Thursday, February 17, 2011

what's it going to take?

For years I have skirted the same issue, always choosing to avoid it to some degree. I have had deep conversations about it with friends but never logged a single thought like this, but maybe now is the time.

I have written about conditions similar, such as Americanism and selfishness but it just doesn’t seem like I have given this topic enough thought, mainly in written form. The issue at hand is the singularity of self. It is so much more than just pride, or arrogance, or ego; it is at the heart of every human regardless of life experience. Each one of us experiences it on some level and has to deal with it, but defining it is probably the most difficult for me…so here goes.

You and I travel each day through life. Each day we go about our daily routines and work hard to get through…to the next day. I don’t mean to make it sound so depressing, but going back and reading about the ruts we get into makes me realize that those same ruts are more than just chosen paths; they are comfortable and keep us from moving outside them. Our routines are truly extensions of who we are deep inside. If you could truly see deep within yourself to your soul you might ask yourself why you don’t do more.

Beyond my faith there is something called humanity. Outside the lines of what I believe in are people just like me who are just trying to make do, just trying to scratch out a living and just trying to get by. There are hundreds of thousands of people who share thoughts with me, think similar to how I do and manage through desires with the same struggles that I face. I don’t seek to bring mediocrity to the sorrows of many, I understand and can relate to many of them, but who are we kidding here? Do we really think that in our worst conditions we are somehow the only ones that suffer? And when we are standing on the mountain top, do we really think there is only room for us? I’m not sure you would like the answer if you could look deep inside.

It has become apparent to me, just by watching men and women interact with each other, that we are wired to be in concert with one another but societal influences pull us apart. With that said, we must work tirelessly in order to fight the ego. I can hear you, your reply to that is telling me that it’s not that easy. My reply is telling you that you are right, but that won’t stop me from trying. There has to be more than just skating through this life consumed with what I want. At what point do we stop living for ourselves and truly begin living for someone else?

It’s more than being a spouse or a parent. It’s more than being a neighbor or a friend. It’s more than everything you’re doing right now. It is the challenge of a lifetime and it can not be viewed as some singular event that can be tackled next Tuesday.

You and I must embark this very moment on an epic journey which will take us to the ends of the earth and beyond. You and I must learn to see past the outer shell of each others humanity, past the flaws, past the mistakes, past the scars, past everything to the very core within all of us.

We must seek to understand each other at the deepest level and then move to the next closest person to us and seek to do the exact same thing. For all of us, this must continue exponentially without end, for without a deep understanding of each other, we will never know peace.

And without peace, we will continue fighting.

We will continue hating…



Is that really what you want?

I know I don’t. I know there’s something better and I know that together we can find it and experience it. But it’s going to take some work.

It’s going to take some encouragement…

Some positivity…

Some building up.

It’s going to take some love…maybe a lot of it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Insightfulness (incite-fullness)

In examining an event where a woman had her head stepped on in what appeared to be a politically motivated moment, it is with insight that we will look at inciting violence. It is with great concern that we talk about this as we move forward. Accepting this type of behavior is tantamount to anarchy by mob rule. It is one thing to agree that we are all animals at some basic level, but to act like less than human intentionally is malicious and deprives all of us of our humanity.

Is that where we are anymore in relation to each other? We understand that we have differences and we also know that we will disagree from time to time. Some people will disagree just for the purpose of disagreeing. Others disagree not on topic or subject or content but due to a very willful dislike for another person or set of persons. When disagreements reach this level, rationale is thrown out the window for position and not for substance.

This basic competition among people is well rehearsed and documented. We compete against each other at every level of life with the goal of being first, or at the very least, finishing ahead of those we know or know of, and especially ahead of those we dislike. This is not an American phenomenon, although we emphasize it, but a global one. This competition amongst each other is at the heart of everything we do and is inherent in every piece of marketing, every social application, every business and every personal agenda.

As we compete against each other for victory, we become less and less interested in the welfare of others. When this happens, we care more about protecting our interests and agendas first, regardless of consequences and outcomes. I have watched countless people in the media and politics alike discount whole lives for short sided gain. There are no sides to this behavior; it is seen across all spectrums and ideologies. People are discounted or disposed of wholly for having a contrasting view.

The ultimate result is that many people consider competition as a life or death scenario. When cast in this light, it is easy to understand. Survival of the fittest comes to mind, as does eat or be eaten. The concept is that you must eliminate those whom you compete with lest they rise up and defeat you the next time you meet. It is much easier to accept this concept because we can see a very tangible outcome of having less competition the next time; just eradicate everyone that does not agree with you and the world will be a better place.

You can make the leap yourselves without me having to say it. The elevation is an easy one to follow. How long will it be until we melt down into simple beasts, bent on nothing more than destroying each other? All wars are started this way. All conflicts are the result of this same kind of competition and they all lead to the same eventual conclusion; there are no winners in this game. There is no insightfulness, only incite-fullness.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Toby Mac says, “Tonight's the night, for the sinner and the saint. Two worlds collide…”

We collude as sinners and we do so as saints, but mixed? We're called to share the good news of Jesus while also called to be like Him. To that end, we are called to be salt and light, but too often we live as seasoning amongst like minded people. Why? I hope to answer that.

Do you like BBQ? I do and I love seasoning every thing I cook. I especially like this one particular kind of spice mix because it is so varied and diverse, while being very effective in regards to flavor. I've tried other mixes but I've grown accustomed to this one. Similarly, a lot of my friends are partial to spices they have found or concocted. This always reminds me of the uniqueness of humans and how truly diverse we all are.

We all have seasonings and spices we use and like, regardless of the foods we add them to. The diversity of flavors is not unlike the diversity in each of us. Obviously there are significant differences from person to person and we also have been told that opposites attract, but commonly we choose friends based on like characteristics, not opposing ones. We also choose friends based on attraction of certain characteristics, such as humor or physical beauty or athleticism.

Your friends are very much an attribute of your own styles, likes and dislikes, desires, moods and even your steak seasoning! Sounds crazy right? But we commonly surround ourselves with individuals who think, act and even eat like us because it fits what we want. When confronted with someone that does not think or act like we do, we commonly avoid that person due to our comfort zone. If the difference is glaring we not only avoid but permanently shun, without considering any possible ground. We might even speak ill so as to place a verbal wall between us and them.

The danger of trying a new seasoning is apparent. We take a huge risk that the food being prepared will taste horrible and then what? The meal is wasted. Who wants that? The same is true with regards to reaching out to those people around us that have obvious differences in view or lifestyle from our own. We even avoid getting to know certain people better for fear of discovering some glaring characteristic that would cause us to be uncomfortable.

The real fear is rejection, just as we would reject food that did not taste good we also reject people for not being appealing to us. In the same way, we are also rejected because we do not measure up to certain expectations that are set by others. Does it bother you to know that almost daily you are being rejected by someone because of who you are? Do you ever wonder why? Was it something you said or did?

Knowing that you are going to be rejected makes it all the easier to reject others, often for the exact same reasons. This repetitive nature of rejection is as old as mankind and will exist forever unless we make a conscious effort to change it. Seeing beyond our differences to find commonalities is essential, but it will only happen when we recognize that our way of “seasoning” things is what works for us and does not work for everyone.

Trying something new will always be risky but the rewards far outweigh those risks. The opportunity to connect with another soul is what makes us pine for connectivity. Even the most introverted person desires for a connection with another, it is our nature to be in concert with each other.

I have discovered that while things like oil and water do not mix, both of them get used in a motor. One cools and the other lubricates. They may not mix and yet they are in concert with one another in order to make the motor run properly.

Does this mean we should mix garlic and sugar? Maybe we should just consider the possibility. Or maybe we should look for ways to work together instead of rejecting each other instantly because of our differences.