Friday, April 01, 2005

bad shirts

icarus, responding to a message by rick warren, said:
Besides demonstrating that he has no fashion sense, Mr. Warren made the common points often brought up by religious leaders. God created us all, and has a plan for everyone. Your life isn't about you, but about serving God. Mr. Warren railed against the "Me" generation and stated that we were created to serve God's will. This is our purpose and goal in life: To serve God by serving others. But let's take a little closer look at this purpose by asking the simple, yet profound question, why?

One serves God because he feels that by doing so, his life will have more meaning and this will make him happier, or maybe he looks forward to a pleasant after-life. But in appears, the only reason to serve God is for your own personal benefit. Your life is about you. It is "me me me."
these are edited highlights. read the whole blog at

icarus, there are some really good things in what you've written which coincide, i believe, with some of the really good things in what ricky has written in his purpose-driven book.

i must, however, vehemently agree with you that his fashion sense for floral prints throws many of his points about ultimate purposes into at least temporary question (you know me, not the most logical calculator in the drawer. here we go with one absolutely massive red herring! continue reading at your own risk...)

Jesus says in luke 12 (as is eloquently paraphrased by graham chapman in 'monty python's the life of brian') "consider the lilies- have they got jobs?" he then goes on to say that "even solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

so why the heck does pastor rick feel he needs to outdo solomon? what is the ultimate purpose of those shirts- to celebrate God's creation and bring glory to him or to simply to make a fashion statement... and if this is simply about making fashion statements, why must they be so graphic? i mean, we all know the weird and kinky stuff that flowers get into when nobody is looking (remember the gerald scarfe animations in 'empty spaces' from the movie version of 'pink floyd- the wall'? profound or just profane- who can say? i know i will never look at lilies the same way, whether in a window box, a field or simply on one of rick warren's shirts.)

anyway, that passage is mainly about the folly of worry and how righteous it is to live faithfully because God desires for you the meeting of all of your needs- and not just simply the monetary ones. this is about life in abundance- physical, emotional, social and spiritual abundance. this is the indigenous people's medicine wheel. this is maslow's triangle. this is the proverbial it.

in his book 'desiring God- meditations of a christian hedonist', writer john piper cites a traditional creed: the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. then he does some spin and it comes out reading the chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever. maybe the differences or only semantic in nature, but the two creeds do feel different, not so much in orientation (both deal with some agreed-upon reason for our existence) but in expression- ie: how to see our raison d'etre realized.

so here's what i think. all of these people- icarus, Jesus, rick warren, abraham maslow and john piper- seem to be in the process of agreeing with each other: there is a chief end of man and that chief end- that self actualization- is about happiness.

i think that ricky wears the bad shirts because he is free to do so and does so because it makes him happy. he likes them. he feels comfortable in them. i think that this is part of the personal realization of his chief end- this is part of how he enjoys God forever- by being himself, fashion criminal or not. he can wear these shirts while he serves God in the capacity to which he feels called. he can wear these shirts while deciding upon the details of that calling- which speaking engagements to accept, which broadcasts to appear on and so on. the fact that he suffers from acute pre-performance anxiety (sorry, don't know what you're supposed to call it when you are talking about a pastor rather than a singer like carly simon) might be an armchair psychologist's explanation for the distracting patterns. who knows? who cares?

the point is that life is a process of self-discovery and, in our own rational self-interest, we act according to our knowledge of the person we are right now. the role of God in that knowledge is fundamental to some, yet peripheral to others. great. we are all exploring existence and seek to sort it out in time to be varying degrees of happy before we stop existing- at least physically.

but what makes me sad is that so many- even those who profess to know him- misunderstand the God who created happiness in the first place, presuming that he intends happiness for everyone but themselves. that misconception of God's purpose for us might be exactly what Jesus was getting at when he spoke of the lilies of the shirt.

by the way and for the record, i have read both of rick's books and enjoyed the ideas but found the constant barrage of 'quotables' and wordplay a linguistic equivalent to the incessant patterns in the man's wardrobe...

but he probably wouldn't care for the way i write either. it's the ideas that we are here to share that matter.

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Blogger Icarus Goodman said...

Many people of all philosophical persuasions often lose perspective as to what the purpose of their philosophy is. You beleive in a certain philosphy because you believe it to be true and by it being true it will lead to happiness, but we often get so caught up in trying to defend or promote our perspective that we end up trying to be martyrs for our cause, and of course sacrifice happiness which was the reason for the whole thing in the first place.

I've always felt that the best way to promote your life philosophy was to just live it and live it well. Other people seeing how happy and "self actualized" your philosophy has made you is the best advertsiment you could make for your beliefs.

Blogger Icarus Goodman said...

Sorry about the double post, I really wish they had a spell check feature on this commenting, sometimes I read my comment and i feel like such an idiot.

Blogger jollybeggar said...

"I've always felt that the best way to promote your life philosophy was to just live it and live it well. Other people seeing how happy and 'self actualized' your philosophy has made you is the best advertsiment you could make for your beliefs."

well said.

whether we see it as advertising or ambassadorship, the result of positive representation is the same- people see what you represent as meaningful and beneficial to everyone.

jpII was a great example of this. i already miss the guy.

Blogger dans_inferno said...

dans_inferno said...
Cant' believe you didn't listen to Sympathy for the Devil or Pink Floyd.......

If I tell you a story about Ethyl Rosenberg meeting Joan of Arc, will you get confused and play all the wrong music..........dans

Blogger dans_inferno said...

Previous Posts

Dans Search for Hell in Numbers

Search for Hell in Outdated Religions


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