I Before E Except After C

My parents were both school teachers. They tried to teach me to read and write well. Mostly they did this through a good example. Furthermore I went on in my education through college and seminary.

I wrote papers in the old days before computers. I don’t know how many term papers I churned out through the years. But I remember making as many of them about Kierkegaard as possible. I did this because I was fascinated by his life and his teaching. I was not as bad as a certain Professor who wrote the book “Christian Anarchy” among other things. I did not name my first child “either” and my second child “or”. 

But despite my education, I still frequently misspell words, and misspeak.

The rule goes, “i before e except after c” The word receive is an example. Perhaps this was difficult for me because my own name Heilman, is an exception. Thank God for spell check today!

There is another interpretation of “I” and “E”. This is to suggest that some people are “I over E” or intellect over emotion. And others are “E over I” or emotion over intellect.

Bowen family systems, Buddhism, and Stoicism highly value the rational intellectual side of being human. Artists, Romantics, and Patriots, value the emotional part of being human.

Ideally we should be rational when rationality is called for, and emotional when that is helpful. We should be balanced.

What does that have to do with Jesus and world religions?

There is another playful way to look at “I” and “E”, It would go, “I before E except after C.” Only here the “C” would be Christ.

The Idea is that the rational contemplation and imitation of the life of Christ, are subordinate to the passionate experience of the living Christ.

For example John Wesley was a hard core systematic Christian. He was a strict student and disciplined disciple of Jesus Christ. But what he really needed, he experienced after a Moravian meeting. God warmed his heart. And that made all the difference.

Without Wesley’s Alders gate experience, I suppose John would have soldiered on within the English religious bureaucracy. But the fire broke his bonds and a new thing was born.

“I before E, except after C”.

The order of the universe for a Christian like me is that God was in Christ. Christ changed my heart. And now I try to understand and explain it.

It is not mostly that I tried to understand life, changed my heart, found Jesus, and met God. Although it was a bit of that.

John the apostle wrote. We love because God first loved us.

Are we Christians alone in believing this?

Is this true for you?

More later…

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