Works for Me

Posted in to be categorized on November 2nd, 2006 by skip

I recently read a column in the Faith section of the newspaper. The column is new and targeted at twenty-somethings. The paper’s goal is probably to attract the Internet Generation that doesn’t read the paper. I find the column an interesting source of how people think about God. Here is a quote from that recent column written by a twenty-one year old woman.

…how I approach religion. I gather as much information as possible and use it to formulate something that works for me.

In one way or another we all do this, we decide how big we want our God to be. I would like to be able to speak with this young woman a year or five years from now. If she truly does “gather as much information as possible” and find out what is working for her now.

When do we know enough? At what point do we decide – my box is big enough.

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Foreign Language

Posted in to be categorized on August 24th, 2006 by skip

I use the English language, even though those in Great Britain or elsewhere may argue that I abuse the English language. So from my perspective someone that uses a language like Spanish, Greek, Swahili, etc… is using a foreign language. In most instances we have word meanings that are the same, but use different words for that meaning. As a result we don’t communicate well. Everything other than the most simple thoughts is lost between us.

Those French people have a different word for everything – Steve Martin

In this situation you expect the communication to be difficult. You extend more courtesy. You assume them to be intelligent, they are just using different words. You seek something, anything, in common upon which you can build.

Then you encounter someone that is using words that are familiar and comfortable for you. You believe you understand what they are saying. It becomes foreign, however, when you begin to realize what they are communicating. You can’t understand why someone would believe what they are saying to you. You can’t imagine that someone would use the words which you are familiar in this way. They have hooked words together to convey a thought that is foreign to you.

If this someone is just a chance encounter we can discount them and move on. We tell ourselves there is no reason why what they believe should affect me. This situation is different when this someone is a friend, family member, or an associate. Particularly when we know this someone well, or we thought we did before they started speaking this foreign language.

What do you do when you encounter someone that speaks a “foreign” language?

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“Thinking Outside the Box” – Not

Posted in to be categorized on July 20th, 2006 by skip

A friend was looking for my blog and found this post from another author. I would have commented back to this author, but it does not appear that he is actively blogging any longer. So my comments are below this excerpt from that post.

Impossible Journeys: Inside a Bigger Box

“Think outside the box.” The phrase has been so overused … The concept behind the phrase seems to have merit: We normally think in certain patterns, but to be creative we need to think in diverse, chaotic patterns. True.

However, this antiquated phrase is still inaccurate. Thinking “outside the box” is literally and figuratively impossible. Here’s why:

An individual’s thought process is a magnificent blend of beliefs, rules, experiences and intuition that shape ideas and each person’s personal reality. -more-

Overall I am in agreement with the thoughts in the post, at least as far as he takes it. I would like to take this further toward my experiences and what is behind the title of my blog.

“Thinking outside the box” is something that we choose to do, or at least try to do. We come to some level of realization that something needs to change or we need to try a new approach toward a problem, opportunity, life, etc… I understand what the phrase is trying to convey, but, whatever we do it is actually based upon our box. Our box is what we are, there is no outside of our box. Those that want to improve themselves, want to learn more, be more, may over time expand their box but it is still their box.

I’m talking about when something that is truly outside your box breaks through, how do you deal with it? You can either safely tuck it into a corner of your box and make it a part of you or you can close the lid and keep it out.

When that something is God, that is when “you’re gonna need a bigger box”. We can deceive ourselves into thinking we can limit God or fit him into a corner of our box. God will respect that choice and let you keep him out. However, if you will keep the lid open you will find that God cannot and will not fit into your box. The sides of your box will burst open, which is not always bad. You may find that you loose some things that didn’t need to be in your box in the first place. The good news, God will supply a bigger box, and when that one is no longer big enough, a bigger one yet.

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It Does Not Matter

Posted in to be categorized on July 6th, 2006 by skip

I just found and read Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore. This post lists 10 items to support what the title implies. I found this to be a great post because it supports what I had already decided.

Isn’t that the way it always is. We look for support for the decisions we have already made (or want to make) and we avoid those things that don’t support our decisions. In fact we usually go out of our way to “burn that bridge” to distance ourselves from those things don’t support us. This bridge burning is done, once again I say usually, in some derogatory way when people are the source of this non-support. This way we can not only avoid those people which do not support us, we can make sure that they don’t even get close. This tactic then assures us that we won’t have to give them any consideration now or at any future time.

Since we are busy people and don’t have time to think through everything that may threaten our decisions we have come to rely upon labeling. I guess the 2.0 way to say this would be tagging. You know those labels: liberal, right-wing, those-kind-of-people, religious, smart, dumb, etc… This way with one word or short phrase we can discount people and ideas without a lot of thought.

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Character Development

Posted in to be categorized on July 1st, 2006 by skip

In movies, books, and TV series a great deal of time is spent in developing the characters. So that you can care about what the character cares about you need to be able to relate to them. Though it is usually necessary to do this it is also usually the more boring part of the story. So we are going to move right through those boring parts and let the character of this blog develop on its own over time.

I read the Bible. Wanted to get that right out front so you don’t think I have a hidden agenda or I am trying to sneak up on you with “religion”. As stated in the previous post I was not a reader, so reading the Bible, forget about it.

I grew up with Bible stories and I would attend church services where excerpts were read from the Bible, and that was enough Bible for me. I thought I knew enough, or at least all I needed to know. I said the same things that others say:

  • “the Bible is confusing”
  • “the Bible is just stories” (implying that they are fictional stories)
  • “the Bible contradicts itself”
  • “that was great for then this is now”

There are other similar type statements, you may even have your own.

But then things changed in my life. I began a journey that went from believing that the Bible was people’s ideas about God, to the Bible is about God, to the Bible contained the word of God, to the Bible is the word of God.

Said that so that I can say this, part of the focus here is allowing God a larger place in our lives. That starts very simply as stated in the Bible, in the book of Romans:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Rom 12:1 NKJV

But I think for our purposes, I like how this is stated from another translation of the Bible:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Rom 12:1 MSG

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