Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Who am I?

Do you ever feel like you live life as an actor, going through the day as if on stage an needing to perform for those around you? Why is that? What is it about other people that makes us feel like we have to live up to some unknown standard which really doesn't even exist? We say we don't care what anybody says or thinks about us but inside we know that's a lie. We live in a culture that tells us in a million different ways that we have to look a certain way or act like this guy if we want to fit in, but we know that's not really us. So what do we do? Put on a great show, of course, because we all know the show must go on.

So why is it so hard to just be ourselves, the good and the bad? I believe the reasons are many but would argue that it is perpetuated by a vicious cycle. Initially, I believe we all have a desperate longing to be loved and accepted. It is our desire to be loved that gets this ball rolling and when that desire is rejected, or even perceived to be, it takes an ugly turn. When we present our "true" self to someone and are not accepted we are left hurt and wondering what went wrong. If it is perceived that they are rejecting us, we would assume that in order to gain acceptance we would have to change. Once this change occurs we will be accepted and will have achieved our goal. However, we are still left unfulfilled, why? When trying to gain this acceptance we are giving up part of who we really are. The person who is accepted is not really who we truly are. The desire still remains for true acceptance and the cycle continues as we keep trying to adapt our personalities and likes to fit in better or be valued more.

Here's the problem, we're chasing our tails. We're going after the wrong thing and we can't even see it because we are so intent about catching that darn tail. Now here's the truth, in this case less is truly so much more. Millions of people cheering your name because they think your swell is not going to fulfill you, but there is One who will. The love of Christ is the only thing in this world that can give you what you're chasing after. The irony is that it's chasing after you but you're too busy putting on the show to see the real masterpiece. If only we could just give up the act and lay all our cards on the table. The truth will set you free and the truth is that Christ is so completely in love with you. His raging love is unstoppable. He knows what the real you is like with all your faults as well as the gifts which he gave you. The love and acceptance that he gives is not conditioned on what we do but only on what He's done. That is why His love is perfect and completely fulfilling, because we don't have to do anything. We can give up the act and rest easy in his love and grace.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Please read

So here is my second foray into the blogosphere. I'm still not totally used to this but that's ok right? I went to the library last week to find some books to read while we are home this week. While I was there I decided to give myself a little challenge, throw down the gauntlet if you will. The challenge I came up with was to attempt to read 50 books by the end of August. That's roughly 3 months, which turns out to be about 3 books a week. I haven't specified what types of books or how long just 50.The main reason I've challenged myself is because I won't do it if i don't. I do love to read and I already read quite a bit, but I think with a little extra motivation I can read a lot more and who knows maybe even learn something. A little eductation never hurts right? Another possible perk to all this is that it just might actually make me turn the stupid TV off.

So I've already jumped head first into my challenge, eager to impress myself, and finished my first book. Though I must admit, it wasn't exactly a work of scholarship or anything, but it was fun to read and perhaps a good kickstart. It was a book titled The Last Days by Joel C. Rosenberg. This book was a sequel to a book called The Last Jihad, which I read last summer. I really enjoyed that one so I was interested in reading this one too. Now I know what you may be thinking, Dave your not really the type of guy who likes to read those hyped up eschatology books which spell out the doom and gloom of the world. You're right I'm not, in fact I pretty much refuse to read the Left Behind series. It just feels too much like bad propaganda for bad theology to me rather than a well written story with Christian themes. This book is different though, Rosenberg does a good job of writing an intense action packed story with great detail. He is also able to very subtly slip in the gospel message by making it plausible in the story. He isn't being overt and trying to hit the reader over the head in a blunt way about the gospel or speaking in "chritianese". Instead he has been very creative and tactful. He has written an interesting story that engages the reader even if they have no faith because it is a story anyone can relate to. Then he very subtly works the gospel into the story in a creative and believable way that makes sense to the reader.

I haven't read too many books that can do this without being in your face and over the top. I think that is a flaw in too many Christian fiction writers, they want to write the gospel in there so bad but they completely give up all creativity to do it. The result of this is another cheesy story with unbelievable characters and in implausible situations. God calls us to be excellent in all we do and this most certainly includes the arts and writing. We need writers who will use the creative minds that God has gifted them with and write inspiring stories that are relevant and original. We need to be setting the standard for excellence in writing as Christians, not mimicking pop culture. So I applaud Mr. Rosenberg on a job well done and hope to see more Christian authors doing the same soon.

My next book to read will be on a more educational level and non fiction. I will fill you in when I finish it, which should be soon. 49 more books to go and counting. You're welcome to join me in this endeavor as well. I throw out the same challenge to you. If you choose not to accept it than maybe at least you will read this blog and perhaps a book or 2 when you can. Until next time happy reading.

p.s. Joel Rosenberg has a very informative blog on events happening in the middle east and around the world, so check it out here Joels blog.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I surrender!

Ok so i give up. I'm finaly writing a blog. I've fought this for quite a while because honestly i thought a blog may be a waste of my time, and maybe it will be, but i figure it can't hurt and i certainly don't want to be the last guy to do one. I know that doesn't sound like the most noble reason to start a blog but it is the most honest one i have right now. So what can you expect from this blog and what the heck is Fika? Well let me answer the second question first as it directly relates to the other. I was in Sweden last summer with the band i work for (downhere) and i was introduced to a great tradition they have called Fika (pronounced fee ka). Even the swedes had a difficult time fully explaining what it was but basically it is having a light snack such as coffee and biscuits but the key ingredient is good conversation. So what i hope to present on this blog are some good conversation points which in turn others can respond to if they feel so inclined. I'll also be writing about the many experiences i have daily while either on the road with the band or at home or any number of places. Hopefully the posts here will inspire more good Fika. I think we've lost that a lot in the american culture. It's too easy to stay at home and watch tv than to go and have a cup of coffee and just talk with our friends or even heaven forbid a stranger. I think good conversations with others is quite healthy and can lead to a greater impact on society and culture when we can encourage each other and challenge each other on different ideas. This is how growth happens, iron sharpens iron. So here's to many more posts and hopefully something on here will be somewhat stimulating and interesting. I guess if nothing else my parents will get a kick out of it so that's not all bad right? Ok so until next time enjoy some good fika.