Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Bird A Nest, the Spider A Web, Man Friendship.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."
                                         - C. S. Lewis

Loyalty. Such a rare character trait in people. For some reason, I have the notion in my head that in time past, it was not so uncommon. But people have always been people, and while certain ideals may have been held in more distinct regard, the core of human nature has not changed. Love of self is predominant in humanity as a whole. And that particular quality tends to outweigh all other facets of daily living. Especially in friendship.

To find a friend - and I mean "friend" in the truest sense of the idea, not merely an acquaintance - is not an easy task. There are plenty of individuals with whom I would consider myself friendly, but only a handful I would actually call friend. The concept of friendship is one that I hold in very high esteem. And I do not believe too high. It is something sacred and something to be cherished greatly. However, far too many people seem to overlook this truth. Instead of friendship being revered, it has been shockingly cheapened by becoming a simple social option, something to be cast by the wayside at the slightest whim or distraction. In my experience, to most people, friendship is the lowest form of human interaction, to be superseded whenever it becomes inconvenient. Whatever is shiniest attracts (or distracts) the attention, and I see that in so many people. Sadly, friendship becomes the safety net of other social ventures, kept around as the backup plan.
Naturally, it makes sense to conclude that those who hold such flaky opinions of friendship, whether consciously or not, should be kept at a distance. It saddens me deeply that this must be the case. But it is my own naivety that has allowed for this disillusionment in people. Why would someone not choose to invest in something so wholesome as friendship? Why must people live so desperately for themselves? A good friend is a rare thing. Not all we meet or grow to know should be considered such.
I do thank those who have been true friends to me and those who have sincerely tried. As Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Healthy Smattering of Fear.

19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor[b] to this day.

                                                                                                    - Joshua 7:19-26 (NKJV)

Fear of God. A topic adressed far too infrequently. Something I personally have an inclination to shelve when I consider God. I find it much more comforting to cherish the loving and caring much more than the fear and respect. However, it is only a fool who ignores the unflinching righteousness of God. As a man, with the nature of man, I am not, nor will I ever be, acceptable in God's sight without the righteousness of Christ. But that cloak of purity that God's son has draped over my shoulders does not grant me immunity to wrath of the Almighty. And it is often the quiet, hidden sins that grieve our God the most. The ones that no one may know about. The cancerous infidelities that we harbor in our souls and in our minds, aware of, yet making little effort to remedy or eradicate.

As I consider Achan, a man among God's chosen people, I am shaken by the reaction such an innocent indiscretion provoked. A secret treasure stolen from the heathen hidden safely under his tent. The consequences were catastrophic. Let us not as believers be deluded into thinking that we may keep vestiges of our former lives hidden beneath the veils of our outward lives. The eyes that looked upon Achan, that look upon a bleeding, dying messiah, look upon you and me as well.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Change Junkies and the generation thereof

The weight of the future looms as a thunderhead on the horizon. It carries with it the smell of change, adaptation, and, most unsettling of all, uncertainty. I pass the days, progressing toward but never quite reaching that vaporous tomorrow. And the wake of spent days that stretches out behind me serves only as a contrast to the unknown that is held by the coming minutes, days and hours.

I have observed a prominent characteristic among those of my generation - specifically those in their twenties: a desperate longing for change. Personally, I find it very difficult to be content with the routine, with day-to-day living in a post-college life. I crave something new, whether it be a new experience or a new face or a new location. The unknown holds so much mystery, and to a degree, excitement. But when, especially after college, fresh graduates settle into the "real world," it can be a very disheartening discovery to realize that the nine-to-five grind is the culmination of their youthful hopes and dreams. And so, in attempt to artificially stimulate some sort of new experience, these people rush around recklessly spending money, diving into relationships, or hopping from job to job. I see this behavior in those among whom I associate, but most prominently in myself. And it baffles me to see my parents or my friends' parents who have worked a single job for years or lived in the same town for years. Honestly, it scares me to think that my life may not be a rollercoaster of new experiences. Not that there is anything shameful or wrong with being steadfast and consistent in life. I believe it is both an honorable and noble characteristic. Nonetheless, it's hard for me to get my head around.

From what source does this addiction to change spring? Fingers can be pointed in many different directions, but for sake of space, let me address one that only recently came to my attention. College. Perhaps the most dynamic and volatile environment most people will ever experience, and one to which those with even a limited amount of experience can relate. From the very first day, a prospective student will arrive on campus, surrounded by a completely new environment peopled by an ocean of others who are sharing the same experience, and for the most part, the same age. Each hour a student's day changes with each new class he or she attends, with the magical prospect of the upcoming Thanksgiving and winter breaks, followed by a brand new semester with new faces and new classes and new challenges followed by spring break and summer break. And that cycle of changes continues for years until the conditioned student stumbles outside the collegiate gates, degree in hand, only to realize suddenly that the world changes much more slowly in real life. You don't get to change your office location every hour. You don't get to enjoy new set of challenges with new bosses and new co-workers every hour. Very few jobs allow as much vacation as school conditioned you to expect. And very few jobs have the same social pool as you probably had in school.

Transitioning into post-college life can be difficult. Rearranging one's mindset from 17 years of social overdrive is often very disillusioning. Even two years out of college, I still struggle with boring nights at home and quiet weekends with the same three or four faces. But who knows what the future holds? Who knows what surprise might be lurking in the minutes not yet passed? The hope of change, the mystery of what might be must become the focus. Otherwise, what may be the doldrums of now will pass far less pleasantly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I now lend my musings to the overcrowded, overvoiced "radio waves" of our internet-enamored generation. In complete honesty, I do not feel that what I have to contribute as an emerging blogger is anything groundbreaking. It's not going to be profound, although I would prefer to flatter myself into thinking that occasionally it may wander that direction. I simply intend for it to be a collection of musings, thoughts that so often evaporate unexpressed from my mind. Perhaps it is simply that writer's vanity of assuming people want to read what I have to say that has prompted me to start this. Regardless, I have now joined the ever-swelling ocean of voices.

And so, to the wandering, anonymous eyes of the internet, I submit my thoughts for your voyeuristic pleasure.

In this, my innaugural blog, I see an excellent opportunity, not solely to justify my participation in this endeavor, but to briefly touch on my understanding of what it is that prompts us as people to wish so desperately to see and be seen. This principle undoubtedly forms the bedrock for the explosive growth of social media. For example, facebook. At first glance, it appears to be a spectacular tool for convenient interaction. It allows individuals to connect with others in a capacity incomprehensible to former generations. But let me also suggest, beyond the initial appearance of it being merely an electronic neighborhood, it feeds a desire much deeper, much more insidious than an innocent craving for attention. It subtly allows us to popularize ourselves, to feed our own ego with the conceit that the world really does want to watch us. To build unto ourselves our own shrines. Certainly, we enjoy browsing through our friends' profiles. But does commenting on a friend's profile provide the same excitement as seeing that someone has posted on ours? Social media is a dangerous enabler to the glorification of self.

Now, please understand, I am not trying to engage in "facebook-bashing." I have a profile. And I use it shamelessly. But I also believe that I am not immune to the very conceit that I mentioned above. I find secret comfort in thinking that people spend all day eagerly wishing to browse my pictures, religiously read my statuses and personal information. It is that same comfort that I, albeit presumably, feel with beginning this blog. The joy of hearing oneself talk. An appetite to which very few can claim immunity.

What then, you may ask, is the summation of this pretentious little diatribe? I have none. But that's not what I was hoping to achieve. All I wish to do is provide collections of thoughts that could possibly inspire the same in those that can muscle through reading them.