words :: books :: ideas

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Frankenstein and Mr. Hyde

The first lecture from my first year at Worldview Academy is also the one that I remember the best. Jeff Baldwin spoke on The Deadliest Monster, contrasting the worldviews portrayed in Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Both Shelley and Stevenson indirectly answer the question, "What is the nature of man?" The former depicts man as being basically good. She blames society for the wrong actions of Frankenstein's monster. Stevenson, however, shows that man is inherently sinful and that the individual is responsible for his deeds.
I recently realized that I have subscribed to the thinking of Frankenstein.
When I do something wrong, I tend to rationalize (as Mr. Harris would say: "rational lies") and make excuses for my behavior. I'm not feeling very good. I have a headache. I'm working on a project.
I try to blame society [a.k.a. siblings]. You were in my way. You were being too loud.
I even apologize with disclaimers. I'm sorry for [fill in blank], I am just having a bad day. I shouldn't have done that, it's just [insert excuse of choice here].
This way of thinking is wrong. Instead of attempting to shift blame upon others, I need to admit my guilt.
I need to change my thoughts from Frankenstein to Dr. Jekyll.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sword Making

My dad held my machete as he told the church congregation about how a sword is made.
The steel is heated incredibly hot--hotter than it will ever be again. Then it is submerged, plunged, baptized in water or oil. This makes it hard. It will still need to be beaten, heated, and machined. But it will never be heated that hot again.
Without this process, it would fail when most needed.
One year ago today, I--like a sword--was baptized.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You Take Away and Give

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
"Lord, blessed be Your name"
Those are lines from my favorite worship song. In my life recently, it has been a little bit different though. “You take away and give” seem to read the lyrics to the song of my life.

Take for example, the story of my sunglasses.

When my sister was updating her sunglasses a few years ago, she gave me her old pair. The left arm may have been disconnected then, or it may have been shortly after that they broke. They still worked though. The arm would fit back in its spot; I just had to be careful with them.

Last Thursday, my mom and I went to a meeting in another town. Knowing the sun would be shining brightly into my eyes on the drive, I wore my sunglasses. As I stepped out of the car at our destination, I considered putting them in my bag. Instead, I left them on the front seat. I was not the next person to ride up front. The sky now being dark, I did not ask for the sunglasses to be passed to me.

When we got home, I found the major part of my sunglasses, but could not find the detached arm. Fruitlessly, I searched around the seat, under the floor mat, and everywhere I thought the arm could be. Being my only companion at this time, I asked God if He could help me find it. It seems like God is always answering my prayers and helping me find things.

“Aha!” I thought as I felt between the seats and pulled out a thin object. “I knew You’d help me, God!” I was disappointed to discover that it was only a misplaced pen. Finally, I went inside without the missing piece.

I hunted around some the next day, but could not find it. I was sure that the arm had fallen out of the car 20 miles away. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never see the left sunglasses arm again. I had thought that God was going to repeat His pattern of giving something back to me, but He was not. I decided that this was a good opportunity to follow Job’s example and bless God not only when things are going my way, but when they are not going my way.

Lacking a substitute, I continued to wear the dismantled sunglasses. They still stayed on my head, though they rested at an awkward angle and were slightly uncomfortable.

On Saturday—two days after loosing my sunglasses arm—my sister invited me out to the curb in front of our house where we ate ice cream and reclined in the grass. I then noticed a skinny black object on the running board of my mom’s car, which was parked in front of me. It was the missing sunglasses arm. I could have cried. God gave it back to me.

This is not the only time that a situation like this has happened to me. Repeatedly, God has been taking away things that I want (or even things that I didn’t know that I want—like sunglasses arms), and withholding them until I submit my will to Him. Then He gives it back to me.

Only when I fully submit my desire to God does He give back what He has taken away. It does not work for me to say, “Okay, I submit,” then demand that He give it to me. Once I die to myself, and truly tell God that He can have it—not expecting it back—He has been giving it to me.

I do not know if He will ever do it again. God may decide to take things from me, and never give them back. I have to ask myself, “Will I stilllike Jobbe able to bless God, even if He doesn’t give me what I desire?”