Introduction: I quite often find Walter Lanyon’s writings difficult to wrap my mind around. Some say his prose is not meant to be read with the mind, but with the spirit. However, for me that approach isn’t satisfying. What does it benefit me if I merely understand a thing with my spirit? While reading Lanyon’s “Conception” again (have read it several times before) three paragraphs stood out and I asked some of my friends to help me decipher the text.
After having read Fred Pruitt and DeeDee Winter’s responses the Spirit in earnest began His teaching within me and took me on a journey into the deep things of God and He challenged me concerning many things. While He was working in me it occurred to me that it was not a coincidence that those three paragraphs were highlighted for me and that I was to ask others help me interpret them. Beforehand, I had basically told the Spirit: “I am dumb as a lamb so you have to explain what Lanyon writes here in such a way that it makes sense to me.”
The following is an extract from the exchanges with Fred and DeeDee, respectively.
Ole Henrik: I am reading old Union Life Mags. Lanyon is given a lot of room. I have to be honest and admit that I do not always understand much of what he is saying. I know Norman spoke highly of him and I know you and I have made some exchanges on Lanyon before. But, if you have time, what on earth is he saying here:
No two men having a given desire will bring out an identical manifestation. If you desired substance, the measure you bring forth would be different from the measure of every other man who desired the same thing. Each one brings out the degree they are able at that time to accept. What is wealth to one might be poverty to another,-and yet it is all one substance. No limitation is put on the measure except the degree of acceptance.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions” – many stages and stages of manifestation. As soon as you have finished with one “mansion”, you enlarge the borders of your tent and move on to another. The degree of acceptance is wholly up to you and it is not determined by your human desires – but by your ability to accept this wonderful revelation of Christ Jesus.
“Who did hinder you, that you should not obey the Truth?” You have blamed everything from birth on to the people and conditions about you – and will continue to do this until you discover that YOU hindered yourself. No one holds you back,-no one stops the flow of Light through your body-temple. At first this is not easy to accept. It is bitter to the taste,-but sweet to the digestion As a good surgeon cuts deep with the first incision instead of cutting away the difficulty bit by bit, so you rid yourself of the hateful habit of blaming everything in the world for your present plight.
Fred: I don’t see anything unclear in this, Ole Henrik. I think it is more straightforward than most of Lanyon. We don’t necessarily have to agree with it all, but what he is saying seems plain enough to me. What is unclear to you?
Ole Henrik: I am trying to articulate myself, but I can’t. I believe I understand the second paragraph pretty clearly. And I think I have a grasp on the third….there are not few who blame their present condition on their past….seemingly unable to get over it and hence look forward and obey the truth; that Christ is that person’s life now.
Is the first paragraph another way of saying: According to your faith be it unto you?
Fred: Yes to your last question. But Lanyon does introduce another matter, the matter of “substance.” When he says it is all the same substance, that forms itself into different things according to the desire of the speaker or maker, according to its ability at that time to bring forth. The “substance” we might say is unformed spirit which is brought into form by our word. It is always working in both the natural and the spiritual, bringing forth everything that comes forth. Same thing in physics more or less. Mark 11:24. It is why the children of Israel could not go into the land the first time but they could go across the Jordan the second time. Where they were in their faith prevented it, they could not, and that was the point of the attempt, to show them themselves, as men of flesh, afraid of the giants and great walled cities. Though they were under the command of God, as was Paul when told “You must not covet,” and though they tried, they could not do it. You see it.
Ole Henrik: Can you shed some light on what Lanyon is saying here?
DeeDee: It speaks of our individual uniqueness and how we move into the desires God gives…one person one way and another, another way. He challenges in the last paragraph that no one but ourself is responsible for what our lives hold today.
Ole Henrik: Do you agree with Lanyon’s last paragraph? Is it another way of saying: According to your faith be it unto you?
I believe I have seen something today which I haven’t seen before. A part of this dying so that others may have life or this giving up our lives is to turn every negative into something positive in our consciousnesses.
DeeDee: Yes, I do. He is simply stating that we, and only we, are responsible for our lives. A good example is infant baptism in the Catholic Church. They believe that a parent taking a child to be baptized and the priest who performs the rite are responsible for that infant having eternal life. I do not believe Scripture supports this nor does my personal experience. Only I can choose or reject God’s call to me.
This is the same with everything that comes my way. That is why we see two with similar life-events and one goes one way and the other another way. The events are the same, but our response to them is ours alone.
Yes, we can speak life or death…
Endnote: I was by the Spirit challenged chiefly concerning two things. With a clarity never given me before I saw the difference between works and rest. God rested when creating everything visible by only speaking the word: “Let there be…..” Then on the seventh day He created rest for what He had created. From our position of being in the seventh day of rest we also speak spirit substance into visibility by our words of faith. God’s Word was made flesh. Likewise, by faith our words are made flesh. Again, I so clearly saw how spirit takes form, not by works, but by faith and that includes speaking spirit substance into manifestation.
Next, I was reminded about something the Lord said to Jeremiah: “……you shall be as my mouth” (Jer 15:19). I have to tell you that there was a huge wrestle or fight in me before I could take that in faith and say that this is true about me, and then from that position speak out the things that was pressing on me in that moment.
“If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth.” Like DeeDee said: “Yes, we can speak life or death….” Personally, I prefer to fulfill that “if” by saying that I utter what is precious.
This year I have a class in math where it on the surface seems like an impossible task to bring every pupil in the class through the curriculum with a grade that will make them pass. Confronted with this I have two options: Agree with how things look or speak what is precious. I chose to say that every student will pass and that I have the wisdom and creativity to make that happen. Norman Grubb said: “Faith costs”. There is a sort of death in stating the opposite of what a thing looks on the surface.