What is a worldview? Surveys of Americans have shown that as many as 80% of Americans do not have a coherent worldview that they make decisions from. They make their decisions based “on the moment.” For this reason, they can be manipulated by algorithms and speakers quite easily as their beliefs are buffeted this way and that by a barrage of images and posts. A coherent worldview can help keep you on course in your life, or to find a course if you had none before. A theologian once said every moment of every day with everything we do or say we either choose God or we choose Not-God. I think we do ourselves a dis-service when we try to put our spirituality and God in a box that we only look at when we participate in ritual, prayer, or worship. This post by Sister Elizabeth addresses that issue. This is Rivan Elan (or Pastor Daniel depending on where you first came across me,) and I am pleased to bring you this post by Sister Elizabeth addresses this issue. [Please be aware there is an administrative note at the end about this site and issues we’ve had.]

Now I give you Sister Elizabeth:

Good day, gentle folks. Are you enjoying the slow down of this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere? Or are you enjoying the sunshine of summer in the Southern Hemisphere?

I have been thinking about the separation of church and state recently. I agree and disagree with this. I agree that countries don’t need a state church, but individuals should let their beliefs regarding God/the Divine/the Universe influence their choices on a daily basis. Yes, even in the political ring.

Before some of you get up in arms about my last statement, let me ask you to think about this. We have laws, correct? Laws try to direct the community in a certain direction that best benefits the community, in some peoples’ interest. Not everyone agrees with this direction, but usually most of us will follow it. Letting your religious beliefs influence your decisions is similar. Not everyone will agree you.

Having a coherent worldview where your theology (thoughts about God/the Divine/the Universe), your philosophy, and your actions work together is a very beneficial thing. Why? Well, let me give you an example from my personal experience. When I was in my 20s, I was passionately opposed to abortion except in necessary cases. I would become emotional during discussions of this topic and was not able to contribute much information. This was because I FELT that abortion was wrong, but had no other reasoning behind my position.

Now that I am older and have done more research and learned more about the topic, I am at peace with my opposition to abortion. I have found doctors who believe life begins at conception. A TV personality and their partner were using a surrogate to have a baby. They were allowed to watch the insemination of the egg. Once that was completed, the doctor asked them what they wanted to know about their baby. The doctor told them he could tell them the baby’s gender, eye color, hair color, etc. because the baby’s DNA was set at the moment of conception. Science is truly amazing when done right.

This ability to determine the child’s traits within minutes after conception reminds me of one of my favorite verses in ancient scriptures:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

The Book of Psalms, Chapter 139, Verses 13-16

The journey to a coherent worldview is not an overnight one. Rather, it is one that continues throughout your life. Mine started as a child. When I would wake up in the night with sleep paralysis at age 4 or so, I would turn to Jesus. I just knew I could trust Jesus to help me move again. Jesus continues to teach me even today.

Throughout the rest of my childhood, I had many people that helped shape my worldview including my grandparents, aunts, cousins, teachers, pastors, and friends. Upon reaching college, my studies in physics and astronomy were essential to rounding out my worldview. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I entered a United Methodist seminary for a master’s degree. This also expanded my worldview, sometimes in ways I really shouldn’t have gone!

I have continued to learn since my college days. Through reading, current events, and discussions with my husband and friends, I have learned to put what I believe into words. I have found that saying things out loud helps me to hear where I have inconsistencies. My husband often reads his posts to me to help him express his thoughts more clearly as he forms his work. In the Book of Proverbs there is a verse that says “as iron sharpens iron so does one wit sharpen another.” So, through discussion my husband and I grow together and by discussing with friends and others we continue to grow as well.

The writing of my final paper called a Credo (Latin for I believe), really helped to solidify my views on the Divine, but not necessarily in ways the seminary wanted. By sitting down and writing it I formed a coherent world view that has served me well. Now when I have experiences or I am faced with questions, I can address them rationally and purposefully. My Credo continues to crystallize each year as I have new experiences and I learn more.

But the biggest factor in pulling together my worldview is taking time, alone and in the quiet, to think about all you know and believe. During these times of silence, I meditate and journal my thoughts. I take walks and observe nature. Sometimes I listen to music and color. (Yes, I love my coloring books; bringing color to a plain page!) Once a week I have adoration where I go sit in the church for an hour to pray and be with God. Church is one of the places that I feel closest to the Divine and sometimes I like to just be there without the busy-ness of worship.

All this Worldview stuff is not as scary as it sounds. You can simply take a blank piece of paper and just start writing. No topic is needed. One time I was angry and I just started writing about my anger. When I read over what I wrote, I found out that I was very angry with my Mom, which was not what I expected to find. Reading over what you write can help you look for patterns in your writing as well as words or phrases that stand out to you. Do you find yourself writing about the same person over and over again? Maybe you should sit with that situation for a bit to see if you can learn more. You can even keep such writings in a book to form a journal that you can review when you want to remember where you’ve been and who you are. That can help you decide where you are going.

The foundation of my worldview came from writing my Credo in seminary. It now carries throughout my worldview. Everything I do and the decisions I make stem from this one theme. Even what I buy now is formed within this theme giving everything in my life place and purpose. Later in Worldview Part Two, I will discuss this theme and how it became important to everything I do. I mentioned it briefly earlier in this discussion.

Can you figure out what it might be?

Since this is a discussion, what are your thoughts on having a coherent worldview? How might you expand or strengthen your own beliefs? What do you do to seek the Divine and to remember who you are? Please feel free to discuss this in the comments below and remember Theology just means thinking about God. Until next time, gentle folks.

~ Sister Elizabeth

[We have been offline for some time and been locked out of the site for a variety of reasons. We continue to struggle financially as our sites are not monetized and do not pay for themselves. We were locked out of our sites due to an inability to pay as I was unable to work due to my disability acting up. When we came back the site had been disconnected from our domain name and no one knows why. I do know that our sites are constantly under cyber attack and we are told that it is by an unusually high number of attacks. It may have been due to some attack that the site became disconnected. However, we were able to get everything back up and we are hoping that we can get support for the site so we can get some site security. Recently, we obtained our SSL certificate to ensure readers that the site itself is safe and malware free so that is one less worry for all of us. Thank you for being patient and staying with us through these difficulties. – Rivan Elan / Pastor Daniel