there’s nothing common about “common” sense…
there does seem to be a particular glory bestowed upon the “rational thinker”. we can certainly pride ourselves in it when, either by delusion, reality or way of compliment, we are attributed with the phrase “rational thinker”. and as such, we perpetuate the idea that there is something superior to the art/skill of rational thinking. however…
how many times you had a great idea just hit you “out of the blue”? anything rational about that experience? and i would hazard to assume that a large percentage of revolutionary ideas are from rational. for example, was creating a mode of transport that defied gravity a rational decision? if anything, in it’s time, flying was not certainly not logical, nor a reasonable idea. and as much as “the world is round” was also not a logical conclusion, based on the knowledge at hand at the time. until, with time, it became a rational idea. and therein too, lies the rub. what is not rational today, may be rational tomorrow and vice-versa thereby betraying the fickle nature of reason and logic.
i don’t think rational thought is the be all and end all, and not even close to being one of the more superior thought processes available to man. in fact, sometimes rational thought is precisely what holds us back and curbs our potential. nay, rational thought is but one of many “tools” we can use at the right time to a ‘better’ end. but let’s not neglect, nor relegate it’s cousins, inspired thought and gut feeling, to second class citizenship 😉
now that’s to not say that if you pride yourself on being a rational thinker, you’re somewhat missing the point. in that case, your skill is more advanced than others in the domain of reason. but if you want to explore the untapped potential of what you can achieve, tap a little more creatively into the inspired side of your life… not with reckless abandon, but with a little less inhibition and get ready to be surprised 😉
it’s that time of year where we have opportunity to celebrate just two radical gifts that God chose to give the world: the law and the Spirit. in this day, back in history, these two gifts significantly changed, and continue to shape the world we live in.
now if you’ve got a culture of Judaism, you’ll understand the meaning of Shavuot quite well.. if you’ve got more of a Christian upbringing, chances are, …well, let’s just say that it will mean different things depending on where you experienced that culture.
anyhow, so not to confuse Pentecost with Shavuot too much, there is a useful link, celebrating the giving of the torah i came across which helps explain (at least for me) some of the more biblical traditions. And yes, there are some non-scriptural traditions too. but i’m referring mostly to understanding transmitted in those pages which help shed light on origin, without the fluff of post-modern christian-oriented humanism.
the persepctive is refreshing and worth considering, even if the only thing it does is get you to open your bible and mediate upon His Word 😉
Oh, and if you think living by the Ten Commandments is old-fashioned, i bet you’d be surprised by just how many you probably agree are valuable principles for a peaceful society.
Anyhow, but let’s not forget that although “rules is rules”, without a heartfelt understanding of the Spirit of the law, the letter remains unattainable and horribly binding. But by Spirit, the application is liberating! 😀 That’s Part Deux to Pentecost, this day in history…
“And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place.
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a
mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire;
and it sat upon each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with
other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
i think we can largely agree that having purpose adds dimension. wether it be a general purpose in life, purpose at work [studies] or purpose in a community, just understanding that purpose adds a sense of satisfaction otherwise unattainable. indeed, we can identify with a lack of purpose contributing to a general state of anxiety. it’s when we understand that we lack purpose we seek to fill that gap. sometimes though, we replace purpose with goal.
the two words are interchangeable. having a purpose or goal can mean the same thing. indeed, most definitions would indicate that they are exactly the same thing. i think not.
it is entirely possible to have purpose, without any real specific goal. maybe it’s just the semantics of what i’m saying and using the word “purpose” immediately loses the point i just made 🙂 but if i define goals as definite outcomes, i can define purpose as a more generalized manifestation. for example: a purpose in life would be to do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. whereasÂ a goal could be to ensure you phone your best friends living abroad at least once a month. here, purpose is more principle-based, where a goal is a result of that purpose. so, with that in mind…
when we sense a lack of purpose in our lives [and it’s uncanny just how able we are to detect that], the temptation to fill that gap with a goal, rather than a purpose is great. the problem is, even if you attain that goal, you never recognise the purpose behind it and the gap will still linger. It’s not that different with the “God gap”.
When recognising this gap in our fabric, we respond with setting up goals. on a religious front, the goals would be: attend church, join a biblestudy, be more “good”. something definitive we can measure. and temporarily, that seems to satisfy the gap. and although those might beÂ good goals, if they never mature into purpose, the goalÂ drops off the radar or is replaced by other goals. the direction it takes is very dependant on the perceived success from the last goal.
now because we are a very goal-orientated society [largely speaking], we tend to focus on the goals without paying too much attention to the purpose. of course, if we use the word goal and purpose interchangeably, we can bluff ourselves into believing that our goals are actually our purposes. we can believe that retirement is a goal, and hence a purpose. cars, houses, boats, labels, anything-material is a goal. and we can subtley think therefore it’s a purpose. and we all have to follow our prupose in life, right?
so even there, the distinction between purpose and goal is quite clear. just sometimes we like to confuse them [for some odd reason] but at the same time we can distinguish between the two. the tricky bit is to recognise which of your pursuits are goals, and which are purposes. which goals support a purpose and which goals are substitutes for purposes. of course, we’re entirely free to live with the consequences of any choice we make. my encouragement would be to examine purpose, understand that and live inside of that boundary. and a life with Jesus does make all that soooo much easier- but that’s just my testimony 😉
something i read somewhere, not so long ago, went along the lines of: “…every man is immortal until they die.” It got me thinking about how we generally tend to regard ourselves as invincible. then not so long after that, i came across this piece of graffiti: “…if you really believed that you were going to die, would you change the way you live?” it seems the writers of these two pieces confirm the common perception that we live life “as if”.
We live “as if” we got all the time in the world. We live “as if” the single most important thing we could be doing right now is our job. We live “as if” the single most relevant ambition we could have is to secure an easy retirement. We live “as if” we’re going to live forever.
Yet we all know that we, or someone we love, will die, but we don’t really seem to believe that. Or we choose not to. Either way, the choices we make reflect what we believe. And then there’s the “what we’d like to believe”. And we lament over our inability to live a life based on what we would like to believe, disarming ourselves with a battery of excuses and justifications about the ways of society and the lack of choices we are presented with. No one said anything about it being a free ride, so if you believe that, well, you’ll live according to that.
Truth is, we are all but one breath away from losing this life. We are starkly reminded by the death of a cousin. And while we evaluate our own lives and confirm our commitments to live like every day is a gift from God Almighty, we strive to manifest that insight, applying it to every decision we make.