One of those popular lifestyle sites sports an article with 15 reasons why artistic people are difficult to understand. I’m not sure if I like the article or not. The Missus would probably classify me as one of those difficult types. Robert Frost used to sit on his front porch and stare out into space. Neighbors thought he was teched in the head. (Is it proper to put him and me in the same paragraph?)
Does the cited article make excuses for artists? Or does it improve relationships by helping us to understand them better? Should artists get over themselves, if they’re as self-centered as the article suggests?
Let no one use personality type or background to excuse oneself. This is a statement that, to me, seems self-evident. But it’s a controversial affirmation today, because we live in an entitlement society where people even create excuses for advantage. My parents made me work as a child. I was ridiculed and bullied in school. My sister stole my bedroom. We were poor when I was a kid. Oh, the reasons we can find to excuse our bad behavior!
And now, personality becomes a big excuser for the artistic types. And for the introverts. Don’t forget the quiet types. But Jesus will not leave any of us be. He calls us to learn how to love, how to break our confining shells, how to step away from our issues and backgrounds and personalities, in order to be like him. He invites us to the fullness of himself.
This must be a rant against me old self.
¶ As I was searching today for material on suzerainty treaties for the Portuguese devotional, I came across an old theological journal article containing the phrase, “communication in the form of structured truth.” That set me off, in a good way. Six paragraphs worth.
¶ It’s a joy to read friends’ good content online. John Henson writes today that “Rowling attacks religious body.” He notes that biblical teaching is now labeled political hate speech. That labeling and opposition will likely only increase in intensity. Rough times await us on that point. The perspective doesn’t appear to hold much hope of a turnaround. Hillary Clinton said earlier this month that “religious beliefs … have to be changed.”
It seems a hard task, on the one hand, to oppose the homosexual agenda through political means, while showing, on the other hand, friendship and compassion to homosexuals and those who have same-sex attraction. In the shop where I was getting my hair cut, one of the guys gives all the signals of being a homosexual. When I walk through, I greet him warmly just like I do everyone else. There’s not much opportunity for interaction, but who knows when a door might open to teach the gospel.
¶ I changed barbers, found one closer to my office, cheaper than the previous one, and less busy. (I hate the atmosphere of barber and beauty shops.) The former barber also cut my hair badly the last time, seems he was in a hurry to leave with his son near the end of the day. So it was time to move on.
I think I’ve said before that I hate getting my hair cut, but I certainly like the result, the feeling of a nicely shaped and trimmed head of hair. (I can still say “head of hair” in reference to self. For now.) Quite a difference exists in the process, or act, and the result. We may like one and hate the other, but reality says the two go together. Like planting and reaping. Take that into the spiritual realm, you know how that goes.
¶ Another pair of process and result is association and assumption of values or behavior. It’s all over the place in Scripture. Take Proverbs 22.24-25, for example, very clear: “Do not make friends with an angry person, and do not associate with a wrathful person, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Recently, on Twitter a headline appeared about a study that showed a correlation between association and speech patterns. (I can’t find the link now, please share it in the comments if you’ve seen it.) We wind up talking like those we hang around. Someone could have saved some money on that study if they’d just gone to the Bible, right?
¶ Jack Wilkie isn’t a personal friend, like John, since I don’t know him and haven’t had much interaction with him — maybe the Lord will allow that still — but his article is a good one, just out: “5 Daily steps to a stronger faith.” His fourth step doesn’t usually appear in such articles, but he’s got a powerful point to “cut out the junk.”
¶ I’m over limit, but let’s end with this thought, from Joshua 23.3: “You saw everything the Lord your God did to all these nations on your behalf, for the Lord your God fights for you.” May we have such eyes to see how the Lord fights for his people today. If that doesn’t drive us to prayer and courage, nothing will.