It's easy to be passive in our thoughts. We're bombarded with so many concepts and opinions everyday that we have learned to tune them out - smile and nod and ignore the message - or assimilate it subconsciously. I do it regularly.
But every once in a while, I recognize a trend: a series of unrelated sources all presenting me with the same questions to ponder. And that's when I take notice. That's when I think intentionally...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

"Education is not the filling of a pail,
        but the lighting of a fire."
                            - William Butler Yeats

Monday, 2 May 2011

Just How I See It

Art has value because it consists of more than just the scene or the subject.  It is about the interpretation of the artist - the points they value emphasized in striking beauty and contrasted against the backdrop of mundane, everyday sights.  Every feature is planned; every line, a piece of their unique signature.  Whereas the scene itself can be seen through a lit window, the artist is like darkened glass.  They filter our view through themselves, so that we not only see what is beyond, but in it, the reflection of ourselves.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Four Rules And a Suggestion

Everyone has talents.  And everyone has the experience of discovering talents that they didn’t know they had.  Some time ago, I discovered one such talent: the ability to win a limbo contest.  Because the concept of flexibility is one that relates to so many areas of life, I thought that I should elaborate on my philosophy concerning limbo, to aid those who are having difficulty bending over backwards. 

Rule number one is, don’t look back.  Think of it like ripping off a band-aid.  It’s easier to just bend back and take a run at it.  Procrastination never works out in the end anyways.  Besides, when you just go for it, you don’t need to hold that awkward position forever, contemplating when you’re halfway under if you’ll be able to get up again.  Don’t wonder if you can, just do it.

Rule number two…have posture, and don’t picture yourself on the floor.  Don’t associate those who bend over backward with those who have “doormat syndrome”, and you’ll be fine.  You get what you expect – have some confidence in yourself and expect to win.

The third rule is not to pay attention to the stars – or other ocular floaters.  More than likely, by the time you’ve been under the bar a number of times, you’ll know what I mean.  While some people might enjoy the surreal, light-headed feeling and the little sparkles floating through the edge of their vision, some of us have not developed the appreciation for such moments.  For myself, I find it helpful to ignore such experiences and remind myself that pain is only temporary; first place in a limbo contest will last until people forget.  And that usually takes a couple of days. 

Rule number four is fairly simple: let your competition go first.  That way, they set the bar, so to speak.  If they make it, you know it can be done; if they don’t, you know you just have to make it once more than they did.  It makes it a little easier if you set short-term, goals – especially when you think your goals are unrealistic.    

And finally, the suggestion: have a friend lined up in advance to massage the kinks out of your poor back.  Oh, and it might be a good idea to refrain from participating in another limbo competition for a couple of weeks.       

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Lion Chasers

2 Samuel 23:20 (NIV) - "Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valient fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits.  He struck down Moab's two mightiest warriors.  He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion."

This is one of those verses that I tended to skip over...

But when I picked up Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, he described this scene in breathtaking cinematic quality.  Needless to say, I read it differently now.  His rendition inspired me to apply it to my own life; one natural connection, for me, was to the power of media in our culture.   

In the last few years I have heard various opinions on the nature of media – and have been warned of its evils and pitfalls.  About a year ago, I heard it suggested that, as Christians, we should boycott anything produced by Hollywood.  This opinion took me off guard.  But as I began to delve into what bothered me about the statement, I began to recognize my worldview.   
I will never deny the powerful influence of media on our culture; this is not an attempt to dismiss it.  And I am not condoning the endless surge of morally substandard entertainment spewing forth in all its ‘glory’... 

On the contrary, I believe it is time for the Church to begin taking ground. 

Denial will not wrench culture from the altar of entertainment.  As Mark Batterson states in his book, “We need to stop criticizing culture and start creating it.  (The Apostle) Paul didn’t boycott the Aeropagus.  He didn’t stand outside with a picket sign: “Athenian Idolaters Are Going to Hell in a Hand Basket.”  Paul wasn’t playing to lose.  Paul was playing to win, so he went toe-to-toe with some of the greatest philosophical minds in the ancient world.  Paul competed for the truth on their turf.  Instead of complaining about the current state of affairs, we need to offer better alternatives…In the words of Michelangelo, we need to criticize by creating.”

The opinion that “Christian entertainment” is unable to compete with the secular, Hollywood version has prevailed for too long.  There are countless artists in this world with incredible talents – but the giftings of those who have tapped into their potential in Christ should be even more amazing!  The media could be completely revolutionized by an infiltration of Christian authors, songwriters and artists operating in the anointing of their God-given destiny.  But, that will only happen as long as the Church steps onto the battlefield with the intention to win.  No revolution achieved victory with the strategy “just don’t lose”. 

And yes, I suppose that attacking mainstream entertainment head-on is somewhat extreme.  Perhaps that is why I like Benaiah’s story.  He was an incredible example of a man who lived with a valiant conviction.  Benaiah did not run away from the lions he faced… he was a lion-chaser!  His gut reaction, when he was faced with what most people would call an impossible situation, reveals the heart that every Christian should have. 

Are you chasing your lion?