become who you are

Bloged in apprenticeship, life by rod Thursday May 20, 2010

Our culture for quite some time has told us that we can become anything we want to become. These days, in our product-oriented world, the same concept is expressed by “you can buy anything you want to buy.” Perhaps for some time, these were merely two side-by-side attitudes. But I truly believe that today we’ve melded the two concepts.
Once upon a time, people educated themselves by sitting under the teaching, and being around people who knew what they wanted to know, who understood what they wanted to understand. We gathered knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and set about assimilating it ourselves. These days, we buy a product, a program, a fake transformation at a university, and expect - regardless of what the product is - that upon payment, we will become the result of the product.

You cannot become anything you want to be. There are things that are unavailable to you. You can become what you are supposed to be. But that is going to take a lot of commitment, devotion, hard work, and perseverance. No, you cannot buy commitment, devotion, hard work, and perseverance. Yes, it would be much easier to buy what you can’t become.
Don’t be fooled.
You will not be convinced that you’ve become what you’ve bought. Unconvinced, you’ll be burdened with the extra effort required to pretend like you’re convinced you are what you bought.
You’ll be burdened with the extra effort required to convince others that you’re what you bought.
You’ll be burdened by the extra effort required to deal with the knowledge that neither you, nor anyone else is truly convinced that you are what you bought.

Why would you want all those burdens? Why not simply become what you’re supposed to be? And gird your loins, because it’s a lot of hard work.

discipleship

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Sunday April 8, 2007

who I am is not yet.

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tenebrae

Bloged in apprenticeship, easter by rod Thursday April 5, 2007

For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

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health

Bloged in apprenticeship, worship by rod Wednesday April 4, 2007

Lord, may my heart be strengthened with love, my body with exercise, and my spirit, only with You.

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jesus asked

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Wednesday April 4, 2007

Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘
David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

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comfort food

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Tuesday April 3, 2007

Lord, teach me to feed my body with bread, to feed my emotion with love, and to feed my spirit only with Spirit.

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on consumerism

Bloged in apprenticeship, church, culture by rod Tuesday April 3, 2007

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

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palm sunday and april’s fool

Bloged in apprenticeship, easter by rod Sunday April 1, 2007

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

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bows and arrows

Bloged in apprenticeship, parenting by rod Thursday March 29, 2007

Tuesday, one of my students stopped in to read to me from Khalil Gibran’s, “The Prophet.” He read to me three chapters, “clothing,” “laws,” and “freedom.” He was stunned by the wisdom, and the beauty with which it was expressed. I was too. I’ve heard people talk about The Prophet, but only in reference. I really am quite embarrassed that I don’t have this work memorized. I read most of the book Tuesday evening. Last night I read some to Allison, and told her that it was strange, like listening to music, that before I could go on to the next chapter, I would have to go back and read the current one again. Maybe again.
It is like staring at a beautiful painting.

Recently, my brother and sister-in-law, on whom we’ve been wishing parenthood, though there has never been any indication they wished it for themselves, called to announce the expected ETA of their firstborn. There may have been an article in the London Times. I didn’t actually see it my self.
The announcement that you’re expecting your first child is an outrageously big event. A couple ponders when and how to tell whom. For the life of me, I can’t remember telling my parents when we found out that Jack was on the way. This seems very odd to me, because it is typical that we remember every burp and diaper change for the first, and don’t even have any pictures of their younger siblings. Allison mentioned to Molly that she was disappointed that we had so few pics and video of her as a baby, yet had so many of Jack. Molly said, “oh that’s understandable. When you have your first baby, you don’t know if you’ll ever have any more so you take millions of pictures.” Simple wisdom from the underphotographed bald beauty. We’ve made up for it though. There are more pics of her from the past month than of both boys’ lifetimes combined.
So why would I not remember how I announced Jack’s birth? I do remember Will’s though. I sent a simple email to Mom and Dad with the statement, “children are a reward from the Lord. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full.”
I’ve found out that three arrows pretty much make for a full quiver. But I wouldn’t trade any of them. I used that passage to announce the impending family enlargement because it made me think about how Dad used to tell us he was going to sell us back to the Indians. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full.

I began to think more deeply about the metaphors here when I was reading Tuesday night. Gibran describes me as the bow that shoots that quiver full of arrows:

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I think I could ponder and ramble all day on the thoughts that this brings to mind. I’ve always said that I operate best as a soldier. I march when I’m told where to go. I was a very teachable guitar student, a very coachable ballplayer. I don’t operate as well when I’ve got decide where to go. Being in charge is a terribly scary prospect, no matter how confident I am in my ideas and convictions. I desire to be an instrument of the dreamer of dreams, rather than the dreamer of dreams.
Of course, being a Father must be the ultimate in being in charge. The responsibility is enormous, the influence further reaching than we can imagine. What an enormous relief it is to be reminded that I’m not the archer, only the bow. I don’t have to aim, only to bend. I am used to create potential energy to thrust the arrow. I provide a place for the arrow to rest as it is aimed. But I don’t aim it. In fact, no matter how many arrows are in the quiver, I’m fairly worthless without the archer.

I also am amazed and humbled to find that the more I am willing to be bent and used as an instrument, how many arrows are found lying along the path. Arrows that have been dropped from their own quivers. Perhaps fired from an unstable bow, or a bow that tried to bend itself and missed the mark. In fact, I know bows that have no quivers of their own, but are used constantly to fire previously misguided, cast aside, or unwanted arrows.
I guess the responsibility of fatherhood is not reserved only for fathers. Yes, apparently there is a special blessing for those whose quivers are full, but it must be much more important to be a stable, bendable bow.

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kingdom 2.0

Bloged in apprenticeship, church, community, culture, metaphor by rod Friday March 16, 2007

A year and a half or so ago, I made a mirror site for my blog because Wordpress was so much more tweakable and I really wanted “categories” to help me organize my thoughts. I realized that I’d need to post simultaneously to both locations, so I bought the blog editing software, Ecto to do so. It was $18, and I’d never have to login to either blogsite to post. Woot.
A few months ago, Blogger began moving folks to their new version. Mine, being quite large was one of the last to go, but even before I went, the tweaks in the blogger system had rendered ecto suddenly inoperable, intermittently at first, then totally. Since then, I’ve had to post to blogger manually. Gee whiz.
That is until today. I got tired of copying and pasting and writing extra code, so I began to dig around blogger looking for a more accurate API access point. Eventually, I found a tweak of Ecto itself that fixed the blogger-caused blogger problem.
The guy who wrote Ecto also has a day job. He wrote Ecto for fun. He’s busy now writing a new version, Ecto 3.0, but he still took the time to write a fix to a problem that was caused by someone else’s software and that had rendered his already-paid-for product useless to all us who had spent the $18. Wasn’t that sweet?
But all of that is just back-story.
The front story is that it seems like this kind of business - community, and development for the sake of advancement rather than commerce only happens on the interwebs. Furthermore, it usually has to do with product that you can’t see, hold in your hand, or show to the manufacturer so that they can see what’s broken. In real life, it seems that once a product is out the door, it’s your problem. Inadequacies, flaws, and blemishes are cleverly hidden or downplayed until they are taken home. Can you imagine buying a car just before a road is repaved, and then having the dealership give you new tires that will work better on the new surface? That’s what happens everyday on the internets. It’s more of a web than ever before with every aspect so closely connected and dependent on others. In interweb land, what has long been forgotten in the real world is blatantly obvious daily, we are all dependent on one another. If there’s a problem with one element, we all suffer. Development forces development so that one doesn’t become the weak link.
When my blog is visited, nearly every piece of content on the page is gathered from different servers. The text is stored at google, the photos in the text body are stored in my server space at gracemonkey.com, the hit counter is loaded from sitemeter, the flickr badge comes from Yahoo, the moon phase calculator is drawn from elsewhere, and on and on. Right now, sitemeter is working to correct a data problem that has messed up my stat updates. They are reading code and deleting corrupted lines so that my FREE stat counter will be accurate. Each time something becomes incompatible with another element, work is done to upgrade the other element to insure that they keep working in tandem.

I live in a physical society that has seen parts of it upgraded over and over, while other parts have been ignored, and rendered incompatible and inoperable. As time goes by, upgrades to the upgraded parts become more and more advanced and frequent, while the neglected parts become further outdated and forgotten. Furthermore, certain features of the upgraded parts at various times have been designated less important than others and so they too have ceased to be upgraded and thus, become incompatible with the more newly upgraded parts. All effort is put into a smaller and smaller segment while the quickly receding obsolete parts grow bigger and bigger.
Ironically though, many of the writers for the increasingly narrowed upgrades, eventually begin to notice that much of the content needed to load the index page is found on the servers they’ve neglected and abandoned as obsolete. When needed, the content is unavailable – outdated, obsolete. Of what importance is a Commodore 64 in Web 2.0?
Apparently, a lot, and if some of the upgraded power is not used to update the neglected, the entire physical interweb suffers.

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