"Madagascar" or "bad at NASCAR," which one?
What an odd Sunday. Missed morning service today. Stayed up late reading, and then didn't wake up until well after I should have in order to get to church on time. Since Eldest Daughter is sick, the rest of the Wagner Women decided to stay home with her in the morning, which meant I had to wake myself up if I wanted to go to church. Didn't happen. No alarm clock by the couch.
I did go in the evening, and I'm glad I did. It was a great sermon.
WARNING:I'm going to get religious for a while and discuss the sermon. If religious talk bothers/bores you, by all means, scroll WAAAAAYY down to the Funny Picture.
I come back to this theme occasionally, I know, but I can't help it. It sure strikes me as the solution to just about every problem, conundrum, confusion and quagmire. And it's a simple concept to grasp... yet deviously difficult to implement. I have some theories on why it's so difficult; let's see how brief I can be.
Concept: Learning to hear the King now, and doing what He suggests now - every time there is a "now" - will solve every problem and concern you have - and is the point of salvation to begin with.
Seems such a no brainer. Yet it's crazy hard to implement.
Theory 1: Such an importance is placed upon making your own way in life that the idea of letting someone else direct your decisions is offensive on the deepest levels. Yes, saying "God knows best" is trite and cliche, but really, ponder it for a minute. We make our decisions each day, small and great, in an effort to try and be happy, to enjoy life, to feel alive and fulfilled and accomplished. We try and we fail, mostly, since we're really just stumbling in the dark, with that carrot of possible happiness dangling out in front of us each day. So, what is the stronger motivator: an occasional, fleeting happiness and the feeling that you did it your own self, or following the advice of someone else, with continued, renewing joy and fulfillment?
OK, you have a decision to make... let's say you write each option on an index card and spread all the index cards out in front of you on a table to ponder the options before you decide what to do. You'd likely decide based on a combination of past experience in similar matters, common sense, educated guesses and wishful thinking. You shrug your shoulders, pick the option you feel will yield the results you want, and go for it, with mixed results. We do this each day, without really realizing it, and it's held out as a virtue.
What if you invited Another over to the table, to contemplate options with you? What if He put His finger on a card and said, "Do this one." Maybe He explained why, maybe He didn't. Maybe He even chose an index card He brought with Him, that you weren't even contemplating. In any case, He makes His recommendation clear. Armed with that info, you now need to decide if you'll take the recommendation or not. If you do, and it's a rampaging success, then next time you have a decision, you'll be a little more likely to invite Him back into the deliberations, and a little more likely to choose His recommendation. And it will repeat and increase, until you are consulting Him for every decision, great and small.
So again, what's the endgame? Happiness, joy and a feeling of living and overcoming? Or trying to divine the answers your own self? Does it matter where the right answer came from, as long as it leads to what you wanted in the first place? Every day, we make decisions, some of which we agonize over.
John 10:27: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Psalm 16:11: You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Theory 2: It's a type of suicide, in a way. We all have a long list of things we like and dislike, interests and hobbies, passions and prejudices, positives and negatives... instead of parsing and sifting through them, trying to divide the sinful from the not-so-sinful, and trying to decide what to do at any given time, analyzing it to see if it's ok with scripture and/or our conscience... to set it all aside and say, "King, what is it you would have me do right now?" is a death. You are taking *you* and you are setting *you* aside, good and bad, and offering to do what Another wants. You are volunteering to hang yourself on the cross next to the King. It's like suicide.
Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We have a survival mechanism written into our DNA that kicks in whenever things get hairy. A thread to our person arises, we instinctively fight or flee, to save our life. Perfectly natural. You could say serving the King (as I am describing) is a threat to our person, to who and what we are. So our natural response is to fight it or flee. It's far easier to embrace a gospel that says all you need to do is believe the right things, make a confession with your mouth, and then rejoice that your eternity in Happyland is secure. That makes no demands. Serving the King makes total demands - and the rewards are total.
Theory 3: It's not required of every saved person to pursue this sort of "right now" relationship, it's the highest of callings, and is placed on a relative few. I won't elaborate on this one at this time, because it's just a gut feeling for the most part, and also, this is way longer than I had intended it to be already, and to dive deeper into the Kingdom concepts at this time would likely just confuse things further.
Theory #4: It's scary. What if He tells me something to do that I don't want to do? What if He tells me to do something mortifying, or uncomfortable, or painful, or boring? What if I tell Him I'll do anything He wants, and then He tells me something I don't want to hear? The fear of what we might hear is a great derailer. Add to that the subconscious awareness that it's better to not know what He wants than it is to know it and not do it... ignorance is one thing, direct disobedience is another. It's sort of a multi-faceted fear, and it survives with such strength because we have little or no experience in the practice. Once we try it and see that His way is *always* the best way, and we see that He is *always* faithful, and it *always* works out even better than we hope, that fear will die the death it deserves, and we can live, live, live. Overcoming the fear and trying it out that very first time is the main obstacle.
Bottom line, if what we're after is obtainable through a total, up-to-the-second deferral to Another, is that too big a price to pay? If it costs you everything to obtain everything, is that too big a price to pay? If what you can gain is infinitely greater than you can possibly imagine, is there too great a price to pay to obtain it?
OK, enough religion. Let's get to that Funny Picture now...
Played a goodly amount of World of Goo today, which is a terrific puzzle game. I highly recommend it, if you'd like a fun, beautiful and quirky diversion. Also made a dent in the Point Lookout expansion pack for Fallout 3 over the past few days as well. It's nice to have a new region to explore.
As for reading material, I'm still clinging to The Talisman, hoping it improves more. It's picking up a bit since I last mentioned it, but not as much as I'd hoped. At this point, I may as well just stick it out, unless it really tanks.
Speaking of decision making, I'll get a chance to practice what I preach this week, as I have a couple really difficult decisions to make regarding some stuff. I feel a bit awkward talking about it ahead of time; I'll mention it after the fact if the opportunity presents itself.
Before I pull the plug, I did find some more cool blogs & websites last night while surfing. Here's one of them. It's a site called There, I Fixed It, and it showcases the often amusing and borderline dangerous handyman projects we do. Definitely function before fashion... I'm sure we all know one (or more) of these do-it-yourselfers that think they're MacGuyver, but are really more like Mr. Magoo...
Clicking the image will take you to the site. It's a fun site to browse.
In any case, I think that's it for me. I hope your holiday is a great one. Eat a grilled burger for me, eh? And I'll eat one for you. Until tomorrow, here's to the sunny slopes of long ago.