Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ten Years in Russia; 1913-1923 CONCLUSION

From Ten Years in Russia; 1913-1923
Karl Larsson 
Translation: SEL

A teahouse singer’s tale

Marusja - every time I hear that name my thoughts are brought to a house located at  Petergovskij Prospectus 22. 

It was a late on Marus Monday evening, named after Avraham Marek Klingberg, known as Marcus – reputed to have saved the world from the Nazis, in November 1917. A group of Petrograd Salvation Army officers from Finland working in Russia had gathered together to spend their free evening. Among them were also some Russian Salvationist, and there was one that especially by her genuine Russian character was different from the others. 

Despite her natural vivacity there was the essence of a 
prayer for indulgence because she was wrapped in a striped scarf and a white cloth on her head, she sat near the steaming tea kitchen at the lower end of the table. It was Marusja. Her early years she had spent in the teahouse world. She grew up in a Russian slum home and had as a child been thrown into the street, where she as a barefoot little beggar managed to get by, singing their country's melancholy folk songs. 

As she grew older, she moved eventually from the street into the tea houses, and soon she became the city’s well most celebrated teahouse singer. 

So began the trek from the tea house to tea house night after night for years. Evenings and a part of the nights she spent among beer bottles or tea glasses, often into the early hours of the morning. A part of the day she dozed away in the corner of one of her friends.

These teahouses became her world, and as long as she had a voice and the ability to adequately fill the boisterous crowd's requests.
She was welcomed everywhere by the city’s countless numbers.
But then her voice broke. 

One evening she sang her swansong. Only a hiss remained of her voice and it fell to only whispers. Her star had gone out. 

The Teahouse World was closed, and only begging remained, on which thousands of Russian relied. 

Then came The Salvation Army – the blessed Army. With many of the city's many unfortunates one evening she came to the Prospect Petergovskij where the Army’s hall was located. A new world opened up to her! 

How different were not these songs to those she had been used to! They penetrated to the former teahouse singer’s hardened heart, enlarged it and made it open to the divine love which so far has been altogether foreign.

"Sister dearest," she interrupted in the middle of the story of her life story and made the sign of the cross, "then I must go there," she opened the door and pointed to the Mercy Seat. "Well, you know, my dove, when the sister, who prayed with me urged me to pray by myself, my heart was about to burst. Sister consoled me, saying that the Lord hears our heart cry. Well, then, then came the miracle." Once again she made the sign of the cross.. "It was as if the heavenly Father himself touched me and said: 'You are free,' and then, for the first time in my life, I thanked God in my own words.  He placed a new song in my mouth praising God.”

The narrator fell silent. On the other side of the street the convent bells peeled the time for the midnight church service. After having made the sign of the cross before the painted icon of Christ, whose holy lamp spread a faint sheen, Marusja swept her shawl tighter around herself, and tied her headscarf firmer, and then she kissed me on the cheek. She left the house at Fetergovskij prospectus 22.

Later I met Marusja at our meetings. We became
good friends. Equally modest and praylike she came night after night to our meetings with her Bible under her arm. 

Of the former teahouse singer was transformed a Salvationist singer. She had in her mouth," a new song, a hymn of praise to our God.

Samojeden - A Siberian from the nomadic people

He was a short, middle-aged man. No one had paid any particular attention to him. He came to our meetings and left, just like all the other people did with the difference only that his place on the bench by the window was empty every other week. He was the shift workers.

But one Sunday, when the meeting was over and the people left the hall, he remained behind and asked to speak to the meeting leader.

"Do you know what it is that draws me to your meetings?" he said. 

"It is your Mercy Seat. It has exercised a strong attraction for me, but it's only for Christians, and I, I'm a heathen, a Samoyed. I have a crime on my conscience. 

Samojeden – “About ten years ago I committed what was deemed one of our most horrible crimes. The punishment for this was that my nose and ears were to be torn loose and my jaws crushed. Our fathers’ law said so.”
 They cast lots to decide who would enforce the judgment. The lot fell on me, but I could not bring myself to carry out the punishment.

Before the appointed day dawned I ran away from my father’s hut, pursued by my tribe's curse. I can never again tread on my native land, Siberia's icy strands.

This curse has rested upon me in all these years, but with you, I have a feeling that there "- he pointed to botbänken -" there is something wonderful, that can reconcile everything. But that's just for Christians, and I'm a pagan. But tell me, "he continued," if there really is a force that can reconcile all crimes ...? "

The officer explained thoroughly Jesus Christ’s reconciliatory plan of salvation) which refers to all mankind - both Christians and pagans - and explained that our Mercy Seat was intended not only for Christians but also for the Gentiles, because Jesus Christ, God's Son’s, blood cleanses from all sin.

Samojeden appeared to devour every word, and gradually a light  appeared to effect him. He understood nothing of the matter, albeit vaguely. When he prayed at the Mercy Seat together with the meeting's leader, the light broke into his soul, and dissipated the devil’s darkness. Samojeden quivered at the Spirit's touch, and when he opened his mouth, exhibited a wonderful power, whose outpouring I have never sensed before. The whole man being radiant rose from his kneeling position, and said:
"I have never bowed the knee to any man, and never thanked anyone. The Creator is the first, before whom I humble myself, and he has reconciled my debt. Now I can return to my home town, because he has obliterated my
ancestral Law. "
A complete transformation had taken place.


OUR FIRST OPEN AIR MEETING Karl Larsson

It was Sunday December 22, about six weeks after the revolution. I had come to meet Commissioner George Mitchell, who would pass through Petrograd on the way from the East to England. World War II still raged and made other routes unsafe. But as the Commissioner’s train was several hours late, I never met him. Instead, I got to be part of the Salvation Army's first open air meeting in Russia.

About thirty officers, soldiers and recruits took part. The Band was made up of myself with my concertina. With the banner in the lead we marched up the Bolshoi Prospect (High Street) about ten minutes and then turned onto a side street, where we formed a large circle. Within minutes we had a crowd of about a thousand people around us.

My interpreter, candidate Clara Becker got up on a chair and announced the first song, where the words read;
Those who come to the cross shall receive the crown of life in the land where Jesus lives, oh, what joy eternal!

A couple of Salvationists led in prayer, and then we sang a song printed in Vjestnik Spasenija, followed by some testimonies.

Someone in the crowd objected. We understood that less friendly elements were present. One person asked to speak, but we could not give the floor to completely unknown persons, least of all in an open-air meeting. Someone shouted that we should believe in the new priests, to which another replied that we would not think of anyone other than Christ. During yet another song, we took up the collection, which amounted to seventeen rubles, after which I spoke on the words: "What a man soweth, so shall he reap.

The turmoil in the crowd appeared to be increasing. The man who had asked to speak earlier asked again with the same request, and when it was not granted, he cried: "These belong to the black hundred" (a famous reactionary group), after which he issued orders to march!

The people opened the way for us. We could not see from the front what was going on behind us, but we heard later that the comrades who came last in the march had it difficult, as the crowd pushed and appeared menacing.

The entire crowd followed us to our headquarters. Since we were not able to prepare a place for more than a maximum of seventy persons, only a fraction of the pushy crowd get into. They did not believe our assurances of the limited space, and the situation became critical.

The crowd was too upset to listen to any explanation; it could not understand why the doors must be closed and appeared to have gotten the idea that we were a secret society. They were preparing to storm the doors!

Two young Salvationists, one a female student, a lovable soul, stayed outside and did everything they could to calm the crowd. 

Thanks to these young people's persuasion our first Russian open-air meeting concluded without any serious consequences. We were completely ignorant of what went on outside and held our meeting for those who were fortunate enough to enter.

Later, after a discussion with our comrades, we agreed not to organize any open-air meetings until further notice, especially outside the city centre. We risked too much, as long as the regime remained unsettled and we were not sufficiently known and recognised.

A month later, the government issued some formal regulations for meetings and the formation of societies,

The main points were:
All Russian citizens have unrestricted right to hold meetings indoors, private or public, including open-air meetings. Streets with tram tracks may not be used for meetings, but otherwise all the streets and squares may be used provided no traffic is hampered. All Russian citizens also have, without special permission the right to form associations This meant true freedom. 

But one day harm would follow and all freedom would be strangled! 

Later in the summer, and also for a few years following we conducted open-air  meetings in several parks in the city center without any significant disruptions. Another kind of open-air meeting would also be successfully organized by sellers of Vjestnik Spasenija. They stopped at a suitable place, sang a song or two, gave an explanation of the contents of the newspaper. Twenty minutes after the meeting began the papers went on sale.

The meeting observers had become interested, and several dozen of the newspaper could be sold in minutes.

A chapter from; Return to Russia with Flags Unfurled: Sven Ljungholm with Kathie (Ljungholm) Bearcroft - Will be released late summer 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ten Years in Russia; 1913-1923 PART TWO OF THREE

From Ten Years in Russia; 1913-1923
Karl Larsson 
Translation: SEL

Don’t these testimonies offer seriousness, an honesty and frankness, which reveal the Russian character? Here it is all or nothing.

TROPHIES
Our work in Russia resulted in several noticeable changes. Adjutant Lydia Rainio, one of our comrades, noted some vivid depictions and shared them in the Finnish War Cry. Here are some of them, partially condensed.

The man in the fiery red sweater

“To Wasjas village ", the abode of the worst misery amid Petrograd’s most abundant luxury, came two Salvation Army officers on a Saturday afternoon. They looked through a narrow gate, on the walls to see if there still something left beyond its plaster, but saw instead images of evil itself. They came through a narrow walkway walking into one of the first housing areas, on whose open landscape was piled smelly garbage heaps, and where hungry, mangy cats and dogs wallowed. The anxiety that this sight elicited grew increasingly, while the officers groped in the pitch-dark hall where a humid air beat against them. 

Who's there?" was the answer to their knock.

"We would only wish to meet Eugenii Vladimirovitch!" It was the person we knew as "Maxim in the torn coat."

A hoarse murmur was heard, and the door, which had no handle was pushed open.

The air inside, which hit the officers, instinctively brought their hands to their noses.

The darkness inside made it difficult to immediately make out the room's contours. Only when they removed the rags that covered the little window could they see an old woman standing between a couple of benches on which were tossed some torn clothes. The fresh air that streamed in through the little window made it possible for the visitors to present their concerns.

Eugenii Vladiinirovitch’s mother, who in her youth was a doctor’s assistant at one of Petrograd's largest hospital, had after a ‘fall’ slipped deeper and deeper, until she ended up here in "Vasjas village", the shipwrecked souls’ kingdom. And the little dark-eyed, black-haired boy had to bear the curse of the mother’s sins - a passionate, horrible fire burned in his veins. The older he became, the wilder it burned, until he too, had become a poor wreck. Now, he supported himself with newspaper selling.

It was spring. The River Neva had just freed itself from the winter shackles, and ice floes from Lake Ladoga appeared here and there to slide forward slowly, like white ghosts in the dim glow of the streetlights. At a loading dock, where the workers have already drifted away, stood the man in the red sweater and the torn frock. He had made a decision - but an
internal power prevented him and led him instead to our meeting at Gavanskaja ulitza (street).

I saw him for the first time. Dressed in a ragged coat, under which shone forth a fiery red sweater here and there he resembled with, his black lightning lit eyes, a criminal rather than an honest man. I gazed at him for a long time - I do not know if it was the exterior drew my attention or if it was the strange look in his eyes. None-the-less, there was something that caused me to think about him all the way home.

It was SA recruit and soldier enrollment Sunday in Russia. I worked at one of our childrens homes, and which is why I was not in a position to closely follow the various events in the corps.

Great was my surprise, therefore, when I saw among those dedicated and enrolled was the "man in the fiery red sweater and torn coat."

He became a recruit. He is now a member of the Salvation Army and one of the most ardent sales agents of the Vjestnik Spasenija.

A chapter from; Return to Russia with Flags Unfurled: Sven Ljungholm with Kathie (Ljungholm) Bearcroft - Will be released late summer 2016


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

From Ten Years in Russia Part One of Three

From Ten Years in Russia; 1913-1923
Karl Larsson 
Translation: SEL

In order that the reader fully appreciate the atmosphere that surrounded us during those immortal days, I will make a selection up from the testimonies to which we were able to listen.

A young military man, who came to the Mercy Seat during one of the Easter meetings, said in his testimony, among other things the following:
"I was once sentenced to death, but through an officer's intervention my sentence was abridged into ten years' hard work. I've been at the front, and it is fully appropriate, that I'm here. Since I arrived in Petrograd, I have sought out old acquaintances, gone from place to place, but have not been received anywhere. My heart was deeply distraught. But then I saw The Salvation Army procession on Nevsky Prospect, and I followed them and came here. Here I’ve found people who love me, and here I have found Jesus Christ."

He had hardly had time to finish until he became embraced and kissed by several Salvationists and friends in a genuine brotherly manner.

A student in military uniform said:
"Ten years ago I was the reverse. I used to visit the Christian student gatherings. We did not see The Salvation Army as appropriate for Russia, because we felt that our people needed something for inner man and therefore had to use this organization's external forms.

I read philosophical books and was led step by step away from God. During the Good Friday services, I became interested in the Army and have since visited all the meetings. Easter Monday I felt very unhappy, but still went home without coming to a decision. at home, I received a visit by a brother in Christ, we prayed together and I found God again. "

A third witness:

"I have gone in the reverse direction. Because I wanted to live a healthy life, I decided to become a nurse. Everything went well for a few years. But recently, the world has had an increasing influence on me. I began to visit worldly places of entertainment and my Christianity waned. None of my Christian leaders knew this. During the meeting in the Alexander Hall God spoke to me. I wanted to go to the Mercy Seat, but was held back by the thought of what my Christian friends would say. In the end however, I gained courage and went forward. Now I’ve got my old peace back.

Yet another testimony, a letter that shows how a simple middle-aged workers perceive the question:

"I have," he said, " during these days come to the Mercy Seat three times. God has brought me through. Before I went to this meeting, I wrote a letter to my elderly mother and my sister, and I wish now to read this letter.

‘My dear sister, I have subscribed to a newspaper for you, I know you love to read with faith and love. It is a magazine for the world, one that I believe Christ values. and you will certainly evaluate this newspaper even higher, now that you know that I have decided to join with the Salvation Army to there with the strength I have serve Christ.

This letter will reach you before the newspaper arrives. Then wait for Vjestnik Spasenija, the name of the newspaper.

I ask you, dear sister, that you take a minute off from the world of work and care, and read Vjestnik Spasenija, and then you will be saved. Once again, I ask you to read its contents carefully. Farewell!’ “
This letter had a postscript, which read:
On Easter Day morning I was enrolled in The Salvation Army. I have been to the Mercy Seat and asked that almighty God might guide my thoughts and actions rightly on the path of truth, so that I may able to love all living things, yes, the whole world.

I also know that Jesus Christ has not forgotten me and that he will help me in The Salvation Army.
I ask that you too, dear sister, pray to the crucified Christ that he may lead you and your thoughts on the path of truth and fill us with love for God and all living things!

Write to me about your situation and if any of you are in need, and I will help you as far as my ability goes. But write only if you are in real trouble, because if you deceive me, you’ll put your soul into debt by preventing me from helping others who are in real need. When you receive the newspaper and get to know our Army, you may also wish to join us. Write me, I will let you know how to go about it. It would please me very much. In the next letter I will write more.

 Farewell! Your brother Pavel

Part One of Three
A chapter from; Return to Russia with Flags Unfurled: Sven Ljungholm with Kathie (Ljungholm) Bearcroft - Will be released late summer 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mary's toes!


My poor feet

It happened because of Paul O'Grady, and the BBC programme ‘The Sally Army and Me’.

I had almost finished the Monday morning foot care at our SA in Winton, when a man arrived in great need, he said ‘ You're Mary aren’t you ?’ before I could answer he said ‘I saw you on the TV with Paul O’Grady and I remembered you did feet on the meal-run’. I nodded, he then went on to say he had been having long term treatment for Bi-Polar illness that was spoiling his life. Then he asked if I could do his feet.

This was not a ‘normal’ foot care appointment, because this dear man had not had his feet treated for 4 years! He told me he had both his knees ‘replaced’ and a hip too, so he couldn’t bend to reach his feet, he hasn’t worn socks for years (can’t reach to put them on or take them off) but he was sure I could get his shoes off for him! As he tried to ease himself into the chair, I almost lost the plot. He was a sad sight, but once I had his feet in some warm soapy water, I could start to treat his sore feet.
Can you imagine how he must have felt having to endure toenails that had not been cut for 4 years? He started to tell me his story, how he had been homeless, and how our SA had helped him, and now we were helping him again. He talked about POG and his love for dogs, and for his genuine concern for less fortunate folk. He said ‘Oh I am glad I saw that programme, I wouldn’t have thought of coming here for ‘me feet’! He has had such a sad life, but after an hour and a bit, I finished doing his feet, and helped him to get his shoes on. As he got up, he kept thanking me, and kept saying God Bless Ya, and then (I knew it would happen) he gave me a big ‘hug’.
Actually I am glad he saw the programme too, because I was able to help him and he will never forget that – and neither will I. I will be seeing him again in 6 weeks, he has promised to come regularly to have his feet done, now that is a result.
As he went on his way, he said I’m going to ask ‘em to give you a promotion, me feet feel real good now.
Mary

Ps I was so pleased to be in the right place at the right time, (as well as having a lovely fresh air spray in the foot care room)

April 22

A lovely evening at the Hilton Hotel Southampton with Glenda and her family. Presented with a cheque for our meal-run, so kind !

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Big is a Miracle - CONCLUSION

TWO  CONCLUSIONS? 

This story can lead us to two conclusions. The first conclusion is that this man, like other people who have been born blind and subsequently gained their sight, did NOT have a properly developed visual system and so could not make visual sense of his world even when he gained his sight. After all, if he had been blind for 15 or 30 (or more years), his visual system would not have had the opportunity to develop because he did not have any visual experience. If this is the case, we may have a situation of someone who ended up being dissatisfied with his miracle. After all, what good is a miracle (gaining sight) if it makes your world more confusing and disorienting? This also suggests the possibility of an incomplete miracle – is it possible that Jesus healed the man’s eyes but did not give him the ability to understand what his eyes saw? Most people find this conclusion to be an unsatisfactory one.
          The alternative conclusion is that when the man gained his sight, he did have a properly developed visual system and so could make use of the visual information his newly “opened” eyes gave him. And this is where we get a better picture of the nature and size of this miracle. In order for the man to make sense of what he saw, his visual system would have had to be completely rewired – the tens of millions of nerve cells that constitute his visual system would have to be organized and arranged so that they could process the visual information he received.
          So we get a sense of the nature of the true miracle – instead of the miracle we assume (“Oh, Jesus fixed the man’s eyes.”), the deeper, grander miracle is that the man’s brain had to be reorganized and rewired, and it is this process which allowed him to see – to understand what his new sense was telling him. We get a glimpse of this process of rewiring elsewhere in the Gospels, when we consider the healing of a blind man at Bethsaida.
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25).
One implication of this scripture is that the miracle here was a process. Jesus laid his hands on the man and the man’s sight was partially restored (and his brain was partially rewired to make sense of this information). The man was able to see but experienced some confusion – people looked like walking trees. Jesus laid his hands on the man again, and the man then “saw everything clearly.” There was more than the restoration of sight; the hidden work of laying a (neural) foundation for the man to see was also completed.
          Let me end with two thoughts. First, let us be aware of the danger of focusing on everything surrounding a miracle (everyone’s reactions) and not recognizing the majesty and greatness of the miracle itself. In the case of the man born blind, taking the miracle for granted, especially if we focus on the surface layer, can detract from our appreciation of the size and power of the entire miracle and of the subtlety of much of God’s work. Second, let us keep mind that when God does a miracle, in addition to the surface layer of the miracle that we recognize, the foundational and surrounding elements, which we may not see or think about, are part of the miracle as well. Indeed, sometimes God’s greatest work is not what we see, but is what occurs behind the scenes.

Steven Hayduk
Former Officer

Canada

Monday, April 18, 2016

How Big is a Miracle: The real miracle of the man born blind


How Big is a Miracle:  The real miracle of the man born blind (John 9:1 ff)?



The Gospel of John, chapter 9, contains the story of the Jesus healing a man born blind. In this scripture passage, Jesus heals the man, who testifies about his healing to his neighbors and eventually to the Pharisees. These encounters lead to more conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. This story contains a number of elements on which individuals have written and preached, including the notion that sin led to the man’s blindness at birth (and Jesus’ efforts to counter that falsehood), the identification of Jesus as a man of God (and not a “sinner’), and the contrast between physical blindness and spiritual blindness. In this article, I want to address a different issue - one that has rarely, if ever, been addressed.  In particular, readers and expositors of scripture often gloss over the healing itself and focus on the consequences for the man, his family, Jesus, and the Pharisees. I intend to highlight the real nature of the miracle involved in healing a man born blind.

As a psychologist, my areas of expertise include developmental psychology and cognitive psychology. Developmental psychology focuses on the course of human development from conception to death. Cognitive psychology focuses on how “thinking” works – the processes by which we sense (e.g., see or hear) things, how we understand and remember what we sense, and use that information to make decisions and act in the world around us. As part of my teaching on these topics, I describe what we know about the visual system and its development, and describe how blindness at birth alters this development.

The process of “seeing” an object or person starts with light being reflected from the object onto our retinas (which are located at the back of our eyes – if you wear contacts or glasses, these are intended to make the reflected light fall more precisely on our retinas). This information travels through pathways from the retinas to the very back of the brain (i.e., the occipital cortex), which is the area of the brain that processes visual information. People who have received brain damage to the back of the head (e.g., a soldier who receives shrapnel damage to the back of the head) may become blind, not because their eyes are damaged, but because the area of the brain that interprets visual information is damaged or destroyed (this is called “cortical blindness”).
          
Our ability to visually make sense of the world around us is the product of genetics and experience. Our genetic makeup and resulting biological development establishes the basic structure of the visual system. Our subsequent visual experience (i.e., all the things that we look at as infants and young children) fine-tunes the basic structures to allow us to make sense of the information that we receive from our eyes. A 6 month old baby has the ability to see because he or she has a genetically produced visual system. The 6 month old learns the difference between “mama” and “papa” through visual experience – looking at and interacting with, for example, the faces of mama and papa. There is considerable evidence from studies of animals and humans that visual experience during the early years of life is absolutely critical for making sure that the brain is wired appropriately for interpreting visual information.
          
Research with animals shows us that when animals do not receive necessary visual information during the earliest part of their lives, their ability to perceive and make sense of the world around them is adversely affected. For example, Nobel Prize winning neurophysiologists David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel artificially closed the eyelids of one eye of newborn kittens, so that the one eye would not receive visual information. Kittens who had this experience were effectively deprived of sight in the one eye for about 6 months until the eyelids were “opened.” It was discovered that these kittens had lost the ability to use the one eye to see the world around them. Examination of the visual system showed that it had developed abnormally – information from the closed eye was very limited and not effectively used by the visual system. Similar research with other animals (e.g., monkeys) produces similar effects. Monkeys with loss of vision in their early development (e.g., the first few months of development) do not develop the ability to distinguish between simple objects (e.g., a circle vs. a square) or to “see” the world around them. 

TO LEARN MORE
          
Infrequently, there have been cases of humans who have been born blind (e.g., are born with cataracts). Some of these individuals, especially over the last century, have received surgery (e.g., to remove the cataracts), giving them the ability to see. Unfortunately, a common pattern emerges from these rare cases. Once the person has gained the ability to see, it is very difficult for them to understand what they are seeing. If they have not had the early visual experiences that are necessary for visual development, it turns out that their visual system is not properly organized or wired to allow them to understand the new visual information they are receiving from their eyes. In many of these cases, the individuals may be somewhat dissatisfied with their situation and prefer to close their eyes (i.e., to be blind) because what they see is confusing and disorienting. They may prefer to use their old, familiar ways of interacting with the world (i.e., by touch or sound) rather than use a new and confusing sensory ability. For an example of a man in this situation, I direct you to the case study of Virgil, in “To see and not see” by Oliver Sacks in his book “An Anthropologist on Mars” or in the New Yorker magazine (May 10, 1993).

This background brings us to the case in John 9 – the man born blind. This story can lead us to two conclusions. The first conclusion is that this man, like other people who have been born blind and subsequently gained their sight, did NOT have a properly developed visual system and so could not make visual sense of his world even when he gained his sight. After all, if he had been blind for 15 or 30 (or more years), his visual system would not have had the opportunity to develop because he did not have any visual experience. If this is the case, we may have a situation of someone who ended up being dissatisfied with his miracle. After all, what good is a miracle (gaining sight) if it makes your world more confusing and disorienting? This also suggests the possibility of an incomplete miracle – is it possible that Jesus healed the man’s eyes but did not give him the ability to understand what his eyes saw? Most people find this conclusion to be an unsatisfactory one. 

END PART ONE

Steven Hayduk
Former Officer

Canada