Dream vs. Ideal
Yesterday I asked what your “dream” deity was and then what your “ideal” deity was. True to my word, I am not reposting comments, questions, etc. I do hope you did ask yourself, though, because we really need to identify just what we believe, think, worship, and then convey that in our living.
It is important to not just go through the motions. “Elohe Yakob”, translates as the God of Jacob. When we think of the one deity as only that, then that deity or God becomes an antiquated idea that has no place in the twenty-first century. When we create false expectations, then our faith cannot measure up.
We need to identify what it is we exactly believe in or disbelieve. Yes, I said disbelieve. Many times I have been told what was wrong with my faith, only to have the person telling me then say something that shows me they have no idea what it is I actually do believe. They have made assumptions that, though well-meaning, are completely and entirely incorrect.
A perfect example is the use of the word “Anabaptist”. Many people think it means someone who vehemently opposes the denomination known as Baptist. It really refers to denominations – yes, plural – that advocate adult baptism only. The history of Christianity included infant baptism in the Roman and Anglican religions as the early Christians felt the baptisms recognized the individual as a child of God and, because childhood begins with infancy, but also because of high infant mortality rates, children were recognized or baptized into the family of God and Christian believers very soon after birth. This was similar to the timing of certain Jewish customs and did not seem out of place or odd to these early faithful congregants.
Centuries passed and baptism became an acceptance of one’s recognition of all that Christianity believed and people began to question whether or not a child could do this. Infant baptism included adults answering for the child, godparents they were called. Individualism led to accountability on a personal nature and some groups of believers favored adult baptism. The “ana” prefix means “up from” and the term implied baptism at an older age. The many different types of the Baptist denomination all advocate baptizing individuals older than infants but many baptize children or teenagers. Examples of Anabaptist denominations are the Mennonites and the Amish, among others.
Denominations that still baptize infants also baptize adults. Thinking the term Anabaptist means a group opposed to baptism is incorrect. In my opinion, my version of God will not refuse all that is offered to His/Her children because they have not been baptized. That is just my interpretation of the deity I believe in, a deity who is Jehovah Mephalti, the Lord my deliverer, Jehovah Rohi, the Lord my shepherd.
I like the analogy of a deity being a shepherd. A shepherd cares for the flock, knows each member of the flock, guides the flock aware from harm and yet, when one of the flock wanders astray, doesn’t abandon them but lets them rejoin the flock and continues caring for them. A recent post making the rounds on Face Book says something like “I always give people a second chance but when I’ve had enough, I’m done with them.” I understand, I think, the point behind this post but, at the same time, I cannot call it a good thing and no, I did not blindly repost it. The shepherd always welcomes the errant back into the flock.
All too often we confuse the words “dream” and “ideal”. My dream appearance might be one thing but my ideal appearance is going to include a weight that is healthiest for me and, trust me, that is not the trendy fashion size of the year which is something like a negative size ten. All too often we create false expectation of our deity and then lose faith when our life is not ideal.
The god I believe in might have been another’s dream a long time ago but He/She is mine now and I completely and fully embrace that deity. I do realize that by doing so, however, I still have an imperfect life. Faith is not always a dream and although I believe in the long run it creates an ideal eternity, it is not ideal to live. Faith is not for the weak-kneed or lazy. Faith takes courage and it takes living; more on that tomorrow. Until then, I hope you have sweet dreams and ideal smiles!