Online from Harris Interactive,
you can view a free newsletter with statistics related to social networking and youth today, not limited to just teenagers. It is a great resource and also very interesting. It is surprising to me how many children are online today. It is a little scary too.
Bike paths and trails can go for miles in length. Even if we know how long the trail is suppose to be, it can seem like a long, never-ending journey. Sometimes life seems like a never-ending journey too but just as trails only go so far, such life also eventually ends.
When I go for runs or bike rides, the hardest parts of the ride is the steep up-hill slopes. Fortunately (just as the old saying goes "everything that goes up must come down") holds true and I find a lot of relief and fun in my exercise journeys when I find it still holds true.
Life has its ups and its downs too. There will highlights and beautiful times in our life, but do not forget about the downs. God uses those times too!
Finally another interesting similarity is in the width. Bike paths and hiking trails are sometimes a foot wide (maybe two feet) or less. Width can be illustrated as our stance on life...how we handle it. If we are handling life too critically and fall off of the path to the right into the weeds and thorns or not caring enough and falling off of the path to the left. Being too liberal and too nice for your own good or being too hard on yourself or too conservative. How we handle life is almost as or more important than making it to the end.
All of us desire comfort and love and stability in all aspects of our life. We need to be social and close to God. Imagine the direct middle of a bike path, it is a comfortable place to be as there is room on both sides of you to be free yet you are loved and you are stable and safe.
God's love for us, his life for us is somewhere in there. He doesn't want us to be larking around the edges and about to fall off. He wants to guide us to His glory and His will. His good, perfect, and pleasing will. The one that is the straight and narrow way. Sidewalks are kind of narrow (compared to its surroundings usually).
Anyways I hope I have left you with some thoughts to think about, some imagination to be added to this post and bounce some more ideas around.
We are bombarded by music, by choice.
One of my professors at OU said that "music improves the quality of our life." I agree...to an extent. It can also destroy us if we are not careful.
We all live noisy lifestyles. And we live in a society of constant noise. If we do not take some time away from the busy, loud world then we are going to drain out of energy. We are slowly killing ourselves.
Are we losing the ability think clearly and properly? Are we drowning out important relationships with people and with God? Think in your life...has there been a time when something important happened but you missed it cause your Ipod was plugged in you ear, grabbing away your attention? Or has someone important in your life tried to tell you something but you could not hear what they were saying because of all the noise?
Instead of having typical, normal everyday interactions with normal everyday people, everyone has headphones one. They are more narcissistic. They are more alone in this world. All they have is their music and themselves. They lose important relationships, communication skills, and the ability to act/react normally.
I am suggesting that first we need to have a time every day with no noise, no screens - just you, God and a Bible. Second I am suggesting that we make time for important relationships in our lives. And third, I am challenging that we use every opportunity God gives us in our lives to listen to the Holy Spirit and glorify God. You never know what kinds of circumstances God will give you if you are willing to obey....they may though require that you turn off your Ipod. (Just a thought!)
Today I am looking at C Michael Patton's Parchment and Pen blog again.
And the topic of on of his recent posts: irenic. (Really the post is about more than the word: irenic. But I am focusing on the word irenic and not throughly looking at Michael's post, because I am intrigued by it.)
[Greek eirēnikos, from eirēnē, peace.]"Michael says "This does not involve compromise, but a willingness to engage issues fairly." He goes on to talk about how we should conduct ourselves online (and off line) when dealing with theological beliefs and issues. Basically how to be assertive and respectful at the same time.
Here is an excerpt from Michael's blog post:
"Here are some of the characteristics to being irenic in theological conversation and controversy:
- You accurately represent all theological positions, even when you strongly oppose them.
- Your tone of engagement comes from a humble respectful attitude.
- Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.
- Your defense of your position recognizes that strengths of the opposing side.
- You are gentle.
Here are two important Scripture references concerning how we are to engage in theological discussion irenically:
2 Timothy 2:24 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” "This is great advise. I agree with what he is saying. I think a lot of it is derived from personal experience, dealing with theology and controversial topics on a regular basis.
Synonyms for Irenic are :
Mollifying - To calm in temper or feeling; soothe, lessen the temper, soothe.
Appeasing - To bring peace, quiet, or calm to; soothe. Satisfy, pacify.
Pacifying - To ease the anger or agitation of. End war, bring peace.
Peace-making - settling disputes.
Assuaging - To make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe. To satisfy, calm.
Conciliatory - Tending to conciliate; pacific; mollifying; propitiating
Soothing - To calm or placate, ease, relieve, bring comfort.
Gentle - considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender. Not harsh or severe.
I think Michael is saying we should be fair and balanced. Show all angles of an argument even if we do not agree, contribute to the understanding, and not being aggressive about our arguments. He is not suggesting that we are too be so gentle and Placate that our arguments are not there at all. We should be assertive enough to make stand our ground on an issue, but we need to do it gently and be fair.
Recently I took my youth group adult and student leaders to Core Training, put on by Youth Specialties. Every year Youth Specialties does an awesome job. I have been there for the past four years. The training was great! We all learned a lot. The title of the day's training was "Generation Change." And this was the first time Core Training invited both student and adult leaders together. It was really cool having student leaders there.
I want to do a few posts on the topics that we learned in the Training. Today's post is about compartmentalization.
Many times in life, we compartmentalize areas of our life. We have our life organized into parts or categories. Imagine a large square cut into equally sized, smaller squares. Each of the small squares represent a different category or section of our life. Many people try to balance each part of life. Compartmentalization is a way of the world.
Instead of following the world, furiously trying to balance all parts of our life, we should have have an eternal perspective. The Christian way is to put God first in all of life. Giving ALL areas to God. NOT holding back areas from God. And NOT having any double standards. Or living double lives.
When we have compartments in our life, we tend to live double lives. One area of life, maybe, we choose not to let God have. We let one of these compartments (or more) be filled with sin, evil, struggles of ugly passions. God does not want us to live that way. We need to remain pure and give God all of our life.
Living a double life is just wrong and sinful. I have convictions about this a lot, but it was a great refreshing topic at CORE. And that is only tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend CORE training. I recently posted about an inconsistency in my own life relating to this topic.