…we’re just practicing our balance.

Some of you may know that I do a little photography.  Being a photographer I often carry the ability to write my own hours.  Because of this, my work day is fairly unorthodox.  For the majority of the time I choose to stay at home with my kids and work on anything I can do on the computer – edits, emails, social-networking, marketing, etc.  The draw back is that I’m up late almost every night of the week.  That would explain why I’ve started this blog at 1:30AM.  Truth of the matter is that I don’t mind the late hours for two reasons – 1. I’m a night owl anyway, so working until 2 or 3 AM is okay by me; 2. I love to spend time with my kids during the day.  Mark Driscoll might hate the fact that I’m a stay at home Dad but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My kids are a blast to be around (outside of the moments when they are being terrible) and I regularly find myself laughing hysterically at the things they say.  Not too long ago I was working on photo edits and I heard my son breaking into sporadic bursts of laughter.  It’s the laugh he does when something is really getting him.  Usually this laugh is my warning siren because it usually means my daughter is doing something she probably shouldn’t, such as spitting chocolate milk out onto the floor because she is lying on her back trying to gargle, or the time when she fed goldfish whole coffee beans along with powder creamer.  Luckily this time it wasn’t anything terrible.  I walked around the corner to see every item that was once in the living, piled on the couch and love seat and my 4 year old son, Kye, and our 2 year old daughter, Haygen-Reese, spinning as fast as they could.  They looked like airplane propellers with their arms out wide and their heads set perfectly centered as they spun and spun ever the while trying not to tumble to the ground.

I watched for a little while and laughed along with them.  As the room stopped spinning, my son noticed I was standing, watching, he looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry Dad we’re just practicing our balance.”  I smiled and asked them to be careful before I went back to work.

“…we’re just practicing our balance.”

What an amazing philosophy.  It’s not everyday a 4 year old speaks truth so clearly.

Typically when I’m considering what to blog about or how I’m going to attempt and communicate a certain message I read the words of scholars and great authors with much more wisdom than myself.  What’s funny is the subject I’m reading about has nothing to do with what I blog about.  I’m simply looking for that “House” moment.

I posed a question a few days ago and asked simply what you all thought of the idea of “Creation Care”.  I received several responses, some of which I agree with, others that I don’t.  As I read through the responses and thought of ways to approach a diplomatic answer, nothing came to me.  It was exhausting actually trying to figure out how I would combat this subject with wisdom, love and respect for others.  Then, it hit me – “… we’re just practicing our balance.”

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we need balance.  A person who is so environmentally conservative that all they do is use styrofoam cups and burn rubber tires in their backyard because “it doesn’t matter, Jesus is coming back and I need to tell the world!!!” probably needs a little more care towards the earth.  While on the other hand, the person who is so environmentally liberal that they only use these products and eat this food and make their own clothes probably needs to be a little more balanced on how else they could impact the world around them.

My point being with any of this – we need to practice our balance.

For many people (Christians, Atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, Satanist, etc) we have no balance in our lives.  We have our beliefs, our system and it works, so we stick to it.  Once we find our ‘niche’ we never leave.  What happens is that you will find yourself only watching Fox News and listening to only K-Love because you want to be a conservative christian and those things support you and sustain you.  Receiving sustenance is a great thing.  But receiving sustenance from the same source is not good.  I believe if you always get your news information from CNN you’ll find yourself becoming a certain type of person.  The same goes with where you go to church, what books you read, what music you listen to, and anything else you can digest mentally and spiritually.

If the only perspective you have is a Baptist one, you’ll be a great Baptist, but you could end up being a completely lopsided Christian.   What you put into your body, into your mind, into your spirit helps mold you into what you believe.  Belief constructs the character you have.  Character is what the world sees, because it controls your actions.

If all you are reading are books by atheist authors, chances are, you’ll be a very educated atheist.

If all you listen to is conservative talk radio, you’ll probably be a great Republican.

If you can’t be a Christian and read the works of Neitzsche or Dawkins, then you need to really ask yourself what you are afraid of.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve found truth in the words of Neitzsche.  He once said, “Love is not consolation. It is light.”

What I find far too frequently is Christians saying things to the effect of, “I don’t read anything by any atheist.  They don’t have anything good to say.  They hate God.”   This attitude is baffling.  It’s baffling when I hear wise men and women automatically getting defensive about issues like politics, the death penalty, the environment, immigration, baptism, salvation, the list goes on and on.  We get defensive not because of what we believe but because we don’t want to be wrong.

I say, let’s be willing to be wrong.  Let’s be willing to look within ourselves deep enough and discern whether or not change needs to happen.  But to say, “God doesn’t want me concerned with something like the environment because of “X, Y, and Z” is just ridiculous to me.”  I believe God wants us to be concerned with all that He is concerned with and at this point in time I believe He is concerned for the state of the environment.  For us to lie on the side of complete tree hugger to complete world destroying is foolish and immature. We need to be more balanced than that.  But in order for balance to exist we must be willing to listen to men and women on the opposing side from where we stand.  If we aren’t willing to listen in such a way that we are ready to intake what they are saying and digest, then we will one day be the old crabby people who darken the doors of our churches and sit there bitter and jaded because of all that’s “wrong in the world”.

Perhaps we would see more beauty in the world if we actually saw it from all angles.

If we look at a masterpiece long enough from the same vantage point, eventually it’s just not as remarkable as it once was.

Today, may we take a step back and look around us.

May we search for truth in places we dare not go before.

May our hearts learn to live by our conviction.

Conviction can be one sided as well.  Surround yourself with 100 people who have the same perspective and you’ll hear the same thing 100 times, but surround yourself with people of 100 different perspectives and you’ll learn more about God than you ever dreamt.

Grace and Peace

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