So once again, here are some thoughts as to the gist of this blog.
We left off – at the end of “Part I” – by discussing the Catch 22 of getting JCPD appointed to your case. “The catch is that you have to ask for this special Public Defender before you die. If you wait until after you die it may be too late! (So, why take the chance?)”
(See also Catch-22 – Wikipedia, as illustrated at left.)
Then there was a quote from Isaiah 50:8, “Let us appear in court together.”
So now to extend the metaphor: Once you ask God – ahead of time – for JCPD as your court-appointed defense attorney, you get put on the functional equivalent of pre-trial diversion:
Pretrial diversion (PTD) is an alternative to prosecution which seeks to divert certain offenders from traditional criminal justice processing into a program of supervision… Participants who successfully complete the program will not be charged or, if charged, will have the charges against them dismissed…
See also John 5:24 (in the TLB): “Anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be damned for his sins” – or shortcomings – “but has passed out of death into life.”
In turn, your pre-trial supervision includes reading the Bible. (In part for the counseling.)
So to repeat: Your first step is to realize that Jesus won’t turn away anyone who asks for His help, as it says in John 6:37. Your next step is to try and follow the Cliff’s Note summary of the entire Bible. (The one that Jesus gave in Matthew 22:37-40.)
Your third step is to realize how much counseling is available.
That is – metaphorically – your pre-trial diversion guidebook is the Bible. In turn there’s a PTD “counselor” available: the Holy Spirit. See John 14:26, as interpreted in the Complete Jewish Bible, :
But the Counselor, the Ruach HaKodesh, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything; that is, he will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Also John 16:7, “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I don’t go away, the comforting Counselor will not come to you. However, if I do go, I will send him to you.”
In other words this Great Spirit is the third “person” in the Trinity. First there’s God the Father as Ultimate Judge. Then there’s Jesus as Ultimate Defense Lawyer. And last but not least, there is the Holy Spirit – the Ruach HaKodesh – as the Ultimate Pre-trial Diversion Counselor.
(And if all that isn’t enough to get you reading the Bible on a regular basis, consider the post by Mike Mooney, Why I’d Still Believe In God Even if the Bible was a Fairytale, featuring the image at right.)
* * * *
So what exactly happens when you start reading the Bible on a regular basis?
You could say this spiritual discipline amounts to an ongoing “transcendental” meditation.
For example, see The Bible as “transcendent” meditation. The basic message there is that – as in all true meditation – what you’re trying to do is literally impossible. You can’t ever literally adhere to the mandate of Matthew 22:36-40. You can never, ever love God with all your heart and strength and mind, or – and this is especially hard – love your neighbor “as yourself.”
But there is a payoff, or rather any number of payoffs to this spiritual discipline:
Greater efficiency in everyday life; getting in touch with a different view of reality than the one we ordinarily use; the ability to transcend the painful, negative aspects of life; living with a serene inner peace; and/or living with “a zest, a fervor and gusto in life plus a much higher ability to function in the affairs of everyday life.”
Put another way, you could say that starting your pilgrimage – through the discipline of regular Bible-reading – is a bit like spiritual water-skiing.
To extend this metaphor further: Starting this interactive process of “walking toward Jesus” can become a bit like grabbing the handle of a rope connected to some metaphoric Big Motorboat in the Sky. Once you grab on, your main job is simply to hang on to the rope for dear life.
Which raises another question: What kind of ride can we expect once we grab onto the handle? And what do we do if our “hands” get so tired that we let go of the handle?
That’s what this blog is all about.
Again, the upper image is courtesy of gospelcoalition.org/blogs … atticus finch.
The “counselor” image is courtesy of school-counselor.org/topics/new-school-counselor.
Re: “Ruach HaKodesh.” See also Holy Spirit (Judaism) – Wikipedia: “The Holy Spirit in Judaism generally refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It also refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God Most High … over the universe or over God’s creatures…”
Re: Why I’d Still Believe In God Even if the Bible was a Fairytale. That post ends:
Sure, it’s irrational to believe in ancient religious narratives – that is a matter of faith – but to believe there is a Higher Power that designed and implemented the universe is not irrational, not when the only other option we have is that the universe just happened by fluke, right?