As I consider progress, I see it is mainly internal. Our own individual practices are the Key to moving forward. Here is a specific example. It has to do with Deliverance. I shall unpack it. It begins with being able to stop and think something through on the spot. It results in an action, a practice. It takes a problem and turns it into a celebration.

The problem is evil, which is nothing but a fair indication of what serious harm actually is. The harm that we can avoid, we should avoid.

Jesus dealt with evil in very few words

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gives us twelve lines that are the key to all progress, Toward the end of the prayer, he says “deliver us from evil.” In the grammar of these simple words is the key to the avoidance of life-threatening events.

“Deliver” means heed warnings. It means to take care. It means avoid predictable disaster “Us” means everyone. “Evil” means hurt and harm. Most truly helpful statements require very few words. Charles Sanders Peirce reminded us that we act on the basis of what he called "memorial maxims," things that stick in our minds.

Close to home

Today I got up early and heated up some coffee. I turned the nob to high. Thoughtlessly laying my hand on that burner would be a disaster. I wondered how I might allay this recurrent premonition. So, I paused and thought.

I realized such thinking could make me a bit stronger. It could teach me something, even enable good action. It might be something worth passing on.

So I went through some words in my head, ending with, “freedom, love, justice, non-idolatry.”

'Non-idolatry' cues guidance

The word “non-idolatry” for me evokes Moses at the burning bush. If we want guidance, we need to clear the idols away.

Sure enough what comes to me is unbidden but obvious. The answer to my problem is deliverance.

If in the face of danger, I can make deliverance an inner mantra. My mind will be delivered from a sense of danger and inevitable worry to a sense of celebration. I may be, by this grace, delivered from the consequence I feared.

So as this morning habit continues, I could be a bit safer in an environment where most injury actually takes place.


This seems like a small enough thing. I will see how it plays out. My inference is that psychologically we often do operate with preconceptions of disaster. If our acts and expressions work to neutralize the threat, well and good. We are possibly delivered.

But if we remain mired in the sense of inevitable doom, we will be unsatisfied until events have proved us correct.