Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ideally?



torchie and i were talking about ideas and actions when he made an interesting statement:


knowing something philosophically and experientially are distinct from each other but not mutually exclusive for both are necessary to knowing something fully. (torchie)

hmm... the fullness of knowledge.

does this soundbyte speak of a difference between intellectual ascent and actually living the dream? i love that they cannot be separated from each other and still be true- excluding one while embracing the other is simply hypocrisy is it not?

okay, here's the kick: is all hypocrisy bad, or is hypocrisy sometimes simply indicative of one's faithlessness? i mean, until someone points it out in me, is the log in my eye a bad thing for which i must take responsibility, or is it just blindness... the presence of which being possibly the responsibility of others to identify in me? this is how people discover that they are colour blind, right? the awareness of this 'blindness' is impossible within a relational vacuum because basically perspective gone unchallenged is personal truth. we have no reason to question something from our own point of view because it's our own point of view and we hold to its accuracy... perhaps this is yet another reason establishing the importance of graciously receiving the investments that others make in us as we labour together.

example? the other day i was meeting for breakfast with this 'bob the builder' guy that i haven't hooked up with in a long time. as we spoke of about many things, i started to notice that he had a particular verbal habit. no workaday vocalized pauses like 'um' or 'er' or 'd'Oh!' in fact, he kept inserting the word ideally into the beginning of sentences. after two or three of these i called him on it...

can an ideal ever be attainable?
or is its unattainability that which makes it an ideal?

in other words, is 'ideally' a verbal shock absorber that allows you to say how you wish things could be, but have no faith in the possibility of the realization of this dream?

see, in bob's case, i think that his use of 'ideally' connoted the 'settling for' something less than the best. it was philosophically there, but experiencially non-existant even in his imagination... he had already signed off on the dream, settling instead for something commonplace and ultimately unsatisfying.

so when we speak of spiritual walks and healing journeys and possible differences between what we are envisioning and what we are experiencing, i say hold on and receive these things as they are offered... remembering that the vision of healing is fuel enough to see the realization of this vision. circumstancial and relational realities cannot withstand the restorative vision that God places in one's heart as hope for the future.

it's not ideal- it is simply yet to come.

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14 Comments:

Blogger SocietyVs said...

I think it depends on the ideal - in this sense - I am thinking of ideal as a goal. This is a 'yes' and 'no' answer for me.

EXAMPLES

(1) Can I be perfect? No. Since perfection as an ideal that is not possible or too hard to define.

(2) Can I buy a house? Yes. If I have the means and intelligence to do so.

I think ideals/goals can be reached and then we set new ones, however with some ideals (ex: peace on earth) we might never see the day. All we can do is boil it down to what's work-a-ble.

4/26/2007  
Blogger BrotherKen said...

I have known people (maybe even myself at some point) who will sprinkle the conversation with "ideally" as a hint that they really can't subscribe to the topic and would rather dispose of it as quickly, yet politely as possible. "Ideally there would be no poor people", insert a topic change now!
If that was not the case maybe Bob the Builder just has a habit of using the word.

As far as ideology goes, I have very few ideals that I would promote as a possibility. Of course I would ideally like to see everyone harken unto the Lord's call but is that what the Lord wants? I think you, JB, called me on this one already and I didn't respond. But I really do believe the bible teaches that not all will be saved (despite a couple of verses that seem to say otherwise).

Can I really say there is anything possibly ideal about our current situation? I suppose I should take into account that one day we can be free from it all.

Regardless, I am quite content and full of joy :-)

5/23/2007  
Blogger hineini said...

I am a bit surpised at you guys to be honest. What about all those sermons you've had to of heard about the manna from heaven, the tiniest faith sending a mountain into the sea? What about the repeated realization of the impossible for those who wandered around behind Jesus?

I'm really quite shocked that the people who seem to me to be in the best place to explode the possible/impossible or ideal/realistic dichotomy maintain this seperation between knowing, or believing, or thinking and doing. Doesn't christianity offer some very valuable tools for rejecting a vision of reality limited to materiality and a radical call to embrace possibility? Or maybe Plato and the "greeks" keep a strangle hold on a structural religion formed in our own image. Come on guys! Put away your contentment and buisness school goal setting; possibility calls, and in It, all things are possible!

5/23/2007  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"Doesn't christianity offer some very valuable tools for rejecting a vision of reality limited to materiality and a radical call to embrace possibility?" (hineini)

yes.

"remembering that the vision of healing is fuel enough to see the realization of this vision. circumstancial and relational realities cannot withstand the restorative vision that God places in one's heart as hope for the future.

it's not ideal- it is simply yet to come." (me)

5/23/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

"Doesn't christianity offer some very valuable tools for rejecting a vision of reality limited to materiality and a radical call to embrace possibility?" (Hineini)

I agree. But how that all plays out is in each person's hand - the value they put in their belief (actualization). I can say I have realized a lot of this in my life - went from ghetto broke to almost owning a home now - that's quite the strength of a simple belief that started out as an aformentioned 'mustard seed' (a thought).

"Put away your contentment and buisness school goal setting; possibility calls, and in It, all things are possible!" (Heinini)

I agree...all things are possible but what are those things we actually want (only defineable by the individual) - this works on both ends of that morality scale - good and bad.

I run something called the Action Group - in which I follow this same premise - 'all things are possible' or the 'mustard seed' concept. I started with developing an idea in my head - then pushed it to the realm of 'the actual'. The idea is still small and almost a nothing - but it is still there and I keep it thriving. What will it become - well, your guess is as good as mine but 'this idea is possible'.

I think the ideal I shoot for in morality - the possible I shoot for in the actual way I see things can be (ex:changing church structure or the dealing with poverty with through church resources).

5/23/2007  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"Ideally there would be no poor people" (brotherken)

interesting... if 'ideally' means unattainable, then we read this loud and clear in deuteronomy:

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." (deut15.11)

even Jesus said this in response to the well-intentioned but presumptuous words of his friends concerning the annointing at bethany...

"The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me"(mark14.7)

but i wonder if Jesus was saying, in effect, "oh come on, cut the horsesh*t, judas... if you are so passionate about the poor then why haven't you been doing something about the problem until now?" as if to point out that the sudden caring of someone suspected of regularly pilfering from the community chest seemed rather- er- convenient and that one either cares or one doesn't.

"we are men of action- lies do not become us"
(the man in black to the six-fingered man in the film 'the princess bride')

here we go again with the whole 'attainable or not' question: what of pressing onward towards the utopian dream of disparity's end... pursuing the realization of this ideal at the expense of self? is caring a calling, or is it the responsibility of everyone created in the image of God?

here's a messier (not mark... 'more messy' haw haw) question: can this call to care for and give to the other ever be realized in anyone, or is it an ongoing responsive discipline born of simple awareness, humility and gratitude- a 'philantherapy' of sorts that takes a lifetime of appointments?

5/24/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

"is caring a calling, or is it the responsibility of everyone created in the image of God?" (JB)

I lean to the latter in this sentence (same bible, same Jesus, same Matt 25, same book of James). Or do some bibles leave out 'blessed are the poor' in Luke? I have a very hard time rationalizing a faith that doea not continually help the poor as a main motive in ministry - as seen in the very actions of Jesus whole life (and he was our rabbi).

"can this call to care for and give to the other ever be realized in anyone, or is it an ongoing responsive discipline born of simple awareness, humility and gratitude" (JB)

If you think of it as a discipline eventually it becomes a habit (second nature). I think the idea does not merely need to reside on a 'singular level' but on a 'corporate one'. I can help my buddy with gas money and other expenses but if a group pooled their money and resources - then we all share the same responsibility - so instead of one person pulling the truck he has help - the load gets lighter.

5/24/2007  
Anonymous j said...

"so when we speak of spiritual walks and healing journeys and possible differences between what we are envisioning and what we are experiencing, i say hold on and receive these things as they are offered...circumstancial and relational realities cannot withstand the restorative vision that God places in one's heart as hope for the future.

it's not ideal- it is simply yet to come." (jollybeggar)

That's a refreshing perspective to hear. I've heard a lot of negative perspectives on visions in the mind, but not many positive ones. some days everything seems out of reach, but really, as long as you have even a glimmer of hope in the possible, then the impossibilities fall away.

"is caring a calling, or is it the responsibility of everyone created in the image of God?" (jollybeggar)

I don't know that caring would be necessarily be a calling, but I do believe we all have been created with some degree of a caregiving spirit within us. Depending on how we're wired and what our responsiveness is to that, plays big time into how little or large that caring is realized and actively practiced.

"If you think of it as a discipline eventually it becomes a habit (second nature)." (societyvs)

You can call something a discipline, but I don't believe it will necessarily become a habit second nature. It would be a really great thing if that were the case, but even views of disciplines are all over the board, let alone how we are in implementing them.

"I think the idea does not merely need to reside on a 'singular level' but on a 'corporate one'." (Societyvs)

You make a good point...the sharing of responsibility helps lighten the load and make whatever lies ahead more possible.

5/24/2007  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"I have a very hard time rationalizing a faith that doea not continually help the poor as a main motive in ministry - as seen in the very actions of Jesus whole life (and he was our rabbi)." (societyVS)

it's true. it appears as though the God of scripture is always about the 'underdog.'

here's something:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (matt5.3)

Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." (luke6.20)

in both of these cases, the kingdom of God is given to the poor. now, we often wrongly presume that this phrase 'kingdom of God' refers to the hereafter, when study of Christ's words there seem to be more ongoing and timeless.

just do a search on "the kingdom of God is like..." at biblegateway.com and see what you get. it seems that this kingdom is something small that grows, is inherited and bears hope for a future.
***

I pulled into Nazareth
I was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place
where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me
where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand,
and "No!", was all he said.

Take a load off Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load off Annie
and you can put the load right on me.

I picked up my bag
I went lookin' for a place to hide;
When I saw Carmen and the Devil
walkin' side by side.
I said, "Hey, Carmen
come on, let's go downtown."
She said, "I gotta go
but my friend can stick around."

Go down, Miss Moses
there's nothin' you can say
It's just ol' Luke
and Luke's waitin' on the Judgement Day
"Well, Luke, my friend
what about young Anna Lee?"
He said, "Do me a favor, son,
wontcha stay an' keep Anna Lee
company?"

Crazy Chester followed me
and he caught me in the fog.
He said, "I will fix your rags
if you'll take Jack, my dog."
I said, "Wait a minute, Chester
you know I'm a peaceful man."
He said, "That's okay, boy
won't you feed him when you can."

Catch a Cannonball, now, t'take me down the line
My bag is sinkin' low and I do believe it's time.
To get back to Miss Annie, you know she's the only one.
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone.

5/24/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

Gotta love The Band - which is my favorite band of all time.

"it seems that this kingdom is something small that grows, is inherited and bears hope for a future." (JB)

Couldn't agree more - it's a here and now thing which means dealing with here and now problems as diverse as poverty issues to abandonment (or other societal issues - ie: depression). I think as church folk we need to pick this mantle up also - and develop programs in this manner also - maybe even focus here? I actually like the Methodist perspective on this idea - social gospel - which i would never 'tag' it as - I just call it the 'gospel'.

5/24/2007  
Blogger BrotherKen said...

Is it possible that one person sees the gospel as Society does.. primarily focussed on helping the needy, and another sees another focus.. and they both have the focus that God wants them to have?

I say this as a new perspective because of something I recently read... "To reason with someone in order to convince them to give up the truth they painfully embraced through life's trials, is to attempt to rob them from their own history with God." (andre on some other blog)

Generally, I think for the most part God deals with all people the same and expects the same of all of us. But there are certain incidents in the Bible that make me wonder why God would do that. Maybe these seemingly "out of character" incidents are God's way of letting us know that He is in control and that we must continually strive to take notice of what is happening in our lives so that, through prayer and help from other Christians, we can discern His will for us.

So an ideal that I work towards in my life, based on the experiences that God has lead me through, may not be the same as yours... but that does not mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong.

5/25/2007  
Blogger hineini said...

brotherken, what did you do with the real brotherken! Ha, just kidding. Still though, that would have been something I wouldn'y have expected you to say a little while ago.

The next question you get to answer then is if God asks different things from each person, or places a different call on each person then where does accountability come in. Is it ever justified to confront and challenge the work/belief of another when what they are doing might very well be their unique vocation?

5/26/2007  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"To reason with someone in order to convince them to give up the truth they painfully embraced through life's trials, is to attempt to rob them from their own history with God." (andre on some other blog)

gotta make this one into a fridge magnet. awesome.

how much of our relational and discoursive pain and anxiety might go unendured, were we to stop imposing our own experience and historical truth upon the journey of another? in my view, is more about the assimilation of knowledge, experience, perspective and wisdom than it is about indoctrination... seeing or hearing something and receiving it into one's own model, not presuming to know exactly what someone else needs.

i think that this is part of what 'humility' means.

5/26/2007  
Blogger BrotherKen said...

Hineini & JB, If you wish to read the author's whole blog entry go to; http://www.themiraclechannel.ca and browse through the thread "Dick and Joan resign from the Miracle Channel" to find the post stamped "Authored by: processthis on Thursday, May 24 2007 @ 07:16 PM CST". It is a long post on a long thread but you may find it quite interesting. The site is all about examining the teachings of the Miracle Channel and when the leadership falls into sin (an extramarital affair) it becomes quite an active site. Please feel welcome to post a comment or join in the chat.

Anyway, as for my post here, this is more insight into where I am in my spiritual walk. I admit that I am quite wishy washy about certain things. The only thing I am quite confident about is that there is a huge problem affecting most if not all Christian churches and I don't have any interest in submitting myself to the teachings and leadership until I find a group that acknowledges this and is willing to take corrective action.

God bless!

5/26/2007  

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