This is the 500th post for this current blog iteration. That’s cool.
Today makes four days of good sleep in a row. Yesterday when I read, I could not focus. So this morning I had to read those passages again. They were good and then I picked up “An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine” again. I have tried to read over the past few weeks but my mind was too exhausted to follow any thought patterns. Today I read quite a bit. I highlighted a lot.
The concepts seem difficult to pull from the middle of a section but I wanted to highlight some ideas and this passage was the one that I selected. Hopefully the thought will be able to flow from it.
It may be objected that its inspired documents at once determine the limits of its mission without further trouble; but ideas are in the writer and reader of the revelation, not the inspired text itself: and the question is whether those ideas which the letter conveys from writer to reader, reach the reader at once in their completeness and accuracy on his first perception of them, or whether they open out in his intellect and grow to perfection in the course of time. Nor could it surely be maintained without extravagance that the letter of the New Testament, or of any assignable number of books, comprises a delineation of all possible forms which a divine message will assume when submitted to a multitude of minds. –An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
Do the ideas reach the reader at once in their completeness and accuracy on their first perception of them? If only this were the case. I spent nearly a year studying the doctrines of grace before I accepted them as truth. I continue to study these doctrines. I have been studying the idea of authority for a few months with no great revelation. I will continue to study this idea. So at least in my case, ideas do not reach me in completeness and accuracy during my first perception.
So how does this follow through with regards to Christian doctrine as a whole? Would this hold true for the faith as well?
This morning I wanted to have this discussion. I dreamed a little dream. I remembered a passage from the Bonhoeffer book I finished recently.
Bonhoeffer was able to smuggle letters to Bethge starting in November 1943. Once this avenue was open to him, he poured out a torrent of writing to the one friend who had the theological, musical, and literary chops to keep up with him. “I can’t read a book or write a paragraph,” he said to Bethge, “without talking to you about it or at least asking myself what you would say about it.” –Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
That person exists you see. It is all quite interesting.
Two weeks ago as I was in bed praying for sleep, I remembered a bit of Hamlet. “To be or not to be” begins this soliloquy but it is not my favorite portion of the passage. My favorite part is “To die, to sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream, aye there’s the rub”. That night I wanted sleep and it did not visit as long as I had hoped for. I read that again the next night. And then I read it again about a week later.
I had that memorized in high school. I wish I could recall it all by memory now – at least to some extent anyway. I remember the flow of the passage but I did not recite it properly during those readings. I would blame it on the lack of sleep at the time but that excuse does not hold much value with me so I find it unlikely to hold true for you either. I do blame lack of practice. Not having recited that passage in years causes one to lose abilities such as this. I realize it is not of critical importance mind you.
Time to fix dinner.