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Writer's Block: Instant wish
If you could have one--and only one--wish granted in the next five minutes, what would you wish? How do you think it would improve your life?
I would wish for the Cherubim to be wise and whole.
My life would be improved in a number of ways. It might be harder in a number of ways, too...but both of those things--any effect on my life at all--is so much not the point.Tags: writer's block
Yes, I understand.
We were asked at a Bible study, if God could fix any one thing what would we choose. Older people chose Alzeheimers. I chose autism.
I think he is wise in ways we don't necessarily understand.
It's funny, after I wrote that, I thought, well if I had a wish, shouldn't I pick something bigger. If it's one wish, why not cure all autism, not just one little boy.
But that is the thing in my life I most wish I could change, and that's what I thought the question was.
And God can fix these things...and maybe he will.
And if He doesn't, we'll trust him on it.
To him, they have always been perfect.
If I may ask... if you believe that God sees him as perfect the way he is, then why would you wish for him to be "whole"? Especially for his sake?
Healing is when we see things the way God does.
So you are saying that God sees him without autism? I thought the point of saying that they have always been perfect was that autism is not a lack of perfection... not a defect in God's eyes, but just a part of your son's unique way of being. Do you not see it so?
Of course, our special needs kids are perfect in God's eyes. God looks at the soul. Unfortunately, guidance counselors, employers, classmates, and, yes, certain adults and teachers do not see it so. As mothers, we hurt when they hurt because of situations made more difficult by their disabilities. Nonetheless, we try to prepare them for this world (and the next) as best we can.
Clearly God is not against healing the sick, the blind, the deaf, and the dying, or it would not have been a part of Jesus' ministry.
>Clearly God is not against healing the sick, the blind, the deaf, and the dying, or it would not have been a part of Jesus' ministry.
Exactly. Seeing the world the way God sees it is how spiritual healing works. When people are healed through prayer, they say things like "I suddenly realized that God never made me sick! I've always been perfect"
Absolutely not. I've heard this "Autism is just different" nonsense and all I can say is I am really tempted to use words much stronger than nonsense!
God sees him as he really is...not as we see him here. God sees him able to think and talk and learn and grow...not stunted and frightened and troubled.
When people have polio or broken legs, no one is so outrageous as to suggest that they might be better off that way. God sees those guys as perfect,too..."as they are in Heaven."
There are several healings of people or children kind of like my son in the Bible. Jesus never asked "Gee, Father, is it all right if I heal this guy, or should I leave him this way?" He had compassion on everyone who came his way. He didn't go "Well, I'll heal the lame and the deaf, but not the dumb. I kind of like them that way. They are unique."
It can be very frustrating indeed.
Haven't heard that about the autistic personally, but I sure have heard that about the deaf.
The deaf, really? I've heard it about Asperger's, which is why I wanted to ask about autism. I have trouble picturing anyone seeing deafness as being just different instead of something to be healed.
There was an interestng episode of House once that asked the question of which of those categories ('just different' or 'should be fixed') dwarfism (or whatever the polite term for very, very short people is) fell into.
Unfortunately, there is a community of deaf folk who see the newer technology as a threat to their "culture" and try to encourage deaf children not to gain the ability to hear.
There are people in Deaf Culture who are convinced that any attempts to ameliorate the deafness is a form of genocide of their culture.
I kid you not.
Look for an Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Sound and the Fury, about cochlear implants.
My daughter was the first in the area to get one. Her preschool teacher told me I would be mutilating her.
12 years later, she's happy she had it and even happier with the upgrade.
Well, it will certainly kill their language.
There were already alternatives that they have largely been successful in ruthlessly squelching. The Deaf Culture already have missionaries in place in the form early childhood education providers, paid for with our tax dollars.
When a child is diagnosed with deafness, the parents usually turn to the school system for support and advice. Their advice will be to go with "total communication" with an real emphasis on sign language. If a parent follows this advice, the child will end up being so isolated from the hearing world that he will finally only find comfort in the arms of the state schools for the deaf which are islands of Deaf Culture with lots of opportunity for intermarriage. Indeed at Gallaudet, genetic counseling is provided at no charge so they may optimally marry someone who is more likely to help produce deaf children to keep the culture going.
Initially, we followed the school's advice after a late diagnosis but we did read a pesky little book called Choices in Communication. We opted to switch over to cued speech (more at www.cuedspeech.org) which takes the guesswork out of lipreading and tends to acculturate them with the mainstream. The Deaf Culture Advocates' advice on this one is not to do it since so few people who use it--a self-fulfilling situation. But it's possible to do both.
The other day, my daughter was holding alternating conversations using cueing and signing to two individuals while happily proclaiming that her new implant gave her much better access to sound.
Unlike other area deaf children, she has stayed at our home and in the local school district. She talks to anyone and everyone. Her boyfriend happens to be hearing but he wants to learn cued speech or sign in order to make her more comfortable.
Today she is going with a deaf/signing group to a local amusement park for Deaf Awareness Day. Her life's path has many options, and this summer her personal goal is to get sufficiently proficient with her new implant that she will not need a transliterator or interpreter with her when she has ordinary conversations. It's looking very promising.
That problem, of taking one fact about yourself and treating it as a defining part of your identity - and therefore making it into something that must be defended, for your self-worth's sake - that reminds me a lot of the gay pride movement. Although I think it also shows up in all of us, in different areas. What else do we defend because we decide it's part of who we are?
Mary's point about language was valid. Language is a genuine, defining ingredient of cultural identity. By not making sign the default, most-chosen option for the Deaf, their culture does lose a lot.
On the other hand, native signers have a very difficult time with English as it is not in the language's nature to include articles such as "the" and "a." Signing is quick and fluid and emotional. I had a class once on it where they stressed that without the emotional component the sign lost much of its meaning.
My daughter's ability to move between cultures with cued speech, use of her cochlear implant or, yes, sign is a fascinating thing. But cued speech, which mirrors English or whatever the native language is, doesn't really have its own cultural identity. Kids who cue or kids with cochlear implants who know no sign are much more likely to be included in the mainstream of their country's culture. That's rather the point.
However, subcultures who employ the regular native language often develop an argot of their own which in essence acts as a pass key amongst others of their kind.
This holds true the gay community but it also includes the Christian community. When Sarah Palin repeatedly referred to herself as a servant in the campaign, Christians all knew what she meant but those raised outside of a church would have thought that very strange language indeed.
Cultural identity is not personal identity. I understand that people would be sad if their culture starts to diminish, but insisting that other people adopt their language, not for practical reasons but purely out of a sense of personal loss, does not seem to me to be at all the right way to go. (And I get the impression that people who want to insist that immigrants learn English are also often, but not always, motivated more by a sense of personal identity than they are by practical considerations).
Ah, but cultural identity -is- a part of personal identity. Not the soul, no, but how a person perceives himself.
So an attack against their culture becomes an attack against their person and their friends'.
My actions have demonstrated that I agree that it's not the right way to go, but I have some sympathy. It's hard to face the fact that in a hundred years, except for isolated enclaves, Deaf culture as a separate unit will likely vanish.
Cued speech was first developed at Gallaudet by a head professor there who was greatly concerned by the deaf students low literacy rates. Having a degree in engineering, he devised an extremely practical system to represent sounds by pairing mouth movements with signs from a single hand to represent phonemes. It's genius.
It was also rejected and continues to be rejected by the majority of the Deaf community just as cochlear implants are.
Over at Gallaudet, they now reject any candidate for their president who is not considered to be "deaf enough"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallaudet_University#Deaf_President_Now_.281988.29
The fact that people DO start thinking of their culture as being inseparable from their identity was rather what I was objecting to. But yes, I have sympathy too, because it's not easy to let go of the things you love.
So if a deaf person is using cued speech, they are making the hand signs that represent phonemes? Are they also trying to make the mouth movements at the same time? Are the hand signs based on the ASL alphabet?
Cued speech is a bit of a double matrix. There are 8 hand shapes and 8 positions. Just one hand is required. The hand placements must be done in conjunction with the mouth movements. It's a two-part code, and the mouth movements are part of that code.
Friends are in the video
The American English cue chart is here:http://www.cuedspeech.org/PDF/NewChart%208.5%20X%2011.pdf
The hand shapes are not at all based on the ASL alphabet and, having tried to learn both ASL and cueing at the same time, I can tell you they work different parts of the brain.
Cueing is quite akin to typing in some respects. You can master the basics in about 4 days of classes but to get confident and build speed you will need to do quite a bit of practice.
My daughter speaks English as her first language. Without the cued speech reinforcing her previously less than stellar implant reception, that would have been very hard to do.
Cueing also works much better for kids who are learning to use their implant than signing. Signing does not match anything they are hearing and cueing does.
I can really see how cued speech would make reading much more accessible than standard sign does.
You might appreciate the following story.
A blind lady was at our prayer group one day, to share her story of how God has worked good in her life through her blindness (and we also prayed for her healing). Among other things, she shared this story about once when she got lost walking around downtown. She obviously couldn't read the street signs to figure out where she was at, and it was late out, so there weren't a lot of people around to ask. She came across a group of young men/boys, but they were jerks to her and wouldn't help. She kept wandering around, and heard another pair of people talking. She called out to them for help, but they didn't answer. She was starting to get really annoyed with them, but she kept walking closer to their voices, asking for help. As she got closer, she noticed that their speech sounded kinda funny, and it occurred to her that they were speaking with the sort of slurred speech of the deaf. Sure enough, they were deaf, and when they saw her, they could read her lips and understand her problem. They gave her all the help she needed and she got home fine. She said it seemed to her that people who knew what it was like to live with a disability were often kinder than normal people.
That's a really nice story.
Oddly, my daughter sometimes has to be reminded that other deaf people who don't have cochlear implants and don't cue may have a very difficult time "making sense" as she puts it on social networking sites. A little skew on the grammar is normal, but when things get really inverted and changed, it can be problematic. I had to remind her, in her frustration, that there a few years ago was she.
The speech issue is also interesting. Before the new implant, everything was emphatic and not enunciated very well. Now, she takes pleasure in speaking slowly and clearly and softly, another example of the excellent conjunction between cued speech and the properly working implant.
Sounds a lot like anyone who first starts to learn English - grammar and pronunciation take awhile to master even for hearing people (depending on how close the grammar is to whatever language they already know); I would think pronunciation in particular would be very very difficult for deaf people to master. I googled cochlear implants - they sound very interesting and pretty dang cool.
Very interesting and touching.
So very true! People so often grab onto something that is not part of their God-given identity and defend it. It's always interesting when such people--or we--suddenly realized that this quality is not one that they need to put their identity behind.
|Date:||June 9th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)|| |
Not exactly; in fact only God is perfect.
On the other hand, everything which exists is good - although it could always be better.
Therefore, a sick child is worse than a healthy one - but only in respect to health.
There are namely different levels of goodness: merely existing, physical health, wisdom, moral goodness, and finally spiritual nearness to God, or holiness. Higher levels are obviously more important than lower - but they do not replace them.
It is better to be sick and near to God than healthy and damned, but this does not change the fact that it is better to be healthy than sick.
As for God - he loves everyone, no matter whether sick and healthy, or whether good or evil. However, when speaking about the love of God, it is necessary to remember the fact that "love" of God does not mean the same thing as human love. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06612a.htm
In particular, in God "there is no change, nor shadow of alteration" (James 1:17). God is always and perfectly happy - no matter what happens to anyone. Of course, God can be said to wrathful at sinner etc, but by this is not meant any change in God, but the change in his relationship to the sinner, and in the end - a change in the sinner.
Finally, God wants us to be holy and to be near him. This is the highest good, and therefore infinitely more important than lower kinds. As for lower kinds of goodness, obviously everything which God does is good - because everything is good - but God certainly does not have to create everything as perfect as it could be.
(It can be readily observed that classical philosophy is different in that aspect. According to the classical philosophy, the world is as good as it could be - and any lacks and evils we observe in the material universe are the necessary results of its being made of matter.)
In fact, after the original sin God had certainly afflicted humanity with many weaknesses, starting with death.
We can guess that the aim of this is to stop men from seeking perfection in the lower kinds of goodness, but instead to encourage them to seek the only perfect Good, that is God himself.
I, for one, was not speaking in terms of absolute Perfection when describing my children.
I agree that seeking perfection in the physical realm can certainly lead (and usually does) to a disability within one's soul. This can also happen when seeking what appears to be perfection of one's soul.
Some people might find it odd that my favorite, most comforting Bible verse is: "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Being raised to attempt a near-perfect and frankly unattainable spiritual standard of perfection(which I still reach for but now with joy instead of fear), it is comforting to know that although the best I can do is still flawed, there is no automatic damnation in its inherent frailty and that others also struggle to the same end.
"He is of purer eyes than to behold evil."
I've had quite a few healings through prayer and I've literly read thousands of a counts of such healings by others. While what you say above is in keeping with regular Christian Theology.
It is not in keeping with what actually happens, what people actually experience, when healing comes.
"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." is true! And the truth that makes people free is Genesis 1:31:
"God saw everything he had made and, behold, it was very good."
When you accept what comes next, that man can fall, that man can sin, that man can be sick, or injured, or dying...you can receive spiritual solace, but physical healing just doesn't come.
Full healing, healing of broken bones, cancer, serious illnesses, financial problems, relationship problems, etc. comes when you suddenly see that they never existed to begin with...that God never made them.
The moment you let your thought come into being with God's thought...the way God sees us all the time...that's when the "world" around us changes to reflect God's perfection...what we call health.
I'll give an example. Mark Swinney is a man who was born with a club foot. He prayed and prayed, but his foot did not change. He had some rather spectucular healings in other areas, he had dramatic and uplifting insights, but he would look down again, and his foot was just the same.
This went on for years.
One day, as he was ushering in church, I believe, he was so filled with light that it suddenly came to him "What foot?" He realized in a flash of spiritual light that he had never had a material foot, he had never been anything but God's perfect child. That was how God had made him.
He did not look down.
Some time later, he did look at his foot again, and it was straight and whole. His club foot had been healed.
Some years later, he had a daughter. He looked at his little infant girl and saw the same club foot. He covererd her leg and prayed, remembering what had come to him during his healing. By the next time anyone looked at the child's leg, her foot was normal.
This is just one healing of thousands and thousands...and they all reflect the same theme. As long as we hold to the problem or think of it as something God sees or thinks is legit, healing does not come...but when we turn everything over to God and trust that not only is He perfect, but everything he made is perfect, we see that perfection around us.
Mark Swinney now spends all his time healing other people through prayer. He has a website where you can email him, should you have any questions about whether I represented his experience correctly: http://swinneycsb.org/
|Date:||June 9th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)|| |
Christian Science seems to me to be a rather dangerous movement.
As for healing by faith, there are two, or to be precise, three types: "normal", preternatural and supernatural.
What I would call "normal" faith healing is what is generally called "placebo effect". According to me it is at least partially the effect of the influence of the soul on body (our own or somebody's else). This effect is very common, but usually not very strong. It can be probably trained to a degree, but it will always have limits.
The preternatural healing is done by angels and, possibly, by other spirits. The supernatural healing is done by God as a miracle. The difference between the two is very important from the theological point of view, but impossible to distinguish in practice.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06553a.htmhttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10338a.htm
The faith healing, the healing by holy Mass and Eucharist, healing by prayer etc can work in two ways: either by strengthening the influence of the mind on body (ie similar to placebo effect), or by miracles, supernatural or preternatural.
Strong belief in the efficacy of the cure seems to be an important factor in the placebo effect; according to all authorities, strong faith is required for miracles - but I am not sure faith has the same meaning in both cases. In the first case, belief is merely psychic, while in the second, faith should be pneumatic, or supernatural.
From what I have read at least some fractions of Christian Science encouraged people to be certain of healing and blaimed all lack of healing on insufficient faith in the healing.
This is dubious - natural effects of healing due to belief have limited efficacy and even with the strongest emotional certitude cannot heal everything, while miracles cannot be "forced" by enthusiastic, psychic belief. On the other hand, faith in God is a supernatural gift from God, directed mostly at salvation. It can certainly be accompanied by miracles, including healing, but healing is not its point.
In short, considering matters from the theoretical point of view, the Christian Science method of faith healing is certainly not ensuring success in all cases, and in fact may even not be the most efficacious method of faith healing.
On the other hand, my rather sceptical attitude is certainly not conductive to any kind of faith healing at all.
The insistence on emotional belief is a typical aspect of American religiousness. It is certainly not something wrong; in fact I consider it to be the ultimate form of religion in the Western civilisation. But it should be remembered that it is not the only or the highest form of faith.
As to God's vision: God is omniscient, and that means that He knows everything which exist or could exist, actually or potentially.
"God saw everything he had made and, behold, it was very good."
That is a very basic philosophical principle, in fact, one of three axioms of metaphysics: Everything which is is good. Even a sick child is very good - but it does not mean it is actually healthy - although of course it potentially is so, and one of its final causes - but not the ultimate one - is to be healthy.
Similarly, God sees everything, present, past and future. He also sees all potential pasts, presents and futures. He therefore certainly can see the sick man as if he was born healthy, as he could be potentially healed in the future, as he should finally be, and as he will be healthy in the future (either in this world, or in Paradise). But He also sees as the man is actually at present. Certainly, for God the present form of body is much less important that its final form, but God sees all.
I am a third generation Christian Scientist who is friends with four and fifth generation Christian Scientists, so between us we have seen a great deal of healing. Some of these families have relied on Christian Science for ever health problem that has ever arrisen.
Sometimes healing comes quickly, sometimes it is a long time coming...but the principle in both cases is the same.
It is not a physical difficulty that is being healed, but a misunderstanding about God or our relationship to him. When our thoughts change, healing follows.
Sometimes, our thoughts change instantly and the healing is instant. Other times, it can take twenty years before a person opens their thoughts enough to God to let go of some misconception or fear--though in long time healings, there are often many small healings and realizations along the way.
I've suffered through quite a few things that friends solved quickly with medicine. But I've learned things...realizations, healings, gained clarity that has helped me heal other things more quickly. I would not give up any one of those insights for a few minutes less physical discomfort.
It's not that I like the discomfort. I don't. Not at all...it's that I value spiritual growth and understanding more than I value a temporary change in a current condition.
Because the spiritual progress is perminent. There are certain problems I find heal very quickly because I've worked through them before. Eventually, with such problems, one often has an even greater moment of understanding and never need face the problem again.
I've seen Lime's disease healed, a heart attack stopped, a broken foot healed, illnesses stopped in their tracks, rashes vanish, and that's just a few of the physical things.
One of the big differences between CS and the placibo effect is that it is useful for anything. Finances, quandries, relationships, finding lost things...and each time it works the same way...when we understand the reason why the the problem is not part of God's kingdom, the problem vanishes...doesn't have to be a physical problem, could be anything.
One time I had a problem that was terrifying me. One day, I heard like a voice "Be not dismayed." I thought to myself: "Why would God tell me not to be dismayed if there was anything to worry about? He would not tell me something wrong. If there were something to fear, I should be afraid, right? So there must be nothing to fear."
The problem disappeared, which was great, but that lesson has been so useful to me. There are so many things in my life that have been improved by the understanding that no matter what my eyes and ears tell me, there really is nothing to be dismayed about.
Do I remember all the time...no, often I forget. But it has helped me many times.
It's like what the Lord's prayer says: "Thy will be in earth as it is in heaven." In heaven, all is perfect. When what is around us is in accord with God's will, that is what we see.
Our spiritual growth here on earth is a work in progress. None of us understand enough to see all good all the time. But the moment when sudden realization strikes you and you see through yet another deception of the world and some problem, either new or longstanding, vanishes from your life is so glorious...it's worth every laborous step necessary to reach it.
|Date:||June 9th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)|| |
Thank you for your testimony - it was enlightening, from various points of view.
I thought about things I could write in reply (eg. Matthew 4:1-11), but then I considered that no one ever was persuaded by anonymous people on Internet, so there is no need to irritate each other with vain reasoning.
In addition I have never seen a Christian Scientist in person, and consider it quite probable, that they, like many other heretics, have horns, tails, and cloven hoofs. If that is the case I would prefer to avoid any further discussion about religion.
I did have horns, cloven feet, and a tail...but they were healed through Christian Science.
I appreciate your restraint. I, too, find it difficult to argue about religion. And really, I think that while you and I approach things differently, we are approaching the same God, and that is more important than anything else.
Of all of God's creations, I believe I cherish a mother's heart most.