soon as the Lord claimed me for himself, I had the opportunity to model what had been given to me: to love, do good, bless, and pray for those who curse me. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.
Everyone from the lesbian partner I broke up with, to the graduate students in Queer Theory whose Ph.D. dissertations I could no longer supervise, to the LGBTQ+ undergraduate student groups I could no longer support felt the stunning betrayal. I had changed my allegiance. Were their secrets still safe with me? I was disappointing almost everyone I loved because I believed in Jesus — the real Jesus who reveals himself in the Bible. My treachery to my lesbian community was only bearable through my union with Christ.
In such circumstances, union with Christ is the source of a Christian’s love that overcomes hatred: spiritual, unbreakable, irreplaceable, and eternal. It springs from the power of Christ’s resurrection, in which every believer abides. Conflict with others is never pleasant. It is disarming, disillusioning, and depressing. Union with Christ is our active comfort.
More recently (about a year ago), I found myself under attack again, and this time on three different fronts.
A national LGBTQ+ rights group grew angry with me as the 2020 PRIDE Parade was canceled for the first time in fifty years. Christians from a discernment ministry believed that I was too charitable in my evangelism in the LGBTQ community. Self-described gay Christians believed that I was too harsh in my rejection of “gay Christianity.” It was tempting to handle this in the flesh — to wish that all of these people could be locked in the same room and wrestle it out.
But that is not what God calls us to do when we’re under attack. God calls us to love our enemies. This season was spiritually rich with Psalm singing and reflection, repentance, and prayer. As the negative attacks intensified, the words of the great Puritan John Owen started to make sense. Owen considers union with Christ “the cause of all other graces a believer receives” (A Puritan Theology, 485). This is because union with Christ depends first on Christ knowing you.
The issue for the suffering Christian isn’t first if you know Christ. Rather, the first issue is: does Christ know you? Union with Christ is first about Christ knowing you. Suffering for Christ is a great privilege. It is the privilege of John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Because Jesus knows the believer, we hear him, we follow him, and we suffer with him.
“God’s comfort is power. It’s not meant merely to make us feel better. It’s meant to make us more like Jesus.”
Do you want to know why the church lacks unity? Because we try to build our unity on issues — on where we stand on pressing matters of the day. But unity does not and will never derive from shared loyalty to issues. Christian unity flows from our union with Christ because he alone equips us to die to ourselves.
The comfort we find in Christ is not a passive repose in our favorite recliner. Even in the English language, comfort is an old word hearkening from the Middle Ages and referring to needed moral and physical strengthening. Comfort is active. God gives us comfort because we are too weak to go on, and his comfort enlivens us. God’s comfort is power. It’s not meant merely to make us feel better. It’s meant to make us more like Jesus.
The Heidelberg Catechism declares that our “only comfort in life and death” will not be found in any of the values to which I had decades ago committed my life: social justice, reparations for the disempowered, racial reconciliation, and equitable inclusion for all. No. My only comfort in life and death, says the majestic Heidelberg, is
that I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, wherefore by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (emphasis added)
What’s the big difference between a believer and an unbeliever? The believer does not belong to himself.
What does the experience of hatred, abuse, slander, and unjust discrimination mean to a believer? It means that, under God’s providence, these painful circumstances are “subservient to my salvation.” The hatred that a believer receives is subservient, which means that it is instrumental; it is a means to an end. And what is that end? To join in the “fellowship of his suffering” (Philippians 3:10 KJV). To grow in sanctification. To become more like Jesus.
Luke’s words are directed only to believers, to “you who hear.” Someone with a new heart, receptive ears, and bright eyes. We live in a noisy world — podcasts, television, social media, and so on — but Jesus is telling us to hear him.
“Persecution is subservient — it is a means to an end. And that end is your sanctification.”
What an amazing privilege it is to be someone chosen, elected, saved, justified, sanctified, and daily guided by the King of kings and Lord of lords. If nothing else is good in your life except that Jesus has unstopped your ears, you are already more blessed than any persecution or persecutor that comes your way. Persecution is subservient — it is a means to an end. And that end is your sanctification.
In God’s providence, as believers, we will have many opportunities to love, do good, bless, and pray for those who hate us. And as God enlarges our hearts by his Spirit, comforting us through union with Christ and assuring us of his sovereignty, we will not fail to do so.
Rosaria Butterfield is former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University.
She is a homeschooling mother and writer and pastor’s wife,
and is grateful to God that her church has been able to worship on the Lord’s Day at the church building once again.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy
Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober,
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
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November 9, 2021