Friday, June 10, 2011
Do you really need any other reason?
“For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!”
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]
I'm finishing up a series in the Sunday School class I teach about the major world religions. As we went through the section on Eastern religions (Taoism. Buddhism and Confucianism), a connection was being made on a regular basis concerning the shared principles between Eastern religious thought and some New Age philosophy. Bingo! Sure. With this collective epiphany, it would be easy to sit back and declare my work here is done, but I don't think Satan will scurry away so easily after a single lost battle in a much broader war. The fight must go on...
My fellow Kingdom Bloggers have posted great stuff this week. Insightful. Inspiring. Deeply personal testimony. I'm going to take a slightly different approach to our subject matter of gratitude today. Call it more a 'James-like' position.
I posted the poem by Emerson to help make my point. Ralph seemed very thankful to God for the things he enjoyed in nature as he expressed in his popular poem. But if he truly had gratitude to our Father in heaven for the things of nature he so enjoyed, how could a founder of transcendentalism also pen the very words that later made him the intellectual father of the New Thought movement?
Let me review a little history...New Thought = New Age = we all are gods
So was Ralph thankful to himself or his Father in heaven? I remembered this piece from high school and my rather astute English teacher wrongly pointing to Ralph having a moment of spiritual gratitude. She was right about it being spiritual, but the inference it was directed at the same God I worship was just a bit off base...as I would later learn.
I believe Emerson was torn at the moment he penned those words between his true feelings (or lack there of) in matters of God and gaining the popular sentiment of his day. So what he provided was nothing more than lip service to God in order to create a positive, popular appearance. Actually, history records that was the very fact of the matter. Ralph may have cryptically hidden his true feelings in a popularly acceptable message in order to gain notoriety, but once he made the big time...the true Emerson was revealed, and he left his fake gratitude for God out of his writings, speeches and teachings from that point forward.
Here comes my pseudo-James moment...true gratitude will result in sustained biblical actions. If I am genuinely appreciative to God for His many blessings, I will do the things He has commanded me to do with that same heart of gratitude. Not because I have to, but because I want to.
Let's take that to another level...
If I believe what I claim to believe as a Christian...that God the Creator is omnipotent, omnipresent, the Alpha and Omega, the Healer and Comforter...I shouldn't need a single blessing outside of knowing and accepting who God truly is to have that same constant attitude of gratitude.
Knowing what he knows now, I'm guessing Ralph would redirect his appreciation a little differently...given the chance and new found knowledge that God is the Great I Am...and he most certainly is not.