Intent and Perception

Cowboys and Indians

This cold, dreary, winter morning was just like any other morning on the Kansas plains. God had the sun coming up in the east at precisely the right place and time, there was oxygen enough for every breathing creature, the little brook had more than enough water to quench the thirst of hundreds of dehydrated bodies, and souls still sinned and searched for answers.

This particular morning saw a band of soldiers using their supply of God-given oxygen and water quickly surrounding a small band of Indians sleeping in their tepees.

A deep, bass voice suddenly sadly declared, “I intend to kill two Indians for them killing my wife, two Indians for them killing my only daughter, and two Indians for them killing my only son.”

Another wizened soldier said, “How do you know it was Indians who killed your family?”

And the quick retort, “I learned at my pappy’s knee that all Indians were bad; this only proves it!”

“What if you are wrong?” And he was cut off short as the command to attack was made. The resulting volley of shots resounded off the surrounding hills.

Indians came out of their tepees with sleep in their eyes drawing back in horror as a mob of horsemen recklessly rode into their compound shooting everyone on sight, even those breathing the same oxygen. One particular muscular Indian turned hastily picking up his rifle noting that his family was cowering across the fire in the back of his tepee. Thinking, he had to protect his family, he fired at the first man he saw. His aim was true and the soldier fell to the earth hard. The Indian family man ran up to the fallen man intending to scalp him. The man pulled a pistol from his tunic and fired at the Indian hitting him square in the chest. He fell across the soldier family man landing face to face.

“You killed my family,” the soldier said.

“I did not,” the Indian said.

“All Indians are bad,” said the soldier family man, and died.

All white men are bad,” said the Indian family man, and died.

Neither sinned nor used oxygen again . . . .

I feel I must write something at this point concerning my intention in this writing. I have received several comments, some positive and some negative, some praising but most producing inquestioning. Some negative comments had criticism of my intent. The perception was that I was trying to “bias their thinking,” that what I was writing was “not about their God,” and that I "had no business using God's word to further my own thinking." Nothing could be further from my intention. I have written what I believe, not what I think I want the reader to believe. Of course, anyone writing something wants the reader to get something out of it, and often it is, “Believe this! I’m right!” Not I. Perhaps as you read, you can get my intent by thinking, “He believes that? That can’t be right! Can it?” That can be the beginning of tapping the inquestioning spiritual well.

Personally, I have chosen the Christian Plan of Salvation in which to maneuver my intellectual/spiritual journey. Others choose other Plans. I am well aware of the Christian prejudice toward there-is-only-one-Plan-and-that-Plan-is-what-I-perceive-as-right! syndrome; however, it is obvious that God created many plans. This is shown through the many religions and even the varieties of belief within religions—Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Christian, Muslims, Navahos, Aztecs, Tasadays, Country Music Christianity, Snake-handlers Christianity, etc. We should not be surprised that there are spiritual similarities (even though some deny them) between these varieties; they were all set up by the same God, and we all worship the same Spirit. God always has a plan in everything He does. Within these religious plans are “species” of religions as God continually used the same patterns in creating His world. For me, that Salvation Plan even extends to the individual level—we each have our own Plan, no matter what variety we choose to reside in, created personally by God. That is what He meant by having Paul write in his Philippian letter “. . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

We just must remember that God created the world for His pleasure, not for ours. (Actually, I doubt if God has pleasure, but we understand pleasure and get pleasure from our religion, so I use that term.) He uses social order, e.g., religions in what we are discussing, to help bring about whatever is best for His Plan for existence. He then uses the individuals within the social order to complete His earthly plan. We dishonor our selves when we thoughtlessly think of the earth as our Earth. God created the world for His pleasure, not ours. We use it, we enjoy or endure it for a season, and then we die and sinning is over.