National AnthemsOctober 23, 2013
I was a few minutes late dropping off Eli to school today, and so I was standing in the office with him while the national anthem played. It is extremely rare that I hear Canada's national anthem being played. I was surprised to hear "God" mentioned in this day and age.
As I stood there and listened, the anthem felt foreign. Not simply because I hadn't heard it in a long time, but because the notion of an anthem felt strange. Declaring allegiance to a country. A sense of pride. Using words like "patriot". Phrases like "on guard for thee", etc. The subtext almost seems to suggest that one is willing to die for country. The sinking feeling is that I don't think our national anthem represents at all who I am and what I believe in.
Conversely, I don't feel special allegiance to Canada, or any country for that matter. My allegiance is to God, and then people. The Canadian border doesn't define in any way for me what people I feel called to love and sacrifice for. I don't feel proud to be a Canadian -- but rather am extremely grateful for the many blessings that come with that privilege. Rather than national pride, I am more often embarrassed by the way that Canadians live in the wider context of this world. I am not on guard for Canada. I am not willing to die for Canada. I will not fight for Canada in the literal sense.
So it's probably not a big surprise that standing at attention and singing a song about my country feels foreign.
May God continue to richly bless Canadians, and may we in turn humbly ask how our resources, health, and education, be used to serve those we are called to serve.Too Small To Make a Difference?October 5, 2013
A similar theme to something I touched on recently is that sometimes we look out into the world and wonder what difference we can make as a single person. The world is so large, and we're so small. Here are some counter arguments to that sense of hopelessness:
|Our relative impact can be huge: If one really looks at all the opportunities they have, it's kind of mind boggling. You eat thousands and thousands of meals in your life. That's a lot of opportunity to be change. Many people interact with quite a few people in a day. Another big opportunity. Most people make hundreds of financial transactions a year -- each of those being an opportunity. And many of the decisions we make affect one or more people in our lives. The converse of the sense that we're so small is that it is rather humbling how many people we affect with our decisions. Sometimes I feel bashful that several people can be affected by a decision I make.|
|Seeds: Often in life we think in a linear fashion, but within our world, there are many examples of exponential growth. The seed metaphor is a good one: Often by our actions and love we are planting seeds in other's lives, and we never know how significant those seeds will be once they've grown to full maturity. A giant oak tree that towers over you was once just that: A seed.|
|God not us: Similar to thoughts I've written recently, it's not actually our job to orchestrate all of the change in the world. Our job is to be open and obedient. It's not actually us that has the best vision for how the world could/should work. We have a wiff of the concept, but God is at work on the large scale, and we need to take one step at a time as we try to open ourselves to God's vision.|
Burned AliveSeptember 28, 2013
|In a similar vein, we wouldn't want to make all those decision ourselves anyway. I think it would be a terrible idea if the world listened to all of my ideas as truth. I'm probably wrong as often as I'm right. Thank goodness we have multiple voices in tension, and we have a variety of people with their own good ideas experimenting to try and figure out what works well.|
Ironic: That the idea of being plunged into flame evokes images of hell, but itís also an image used for us here and now, as we submit ourselves to Godís holy flame. As we continually examine our lives and our hearts and find spiritual cancers growing, we can yield those to God, exposing them to the refinerís fire. As we do, it is as if part of our being is actually being consumed by flame and destroyed. What a fascinating concept. Violent yet beautiful imagery.older >>