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We Are God's Point of Convergence


1/22/2023


Ephesians 4:22-23

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;


Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in the effects of perspective. I didn’t know what it was called when I was young, but I was fascinated when riding in our car and came upon a series of power poles. The poles the most distant would seem to stay in place and the closer ones sort of came together in just the right timing until - for just a flash – they all aligned and there was just one pole. Then they would gradually spread out again as we drove by.


I am not a painter nor do I draw, so I know little about perspective, but I do remember being in grade school and learning about something called a ‘vanishing point’. So when you sketch a picture, you use this vanishing point as a reference to how lines are drawn so that things look correct and natural.


When I am out walking I become aware of this vanishing point. I look at a distant point and all the telephone poles seemed to converge on this far off spot; every street seems to move closer together toward this point in the distance. I notice that buildings, although I know are perfectly rectangular, look trapezoidal. Circles are flattened into ellipses. This, I have learned, is called ‘foreshortening’.


Now this is simple-minded, I realize. But sometimes we go through our lives not recognizing the obvious. We are unaware of the perspective influences surrounding us, and our inner perspective. Another word for perspective is attitude, as our Bible verse uses. It could just have easily been interpreted, “…to be made new in the perspective of your minds…”


Perspective means different things depending upon the context. When it refers to life, perspective refers to the reference point from which we categorize, measure, and judge experiences. Our perspective dictates our belief system. Simply put, it is how we see things; it is our point of view.


Anaïs Nin revealed the truth when she wrote: “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” This is what I want to speak about today, how our perspective on things can change by changing our focal point and expanding our knowledge and awareness of God.


Since I don’t see things as they are but see things as I am, someone can determine my perspective by taking note of my behavior, my rationality, how I treat others, how I speak to others. Someone can observe my voting record, what I eat, whether I recycle or not; where I shop, what I buy online, and the list goes on and on. All of this reveals my perspective from an empirical, measurable, and observable reference point. Companies pay significant amounts of money to gain this information so they can advertise items they have determined would be enticing from my perspective.


We draw people to us or repel them with our perspective. We tend to associate with people who share our same perspective, who believe as we do, who share our attitudes toward people, institutions, and circumstances.


Our perspective is unique from all others. Yet, we are often surprised or disappointed to find someone with a differing belief set. As psychologist James Allen said, “The suspicious believe everybody to be suspicious; the liar feels secure in the thought that he is not so foolish as to believe that there is such a phenomenon as a strictly truthful person; the envious see envy in every soul; the miser thinks everybody is eager to get his money... and the abandoned sensualist looks upon the saint as a hypocrite.”


If our perspective is narrow, then we have a smaller pool of social and interpersonal skills to draw upon. If our perspective is too self-centered, we may be unable or unwilling to demonstrate with words or actions that we approve of others, or accept and appreciate others, or that we care.


Our perspective determines how we face challenges. Some people refuse to accept help. “I don’t need help; I can do this myself. It just takes more effort, more power, and more determination.” If this is our attitude – our perspective toward challenge – then we may alienate those around us.


Abraham Maslow taught: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” If we see ourselves as a hammer, everyone we meet is a nail.


Our perspective as a nation is critical when it comes to fuel sources, human rights, religious tolerance, monetary and business issues, social issues, political agendas, national security, and foreign affairs. Our perspective determines our belief systems, our spiritual identity, and our morals and values personally, nationally, and globally.


Our individual perspective determines how happy we are and how we get along with others. Do we have the capacity to see another’s perspective? Dale Carnegie said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.” Friederich Nietzsche wrote, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”


Our individual perspective determines how we judge others. Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


On a national level, our cultural perspective can be determined by how we treat others. Do we have a localized national viewpoint or do we have a global perspective? Do we have an exclusive or inclusive attitude toward the rest of the world?

Einstein also said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” We cannot solve our problems with the same perspective, the same attitude, that created them.


There is power in perspective, and our ability to change it. Altering our viewpoint not only changes how we think, but also how we feel, speak, act, and respond. The ability to recognize, shift, and adjust our vantage point gives us control over the way we react to situations.


Spirit naturally wants to unfold as greater and greater awareness through the collective of people and through the individual. It is at the individual level that we often unknowingly throw obstacles into Spirit’s path.


Sometimes fear can play a powerful role in our perspective. When we would ordinarily have a more global attitude towards people and events, and freely give our time and money to charitable causes, fear from a bad economy can shunt our generosity; our perspective moves from other-oriented to self-oriented. Doubts and fears can cause us to change our perspective, diminishing Spirit’s movement through us.


Closely associated with fear is greed, which is another powerful deterrent to Spirit’s movement. When we are filled with greed, our focus is on hoarding, collecting, and compiling wealth, possessions, and power to the exclusion and even detriment of others. When a society is filled with greed, the ‘have-nots’ suffer, while the ‘haves’ do all they can to distance themselves from the plight of the poor. It has ever been so.


We choose our perspective, one moment to another because we choose our focus. From my walking I have had three main realizations about perspective:


One, when I turn my head, I can find another spot to where all the lines and rooftops now converge. If I move my gaze just a bit, there is another convergence. No matter where I look, the world responds and converges onto my beckoning focal point.

Spirit moves through us that way as well. No matter where we look, where we focus, God responds and moves to that point. If our inner perspective is God-aware enough, Spirit will move fully. If we are shunted by fear, greed, ignorance, or any other impediment, Spirit cannot move through us effectively.


The second realization is that when I finally get to the spot that I am focused upon, there is a whole lot more beyond it. We can focus on something so much that when we finally get there, we need to immediately reset our focus. We may think we have it all figured out; we may think that our relationship with God, or our spouse, or other loved ones is great, yet there is always more to learn, always new opportunities for growth.


I like the phrase, “Walk a mile, see a mile.” While walking our path, we never know what is in store. We learn as we progress, being guided and drawn by Spirit. Sometimes our lessons require that we meander rather than move in a straight line. As Marine General Oliver Prince Smith said, “We are not retreating; we're just advancing in a different direction.”


The last thing I’ll mention that I have learned about myself while walking, is that when I am totally focused on one spot, obsessed in all ways upon achieving that goal, I am blind to the beauty of the clouds and mountains around me. “If you do not raise your eyes,” says Antonio Porche, “you will think that you are the highest point.”


We have absolute control of our thought, attitude, focus and perspective. Sometimes we must take a break, pull away, and change our attitude momentarily before we resume our focus. The Dali Lama said, “…if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.”


Even today, it is fascinating to me that from a physical perspective all lines converge where I focus. I believe this applies to the spiritual realm, as well. As God focuses on each of us individually, which is always, then Spirit manipulates all good things to converge on us; all lines of God’s good are drawn directly to us. As the object of God’s love and focus, no matter how far we think God is away in the distance, it is an illusion, and all of Creation is converging on us.


God sees us both near and far. From a distance, God sees us as a special, unique, and vital part of God’s Creation and the Mosaic of Life. From a distance, God allows our mistakes, erred thinking, and harmful actions to become inconsequential to the good that is in store. Genesis 50:20 teaches: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.


God also sees us from a close, personal, and intimate perspective, where our erred thoughts and actions are very consequential, yet are forgiven. Our meanness hurts others and severs connections. Yet they are lessons, opportunities we are given to grow, learn, and develop a new attitude of mind. This higher-minded, more in-depth perspective is a result of Christ teaching us that how we live our life comes from how we see our life. When we focus on Spirit within, we become the vanishing point for God, the point of convergence for all of God’s peace, love, joy, health, and abundance.

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