Sunday, May 29, 2011

WHAT DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE?

Looking back on my childhood I fondly remember the sequence of questions that began with why the chicken crossed the road and the resulting depictions of how different world views would answer that question. I recollect how we would mock those whose belief was counter to our own and then create the scenarios that would justify why we thought man acted in a certain way in different parts of the world. Having now seen the world that I imagined and having had the opportunity to interact with a variety of people-groups and their opinions, my questions have changed, I no longer seem to wonder about what others believe and the "why" behind their beliefs-I now seem to wrestle more with what I believe and why I believe it.

A recent trip back to the sandy shoreline of my youth and the conversations had with friends who still ask questions, yielded similar questions of belief. One of my friends asked me if my choice in a different worldview was because of geography? Another volunteered an answer and revealead that in his opinon my choices were because of matrimony. Still another quirked that he was sure that I was subscribing to my theories because of enlightenment and so the evening progressed in a myriad of opinions about my belief. Is belief so difficult that one becomes comfortable with the abstract and allows himself to be swayed by what is popular? Is tradition so strong in the ties that bind that challenging the belief of status-quo is a social taboo and a line not worthy of drawing? Does the geneaology of our lives and the adoration of its inhabitants cause more of a definition about what to belief that the truth? These are the questions that now occupy my mind alongwith the revelation that it would be easier to know more about the innocence of the chicken and the road than the deep thought which reflects on the nature of man.

This week ask yourself what you believe. Are you capabale of asking questions about the meaning of your existence through the lens of your origin and your destiny? Can you sustain the truth revealed in your self-talk when it pertains to issues of purpose, reason, morality and cause? Would you rather skip this challenge and return to the belief that what you don't know will not hurt you? Whatever your choice, it is belief that makes the choice and belief that shapes a life. A wise man once said that fear and faith have the same definition in that they are both based on the un-knowable and the un-quantifiable. I would add that faith and a belief in an absolute conquers the fear of the abstract. The bottom line is, we should not be afraid to believe and maybe ocassionally cross the road like the chicken to see if the other side looks better when looking back.

"We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own,yet we settle down in the most un-stranger like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don't wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has." Amy Carmichael

Saturday, May 14, 2011

ADVICE TO THE ADVISORS

The temperature hovered around 115 degrees for the short but eventful trip to India. The kids that had come with great expectations to the youth camp were eager eyed and ready to soak in information ranging from building bridges to entrepreneurship. The resource leaders seemed equipped and the worship leaders seemed ordained. The heat of the tropical sun coupled with the humidity on the shores of the Bay of Bengal seemed to lose their edge when counteracted with the passion stirring in the souls of the youth of India.  Here I had come as an advisor to a bastion of possibility a short distance from where I had grown up on the same coastline. But the young girl who wanted to know if some of her decisions would always be held against her changed all that. Her smile was more radiant than a thousand stars and the glint in her eyes showed a promise that was yet to be revealed.

She ministered to me on a couple of occasions using simple verbiage and an abundance of innocence. She had the wonder that Dr. Ravi Zacharias says we all lose as we transcend into adulthood. She had a glow that seemed to radiate amidst the chaos and cacophony of a society trying to cling to its past heritage while swallowing every vestige of capitalism that makes it through the layers of disappointment. How much life had she already seen amidst the maze of confusion and the images of a distorted reality that come with every rising sun? Was there going to be any hope in the words shaped with a reality that seemed to have been crafted in relative comfort half a world away? Her answers seemed to indicate that in time and space both the teacher and the student would leave rejuvenated.

Many others validated the journey this past week as they responded to my queries of doubt and guilt. The young boy from India thanked me for coming and the lady from our Church in Texas, insisted that I keep on going. A friend and encourager asked me to take a deep look inside and a spiritual leader cautioned me to include everyone on the ride. A teacher of my youth shed tears as she wanted her student to not hurt and my bride asked me to forsake all doubt for the journey was just beginning. Dr. Adrian Rogers says that if we all have a purpose to pursue, there is a person to prepare and a price to pay. Dr. John Maxwell suggests that we can pay now and play later or play now and pay later. My advise is that you cannot be someone else but with God and your inner circle you can become the “best you.”  That’s my advice, to all of you advisors whom I take very seriously.