I was going to stay silent for a time and just listen, but I recently ‘heard’ this image and had to say something. Take a good look at the guy in the middle of the circle. He doesn’t belong. In fact, he’s not just standing there, he’s protesting with his arms folded making sure everyone around him knows that he’s chosen to be an un-belonger. Un-belonging isn’t easy and I’m guessing this guy came to a bad end. Ironically, his bad end was a good end, however, for his solitary protest proved to be on the right side of truth and goodness. In a world of political, cultural and religious correctness, we may need more un-belongers like him. We need people with the courage to fold their arms in a sea of true believers to say, ‘wait a minute, something’s wrong here.’ I’m wondering how often any of us have had the courage to make the conscious decision to un-belong to an ideology, a dogma, a political perspective or a cultural consensus that had an aroma of stink around it. Truth and goodness need more of us to belong with this guy in the middle of circles like his. When conscience calls, may more of us choose the way of Un-belonging.
Tag Archives: C. D. Baker
Most of us live our lives in a quest for some kind of wholeness. So we bumble along trying to chase down ‘success,’ status, experiences or stuff; We may seek a ‘higher plane of consciousness,’ more rational understanding, a better theological system. Whatever the category, our quest usually ends up being about the kind of ‘more’ that’s never enough.
The good news that either nobody’s bothered to tell us or that we’ve rejected is that we can be ALREADY whole because God ALREADY loves us…and how more whole can there be than that?
Accepting his love frees us to live life according to who we ALREADY are. Our lives become no longer a quest FOR wholeness, but an expression OF wholeness. It’s simply a matter of getting the horse in front of the cart.
And now you know the theme of my present manuscript.
Deeper thinkers than myself have explored an entire range of meaning that Tolkien’s hobbits offer. But three simple things about them come to my more primitive mind, things that could change our lives.
1. Walk barefoot. Take off your shoes and socks, then stand in the grass, on a beach, on a rock…on a tree root. CONNECT with the world without the separation of a shoe. We belong to all that is around us…we need to take a moment to FEEL it.
2. Take a deep breath. Really deep. Breathing is necessary for life, of course, but stealing a moment to pause and suck in a deep, lung-stretching, chest-expanding breath is soul-refreshment. Breathing exercises appropriately fill pages of books. It is breathing that settles and centers us, ultimately reminding us of the Creator from whom all breath comes.
3. Look up. I’m guessing most of us spend days without looking up. We look straight ahead, over, and down, but rarely up. Looking up invokes a sense of place. And guess what? The ‘place’ we have is not the center of the universe. Looking up reminds us that there is surely something greater than ourselves.
So let’s find our inner hobbits, take off our shoes, breathe deeply, and look up. Three simple acts to connect us more intentionally to the amazing cosmos of which we are a part.
In our last post I suggested that we all should relax about measuring the significance of our lives because we are butterflies. I meant that as per the ‘Butterfly Effect’ of mathematical Chaos Theory, the seemingly insignificant things we do can have disproportionately HUGE effects. However, I also mentioned a problem with that thinking–a problem I call the ‘Butterfly Trap.’
Let me say first that it’s quite normal to hope to have made a difference. And so the idea that the smallest things we do can mean a lot is an appropriate comfort. However, the trap of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ is that it still feeds our temptation to measure our lives; It contributes to the idea that the difference we make is quantitative–it’s all about some amount of effect, knowable or not. That’s simply not the whole truth.
What we do is important but who we are is of first importance. God most highly values the disposition of a person’s heart. Therefore, we do well to consider our lives in terms of qualities of being more than quantities of doing. To do that we need to pay less attention to measuring our lives and more on testing the patterns of our hearts.
When hard times are upon us have we demonstrated patience, forgiveness, courage, and love? When we are rich with good times, have we been generous, self-less, empathetic, and caring? Are we honest in failure, humble in success? Exactly what qualities of our character has life revealed?
These questions and more are worthy of our reflection. Indeed, God loves all his children, even those of us who don’t ‘test’ so well! But regularly asking Him for a heart inclined like His will change the very nature of our lives…and the world around us. If we can imagine being a reflection of God’s grace, we will have caught a glimpse of all the significance we will ever need.