The truth is, you probably are.
In all seriousness– here are the two traps:
1. To forget what it’s like not to know what you know. (i.e. to be unaware of your intelligence)
2. To not know what you don’t know. (i.e. to be unaware of your ignorance)
The former is negligence. The latter is recklessness. Both run the risk of arrogance.
The antidote to the former is attentiveness; for the latter it’s restraint.
Before you push send on your next email, tweet your next tweet, update your Facebook status, Instagram your next photo, Recommend your next Linked In friend, upload your next video, tag your next picture, Foursquare your next location, post your next blog entry, publish your next opinion, text your next ex, flickr your next find, publish your next angry manifesto, dump drivel on someone’s wall, repost your next Tumblr, comment on your next blog post, like the next entry on your Facebook newsfeed, share the next inappropriate youtube video, (and add what I’m missing in the comments). . . . . . REMEMBER THESE 3 WORDS:*
Perhaps the best wisdom for our online lives is this: when in doubt, don’t.
*The idea of destroying anything online is a mythical pipe dream.
/>The life hid with Christ in God is all at once much harder than we realize yet much easier than we might think. It’s easier in this: we don’t have to be a devout “religious” person in order to “get” God to be with us. This is not a duty to be devoted we are after. It is so easy to fall into what I call the “if-then” trap. “If” I study my Bible and pray and fast and devote myself to spiritual disciplines and . . . . “then” I will experience God’s presence, love, power and grace in my life. The corollary also holds true in our thinking. “If” I don’t do all these things properly, “then” I will not experience God’s presence, love, power and grace in my life. This “functional” approach serves quite well to create a “yoke” of slavery. This approach can lead to a legalistic choke-hold as well as charismatic craziness. (see the New Testament Pharisees for the former and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel for the latter. (1 Kings 18 I think).
So how is the life hid with Christ in God harder than we think? I think it is harder because it calls for a totalizing kind of attentiveness and because a life of distractedness comes quite naturally to us. (And I think I’m suggesting that the very things we do to try and cultivate this totalizing attentiveness can all to often become the distraction.)
Back in High School four friends and I went on a whirl wind trip to Europe with one of our teachers. (We never actually saw her again after New York Kennedy Airport, but that’s another story.) I remember our visit to the Louvre, arguably the most famous art gallery in the solar system. For whatever reason, all we cared about was the celebrated “Mona Lisa,” painted by Leonardo da Vinci. We passed up the tour guide and began our search. We ran up and down hallways and through galleries never so much as glancing at any of the priceless art adorning the walls. Finally, we arrived at the treasured shrine. Gasping for breath, we beheld the picture in the way only a 15 year old can do. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but Mona didn’t actually provide the kind of ecstatic experience we must have imagined she would.
Despite our underwhelm-ment, I think this quest gets at what the life hid with Christ in God looks like. It’s all at once the journey of relentless pursuit and intermittant finding that inspires more pursuit. It is strenuous but not tiring, disciplined but not dutiful. It’s running past every other shiny prize in the quest to find the only thing worth finding. The pursuit of God is not like the daily chore of taking out the trash. No, it’s ripping open the trash bag and feverishly searching through every piece of discarded waste in pursuit of the lost engagement ring.
And before I mix in another metaphor– I’ll stop. ;0)
Can you relate this Mona Lisa story to your own life?
We’ve got lots of new students and families moving into our community as we prepare to launch a new school year. Last night, while scanning the blog of Stephen Johnson, I came across a post he authored on the move he is making across the country. I found this bit below profound. I thought I would offer it as encouragement to those moving into our community as well as to others moving anywhere else. Johnson writes,
But the other reason for the move, in truth, is that I’ve come to think that this kind of change is intrinsically good in itself, wherever you happen to move. An old friend who did a similar westward migration a few years ago told me that the great thing about moving is that the changed context helps you understand yourself and your family more deeply: you get to see all the things that you really loved about your old home—and the things that always bothered you without you fully recognizing it. Like a good control study in a science experiment, the contrast allows you to see what really matters. Changing the background scenery helps you see the foreground more clearly.
And then there’s the passage of time. Another old friend — my oldest, in fact — wrote an email to me after I told him the news of our move. We’ve both been in New York for two decades, and we are both watching our kids growing up at lightning speed. “Change like this slows down time,” he wrote. When you’re in your routine, frequenting the same old haunts, time seems to accelerate — was it just four years ago that our youngest son was born? But all the complexities of moving — figuring out where to live, getting there, and then navigating all the new realities of the changed environment — means that the minutes and hours that once passed as a kind of background process, the rote memory of knowing your place, suddenly are thrust into your conscious awareness. You have to figure it out, and figuring things out makes you aware of the passing days and months more acutely. You get disoriented, or at least you have to think for a while before you can be properly oriented again.
I once wrote a country song called, ”Leaving is the only way Home.” This piece reminded me of it. Something about moving takes us to a new place in more ways than one. So be encouraged. Despite all the hardship and toil and insecurity of moving to a new place, it really is taking you to a new place. ;0)
It was the public enthronement of the Son of God, inaugurating the new reality in which he could do all of the following work:
He lives in perfect union with the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit
He watches the planet for hearts turned toward him
He intercedes for us
He holds the universe together by the power of his Word
He pours out the Spirit on all flesh– giving visions, dreams, gifts and grace
He authors and authorizes all prophecy– hence the need to especially desire the gift of prophecy. ;0)
He absorbs all our anxiety and exchanges it for his Peace– he guards our hearts and minds
He encourages the saints
He provides the target of our fixed gaze
He abides in us
He bears fruit through us
He hides us in the shadow of his wings– in the Temple of the Almighty
He completes our joy
He pours out special favor on those who are suffering for the sake of his righteousness.
He is making all things new
He rules as the sovereign king of the creation and the cosmos.
He awaits the order from the Father to return and consummate the New Creation
And he’s only getting started.
Always remind me,
To increase our love for God we must deepen our love for Jesus.
To deepen our love for Jesus we must increase our love for words.
To increase our love for words we must deepen our love for poetry.
To deepen our love for poetry we must increase our love for symbol.
To increase our love for symbol we must deepen our love for the invisible.
To deepen our love for the invisible we must increase our love for the Spirit.
To increase our love for the Spirit we must deepen our love for God.
WHAT IS THE GIFT OF PROPHECY?
like a womb that
hovers over every spoken person
pregnant with words
not to be spoken into existence
spoken from the Future
unleashed into Arabic or English
catalyzing the instant
where uranium goes nuclear
or maybe prophecy is like
the cloud and fiery pillar of presence
longing for some person to hear
the silent language of “in heaven,”
searching for one who would declare “on earth”
the shape of its wilderness path.
one who can feel the texture of mystery
Prophecy will employ an angel
but wants to trust a human
whom shall I send– who will go for me
not received like a transistor radio with antannae
can’t be delivered via 62” flat panel Samsung
no phone smart enough to catch it
Prophecy posts a job description
with one non-negotiable requirement
not a feeling
but love with legs that run, arms that reach
who for the joy set before them
yield only to
nails, wells, and tombs.
Last week, while we slept, a crisis of life and death proportions erupted 220 miles above the Earth on the International Space Station. A piece of debris, aka “space-junk” was on a direct course to crash into the station. It was detected too late for the station to navigate out of the way. The result of a collision would be a violent decompression of the spacecraft and instant death for the astronauts. The astronauts prepared for an emergency exit.
The piece of debris was a mere six inches in length. It travelled at a velocity of 5 miles per second. Thats 18,000 miles per hour (do the math). At this speed, a collision meant catastrophe. Fortunately the debris changed course and missed the station by about 3 miles.
NASA constantly tracks more than 12,500 pieces of “space-junk” orbiting Earth. Estimates claim there are up to 370,000 pieces altogether.
The whole thing got me thinking about the “space-junk” that orbits our inner lives. We might call it “soul-junk.” The debris of the past can seem so small yet move at speeds capable of wrecking a life on impact. More often we live in the anxiety that it’s still there, orbiting the inner space of our soul, sabotaging our life. This is why making honest confession of sin and receiving complete pardon from God is so important. Apart from this, the debris of the past will constantly rob us of life and never go away. How many of us live in an inner turmoil over past mistakes, ruined relationships and traumatic memories. Even worse, how many of us numb ourselves to their ongoing reality. You violated your high school girlfriend twenty years ago. You got an abortion in response to an unwanted pregnancy. You had an undiscovered affair with another woman years back. You stole from your employer at a former job. Though the years pass, the debris of the past does not. Even the smallest 6 inch scraps.
It’s yet another reason why Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, is such good news. With a word, he banishes the soul junk, sending it from our innermost place through the cross and to the outermost black hole of hell.
All this has me thinking of Tiger Woods, wondering about the chaotic debris orbiting his soul. Without doubt, one of the greatest athletes of our time, a would-be son of a perfect Father in Heaven, living in exile from life.
Britt Hume was right. Tiger, please listen.
Last night I found this drawing David (10) recently made in his moleskine. At first glance, I see a simply drawn map of our home and surrounds. On second look, I ask myself why draw the obvious. Then it hits me. I do it all the time. We all do. We long to be oriented with our reality. Maps do this for us. No matter how big or detailed the map, we all search for the same 3 words, “You are here.” If we can locate ourselves on the map, we can find our way to anywhere and everywhere else. The hard part isn’t so much getting where we want to go. It’s finding out where we actually are.
Once when we lived in Houston, I was working on putting together a very large event. I invited Max Lucado to be the speaker. In short order, I received a handwritten note in return saying this:
“Life is like a book with many chapters and pages. Blessed is the person who knows their chapter and page number. I am presently living in the chapter called family and am simply not taking any outside invitations at this time. Thank you for your kind offer, but I must decline.” -Max
Mr. Lucado knew his coordinates on the map and it oriented his life.
These days with the ubiquity of gps devices we can know our exact position on any map at any time. The trouble is we can still be lost. I wonder if a simple drawing in my moleskine might help.