What We Carry: Duane W.H. Arnold

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27 Responses

  1. Disillusioned says:

    An essential exercise for us all.

    I’ve been saying that we all have biases that shape our answers regardless of the topic; and when it comes to religion or politics especially, those biases get ramped up to being the only acceptable “truth.”

    But they’re not.

    God, give us grace to see and hear and digest another’s “truth.” Listening to hear each other is a good place to start.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Agreed… and listening is essential!

  3. JoelG says:

    Wise words. I may need to count to 20, though. And yes, I’m probably wrong about a lot of things. Humility is impossible without gratitude. Thank you Duane.

  4. Richard says:

    I also think that for many, parental influences play a major part of our being. There are so many times that I laugh at myself for how much I am like my father. Even as to the way I think about things.

  5. Em ... again says:

    a good read this morning – finding such snippets coming to mind as – “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (or some such), “wretched man that i am, who shall deliver me from this body of death” … “in my flesh there dwells no good thing” … “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”… and yet, to be honest there is much to enjoy in this world – some good – gifts from God to both His children and all of mankind and, yet, some are pursuits of false happiness, leading to destruction of our body and soul
    the questions i come away with are, how much introspection is good and productive? when does introspection mire us down in confusion?

    IMNSHO, the faith is our way out… studying God’s word with an open heart and mind isn’t always easy because of that baggage thing (& a tendency to self justification), but the Holy Spirit is a real Person with great power to renew our minds in Truth and hopes (He does not grind us down into a hopeless despair IMX)

    glad i could get on the internet here this a.m.

    God keep

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    #5 I think introspection is usually of value, but I think some maturity is needed in the evaluation of what we find. For instance, I once tried to discount the “evangelical” influences in my life as I discovered different expressions of the faith. Now, however, I embrace those influences. It takes a bit of distance to see things clearly at times.

  7. JoelG says:

    “the Holy Spirit is a real Person with great power to renew our minds in Truth and hopes (He does not grind us down into a hopeless despair IMX)”

    Good reminder Em

    “Now, however, I embrace those influences.”

    I’d love to hear more about what influences you embrace.

  8. Steve Wright says:

    Duane, this is very well written – a wonderful expression of something I have often tried to share, but with limited degrees of effectiveness I fear.

    One of, if not THE greatest singular challenge to the Christian faith is the charge that “there are all these different denominations teaching different things” – and we can try to differentiate between essentials to salvation versus secondary issues but at the root is the issue of every Christian being indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus why then can there be differences of opinion on ANY theological matters.

    You answered that well here.

    The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman who will often carry our theological baggage to our final destination. But the name on the luggage tags is still ours (or those influences in our past)

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    #8 Steve, well said…

    #7 Influences – preaching, the power of the Gospel, actively sharing our faith, music that speaks to issues of faith… It’s easy, especially in some academic circles, to place oneself above such “evangelical” influences. I know think differently… They are essential…

  10. DavidM says:

    Duane, another insightful, beautifully-written piece. I particularly appreciated the idea of each of us prefacing our opinions with “I might be wrong, but…” . We ALL are not ALWAYS “right” in our theologies, opinions, observations. If more Christian leaders, particularly, would take a deep breath and use that phrase, so much more meaningful dialogue would most likely take place, more understanding would be achieved.

  11. Kevin H says:

    Duane, these are some very good thoughts.

  12. Owen says:

    Wonderful piece, very insightful.

    I’ve often wondered how much further along I could be now if, in my youth, I had exercised a little more humility. And I find it frustrating sometimes that it often takes years to learn and practice such humility.

    Just to let go of wanting to be “right” so often. What does “being right” gain us, really?

  13. JoelG says:

    “What does “being right” gain us, really?”

    On most things I agree with this. When it comes to finding Jesus, finding the Gospel, being right is important. Anything less than the pure Gospel leads to despair. The Gospel trickles down to all other areas of life and when the Gospel becomes watered down with equal parts us and Jesus life gets muddled.

    May the Spirit show us all Jesus always wherever we are at in our journey.

  14. Jim Andrews says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I learned all about “baggage” back in the mid-1970s…that it was mostly a burden that could, and should, be discarded. Unfortunately, I seem to have reacquired much of what I put aside then, and a housecleaning is again called for. So, thanks for the reminder.

  15. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve, David, Kevin, Owen… Many thanks!

    For DavidM in particular – I had thought about opening the article with a quote from William Saroyan – “There are many places where we’ve all done time.”

  16. UnCCed@UnCCed.com says:

    Thank you Duane,
    Ironically, I needed to read this, especially “Beyond this, I also have to deal with the contradictions I carry within myself.”
    I was just reflecting on: 1) How freshly irate I am about the latest CC debacle, and 2) Why/how so quickly #1 occurs since as my moniker denotes I’m no longer involved.
    I know how easy it is (at least for those not dealing with my contradictions) to just “move-on”, but since I’m still dragging around this baggage, not so much. And yes I can admit I’ve made this decision (to drag it around), but unfortunately logic (and everything other of my tools) has proved useless.
    I wanted to share another irony and possible contradiction. Anything close to us slices quicker and deeper than anything foreign.
    For example, I use to marvel at how rabidly anti-Catholic are those who use to be Roman Catholic. I half-expected some priest to jump out anytime based on how quickly they’d get angry even if they attended a CC only for decades.
    Well, now I’m in that boat.
    I wish I could find some post-Dove therapy. I’ve been sincerely jealous of my 5-point peeps and other denom friends who can honestly fully embrace another flavor within the church, but alas, I’m screwed, it seems the only part of the church CC prepares you for is CC.
    I have noticed one benefit however. After years now of silently accepting customs and doctrines I don’t necessarily agree with, I have grown more patient in other areas, or at least my wife says so, which was definitely needed.
    I look back at the irony of how when I was striving to be the chief suck-up and mindless lemming, for some reason the greater my zeal, the more of an ass I was to people.
    Now I can honestly state the more I haven’t got my “way” (“vision”), the more loving I’ve accidentally become.
    Anyway, thank God (sincerely) for you and all the other parts of the church for you (and very few in CCs) and modeled (and patiently waited for me to follow) love.
    Please keep doing/saying things which make the rest of us scratch our head.
    I’m truly thankful.

  17. nathan priddis says:

    I don’t know if it’s normal to evaluate our lives. I am now convinced much of who we are is inherited DNA and reinforced in the early formative years. We simultaneously do and do not have control of our lives.

    If you are traveling on I-5 and collide with a bridge support it’s a safe guess that baggage may be lost. It’s the same with matters of the Spirit. I have lost baggage and the ratio of lost to kept baggage correlates to the force of impact. And….if you are still alive and able to find additional objects to collide with.

    I am no longer the person I was and I give the credit to my church experiences.

    Thanks Duane.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    #16 Sounds like you are on the way to your own resolution. I might also add, things can also work another way. I never thought that I would really connect again with people from the early days of a CC connected ministry in which I was once involved. I made the leap to reach out to a friend I had not seen in 40+ years and was a CC pastor. What a gift! The years fell away and the friendship, despite our different journeys, was renewed and has become meaningful to both of us. Sometimes, I think, it is about integrating the past, even with it’s pain, into our present…

  19. Potatoe head says:

    Arnold good on you!

    I have never heard anyone express what you just did and such an understanding way.

    The Scripture that popped into my awareness after I read your excellent post:

    Whoever walks with wise people will be wise, but whoever associates with fools will suffer.
    Prov 13:20

    Essentially we eventually become like those we hang with, wise or foolish.

    And the culmination of all of my “hangouts” is reflected in me as a person.

    Our back story is us
    And we can’t get away

    It paints all that we are
    And all that we say

    ( Sung in my best Bob Dylan rasp voice)

  20. Michael says:

    I love this one, Duane…
    I’m going through that synchronization process between where i’ve been and where I’m going and trying to hang on to something systematic and coherent while I go.

    It’s a challenge…

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    #20

    Yes… it’s a challenge. A friend said it’s like a Jean-Paul Sartre approach to “the drawer” in the kitchen… rubber bands, markers, unidentified keys, a spark plug from a ’57 Ford… now try to make something meaningful out of it all!

  22. DavidM says:

    #15 – Duane, isn’t that the truth!! ” . . done time” can also be restated, “where we’ve learned simple faith and trust in God”.

  23. Paige says:

    Thank you Duane. This is quite deep and lovely. Lots to contemplate.

    Makes me think of a few garden plants that I’ve moved from house to house over the years. They’ve grown in good soils and poor soils. Some left behind enough root to sprout again after I’ve moved, some didn’t make it. Some have flourished, some have not. Much like my personal baggage and theology.

  24. London says:

    Thank you for writing this Duane.
    It is timely for me.

    Earlier this week I finally got some answers about the “church” my dad’s side of the family belongs to. I’ve been reading every article I can find on the internet, every forum of people who “got out” in an effort to better understand the “baggage” that infected my FOO. It’s hard to sort out what was my dad’s personality, what was his family influence, and what was from this “church”.

    “Baggage” is complicated to sort sometimes.

  25. stephen says:

    From #18: “Sometimes, I think, it is about integrating the past, even with it’s pain, into our present…”

    I do believe is is one of, if not THE, major keys in dealing with past events/people/etc in our lives. It is who we are because it’s where we’ve been and what we have experienced.

    I, probably much like several here, am dealing with things from the past (beginning with over 40 years ago) that have (thanks to observations from a gifted wife) been a major influence on who I am, and how I act…choices I make…all that. To deny it happened, or to deny the influence it has had on my life would (for all intents and purposes) be to also deny the person I’ve been since that time.

    Great article.
    Great discussions.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    #26
    Stephen, absolutely right… if it’s not integrated, it stands “outside” as a threat that can haunt us through the years…

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