I had a couple of what you might call "transcendent" or "spiritual" experiences this weekend that I wanted to share and then open up for discussion/debate/opinions.
Transcendent Experience Number One:
Last week, someone on the Rush Message Board made a comment about John Shelby Spong being one of the "false prophets" predicted in the New Testament who, in the last days, will move away from the faith and alter it from what God intended. Others have made similar implications in the past, and it's an issue I have contemplated, and rejected, before, for a variety of reasons.
On Saturday, I was at my in-laws house and was looking for some reading material before I went into the bathroom (sorry for too much info, but it's part of the narrative). Anyway, I couldn't find anything interesting on their shelf, so I picked up a bible and proceeded into the throne room.
As I sat with the unopened bible in my lap, I thought to myself, "Okay, if God is real and has something important to say to me, let him do it now and have me open the bible, purely at random, to a meaningful passage." I've done this occasionally in the past, ever since I was a kid, but not any time in the last few years.
So I opened the bible (intentionally opening it to the New Testament), and flipped a chunk of pages over and let it land on a random page. Then I dropped my eyes to the first chapter I saw.
It was 2nd Peter, Chapter 2.
Which is a chapter warning about false prophets who will alter the message of Christ in order to lead people astray.
2 Peter 2:1 -- But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves.
The rest of the chapter follows along in this vein.
Transcendent Experience Number Two:
Melanie's grandmother died about two years ago, and it was very difficult for her as she and her grandmother were very close. A few weeks ago, we were standing on the back porch and she noticed a white butterfly flitting about in the backyard. She pointed it out and said, "Oh, there's Mawmaw." I kind of gave her a funny look and she said that she always envisions white butterflies to be her grandmother, because they remind her of her grandmother. It was a pretty thought...the idea of this careless, active, fluttering white butterfly representing her grandmother, who had been crippled in her last years by late stage rheumatoid arthritis.
Of course, while I found it to be a pretty thought, I didn't give it a whole lot of rational consideration. More of a pretty sentiment than anything.
About a week after this occurence, Melanie's grandfather died suddenly and unexpectedly. As she had been with her grandmother, she was very close to her grandfather and took his death rather hard, as did all the family. I actually cried more at his funeral than I did at the funeral of my own grandfather in 2002.
The funeral was Wednesday.
On Saturday, we went up to Cincinnati to his house in order to take some pictures of his final garden. He loved to work in the yard and had a beautiful backyard with daffodils, roses, and numerous other flowers, green bean plants, tomato plants, two apple trees, and two peach trees. It was just a beautiful backyard, and I wanted to get some pictures of it, for posterity.
I had just finished taking the first round of pictures when Melanie and the kids walked over from her Mom's house (which is across the street). As I was moving around to the front yard, finished with my pictures, Melanie pointed suddenly and said, "Look!"
As I looked, I saw [i]two[/i] white butterflies flitting along the ground. They came together and began circling and circling each other, just a few inches apart, playing and darting and flirting. As they circled, they began swirling up into the sky, until I lost sight of them in the blue. I tried to capture a picture of it, but they were too fast.
Of course, Melanie immediately began crying and said it was her grandparents, together again, young and carefree as teenagers.