The world is flat…is that really a good thing?

“This sort of thing reduces my mind to a pulp.
I can faintly resist when a man says that if the earth were a globe, cats would not have four legs;
but when he says that if the earth were a globe, cats would not have five legs I am crushed.”

G.K. Chesterton


(Live Science / Image: © Shutterstock)

Not sure where Chesterton was going with the 4 legged vs 5 legged cat thing but
no, this isn’t a post about flat earthers vs round sphere folks.

As far as I’m concerned, the earth is a lovely white and blue-green orb diligently orbiting
around its sun.
Orbiting happily along with it’s fellow 7 or 8 planets,
depending on where you are regarding camp Pluto.
Throw in several moons along with the occasional asteroid…
and it’s a pretty merry little solar system.

So 4 and 5 legged cats aside, what I’m talking about today is something
rather odd..it’s from a conversation I once endured…
and yes, it is odder than the notion 4 vs 5 legged cats.

It was a comment that came from a man who considered himself some sort
of a global authority.
He was a doctor at Emory University and was a most arrogant individual who
I had the distinct displeasure of dining with.

There I sat in a small restaurant, in a small north Georgia town,
back in 2007 for more than over an hour munching on a poor excuse for pasta.
I was listening to a loud pompous man extolling the virtues of how our children
(our two sons who were supposed to be college roommates at the time) who were, in his mind
at the time, a part of the generation who were to be living in this brave new flat world.

If he said flat earth once, he said it a thousand times.

At the time, I had to jiggle my head in order to get my eyes from sticking
to the top of my head.

It was that same sense of brain irritation experienced when our school system jumped
on the paradigm shift thinking bandwagon…the word paradigm was the “it” word
for about two years…I felt as if we shifted so much that we actually tied ourselves in knots.
New thinking knots, but knots none the less.

So during this ‘get to know one another’ dinner, this doctor expert went on and on
as he extolled how exciting it was that our sons were to now be a part of this great exciting
global flatness.

It was, however, the underlining of what his grandiose grandstanding actually meant…
it meant that the world was now a place of quick and readily available communication and travel.
Instant communication, instant availability, instant information…
all readily available at the touch of a button or from the hoping on a plane.

Skyping, video conferencing, texting, red-eye flights whisking us from one side of the
world to the next.
In the blink of an eye, we could all be readily and rapidly connected.
We could live in one city while working in another while connecting with a partner
on a global scale all within a matter of moments.

We were now moving about our very round world as easily as we could within our own home.
How grand.
How exciting.
How empowering.

And that revelation, which was issued 13 years ago, came racing back to my thoughts today
as I pondered this latest illness that is making the global rounds.

Coronavirus.

I am currently nursing my “jamesitis” —my current 31 flavors of illnesses named for my grandson…
all because I kept him last week while he was sick and in turn, I am now sick with what he had.

A small microcosm of the matter of how what one person has is readily passed to another person.

Our flat world makes it all so quick and easy to pass and to share…
sharing a great deal more than simple information.

We readily share our germs just as we readily share our thoughts, words, hopes, and dreams.

So why do we act so surprised?
Why do we seem so aghast over the fact that this virus is jumping from nation to nation,
all within the blink of an eye, when we readily hopscotch from nation to nation.

Germs spread just as quickly as our fastest speedily mode of transportation.

Our foods, our products, our wants, our desires all crisscross our globe
in the blink of an eye.
FedEx, UPS, the Postal service, DHL…we click, we ship and in turn we receive
within hours.

So why do we act as if this latest illness is a plague sent by Moses to shake
Pharaoh’s resolve?

We have allowed a cousin of the common cold to take our economy to its knees.
Our news media has cast the death knell.
We must don masks, bath in hand sanitizer and put bells around the necks of the infected.

It is certainly not my intention to make light of the seriousness of an illness…
When one is sick, there is nothing worse and it as if nothing exists outside of
that illness.

However, I do worry about the hype, the misconceptions and the malicious use of an illness
by those who do not have the best interest of the ill at heart.

It would not be the first time that an illness or misfortune was used by some
of the more insidious among us in order to produce some sort of twisted gain
or step up.

A flat world means a more traversed world.
And with a greater means to traverse…we must, therefore, take both the good
and the bad with such desired traversing.

There should be no surprise.
No mystery.

The germs come along, hand in hand with the business deals, the travel dreams
and the long-sought goods of commerce.

Now it’s up to us to cull the panic and equip our moving world with the
means to keep moving.

We must be smart.
We must execute educated caution but we must not give in to the
news lead mania of demise.

Could demise be political gain or ruin?
Could demise be economic gain or ruin?
Could demise be humankind’s gain or ruin?

Despite our desire for flatness, we are still round.
We have our vulnerabilities…for we are just human you know, not gods as we so
wish within our excitement for flatness.

This is not the plague…
But yet is it not exposing an Achilles heel?
Does it not expose our weaknesses or perhaps our strengths?
Does it not reinforce our wants versus our needs?

We are round yet our desire is for flatness…

We must always understand the costs that come with our wants.
We never worry about such until it is nearly too late.
How many more chances will be afforded before we either get it right…or not?

The Spirit and the Bride say,
“Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them,
God will add to him the plagues described in this book,
and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy,
God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city,
which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says,
“Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:17-20

simply settled

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.
Thomas Merton

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(cattail / Julie Cook / 2016)

I posed a question yesterday…
or actually… A.W. Tozer posed the question…

the question being…
“what do you think of Christ and what are you going to do about him…”

And maybe that’s two question in one…

However…
in that simple question lies the cusp of everything…
everything in a compact little nutshell.
The true bottom line.

For you see…
the question here isn’t about religion….
It isn’t about debates…
It isn’t about doctrine…
It isn’t about being an atheist
It isn’t about being agnostic
It isn’t about faith…

This is a question about one thing and one thing only.

Jesus Christ.

Nothing that has followed.
Nothing that has preceded.
Nothing that has resulted over the continuum of mankind…

With the only sole issue in the question, which is of relevant importance, is simply Jesus Christ.

People can claim to have problems with the Bible…
With the Church
With the faithful
with morality
with the various branches of Christianity…

Yet when all of that which is superfluous is finally pushed aside,
when the dust is settled
and the last breath of contention is expended,
it is only Jesus Christ who remains….

All these other issues,
concerns,
battles,
questions….
are reduced but to one single thing…

“God spake His eternal Word in Christ Jesus the Lord,
so Christ has settled every question….”
Because everything stands or falls with Him—and Him alone…

And until you are willing to cut away and dispose of everything else
that merely is distraction and minutia…
and deal with the center of the matter…
Jesus himself…
then you will continue avoiding the answer…

(a paraphrase of thought based on A.W. Tozer’s The Crucified Life)

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you,
my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.
Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

John 16:23-24

the folly of our wisdom

Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.
Plato

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
― Socrates

“Any fool can know.
The point is to understand.”

― Albert Einstein

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(a curtained window in The Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland /Julie Cook / 2015)

What saith the wise man of his knowledge?
Is he, pray tell, the master or keeper of his own immediate world…

What of the land and sea…
Do depths and heights belong to the wise and knowledgable amongst us?

What of the stars, the moon, the sun and the very planets?
Are these entities, such as ripened fruit ready for the plucking, merely waiting for the wise among us first to imagine then to eventually claim as their own?

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( The Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland /Julie Cook / 2015)

And what of the very universe itself, might it therefore belong to the wise and knowledgable as it simply sits waiting as it seems, at the yearning fingertips of the sages, in need of their dissections and explorations.

Then perhaps it it be the explorers among us who are the wise and knowledgable.

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Has knowledge and wisdom become man’s end unto himself?
Has it become his golden calf?
Or has man simply become god himself?
All knowing and all powerful.
As the Great Oz hidden behind his smoke and mirrors.

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( The Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland /Julie Cook / 2015)

And what of this wise man…?
Does his knowledge beget wisdom, or does his wisdom beget knowledge?

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( The Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland /Julie Cook / 2015)

And who do we say are the wise among us?

The mighty or the diminutive?
The powerful or the weak?
The wealthy or the poor?
The healthy or the sick?
The kind or the evil?
The educated or the illiterate?
The ruthless or the polite?

There rests a palpable silence hanging heavy throughout the great halls and houses of learning which grace the major cities of this planet.
Their ancient voices continue whispering across the pages of time..
Those wise and knowledgable men among us who are still studied, quoted, read, savored, reimagined and realigned.

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(Bust of Socrates stands among the many busts of those learned individuals lining the walls of the Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland / 2015)

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(Bust of Plato stands among the many busts of those learned individuals lining the walls in the Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland / 2015)

The very books, the lectures, the theories, the postulates, the queries, the discoveries, the equations, the abilities, the mastery of it all, pales in comparison to the Master Creator of all that was, all that is and all that will be…who by His very decree has given man the ability to think, to learn, to dream, to create and to dare to seek more than himself…

The perhaps it is indeed the wise man, the learned man, the knowledgeable man who realizes, who actually knows and absorbs this very simple truth.

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( The Great Hall, Trinity College Library / Dublin, Ireland /Julie Cook / 2015)

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
― Hermann Hesse

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
― Meister Eckhart

Let no man deceive himself If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.
1 Corinthians 3:18

Beyond

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.
Voltaire

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(the changing glimpse of beyond before the storm / Julie Cook / 2015)

It’s all beyond us really. . .
As in elsewhere
As in bigger, greater, grander
As in far away and much more than ourselves.

What of this place, Beyond?
That which is beyond the trees,
The clouds,
The sky. . .

What is this that is Beyond?

Is it what is there and simply not here?
That which is further rather than closer
That which is big not small?

Those whose sights remain small and inward
may never know the vast richness of Beyond.
Those whose heads are fixed ever downward,
Whose worlds are stationary and static,
Will not know Beyond

Beyond is more. . .
There is endlessness in Beyond

Humankind is not endless, we rather, are finite
As in consisting of a beginning and an ending
As in small and limited
For even our time is limited, as well as unknown

What of this Beyond?
Where does it start?
Where does it end?

One must look upward,
Outward,
Forward. . .

For Beyond is certainly in front, not behind
Beyond is not beneath nor under

Beyond is beyond touch,
Reach
Comprehension

Beyond is not of this time,
Your time or mine.
It goes much further than time
Much further than past or present
It is actually closer to future.

Beyond is beyond what is known
Beyond is beyond this place,
this space,
this dimension

Beyond is. . .simply. . .

Beyond

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9