Devil’s Advocate

I have this ‘annoying’ little habit of always playing devil’s advocate…. well, maybe not always, but I do it quite often. Whenever someone takes one position in a conversation, I will frequently argue for the other side (fair representation, anyone?). Why do I do this, you ask? Good question, and I’m glad you asked that one. It’s not to be irksome, believe me, at least not intentionally (I suppose there could be some Freudian logic to it, somewhere, buried down deep, but I suspect not). Mostly, I think I do it in order to make sure that all aspects of the topicslashissue gets covered. Pull out the salient details. Avoid the groupthink effect and the like. Remove the blinders from ones eyes and open up the conversation to more possibilities. (And no, this is NOT necessarily being open-minded. Just covering all the bases. Because open minds tend to stay open (BAD!), and eventually I settle down on one position and stay there. Definitely ‘close-minded’ and ‘narrow.’ But also Biblical, I believe, at least to an extent. But that’s a topic for another post on another day.) I just like to make sure that everyone has thought of as many of the possibilities and explanations as possible. Experience empathy. Avoid judgmentalism.

And as a Christian, I believe it is my responsibility to encourage others to think more globally, and hence, more Christly. More compassionately, with love and grace. So consider this: consider that you may actually be wrong on a stance long enough to consider the issue more thoroughly. Challenge the status quo, and don’t take your position on an issue for granted, just because you have thought this way your whole life and so has your family.

To Know Christ

My life passage….

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the POWER of his resurrection and teh fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~Phil. 3:7-14 (emphases mine)

I’m crushed by this again today, even though I’ve read over it many times. I’ve spent too much time recently trying to be comfortable. I say, “Enough!” Time to get down to the business of walking again. I’ve spent too much time sitting still…

Myers-Briggs

Yeah, stole this from someone else, but since it is related to my field, I don’t feel too guilty about it.
Introverted (I) 55.26% Extroverted (E) 44.74%
Imaginative (N) 54.84% Realistic (S) 45.16%
Intellectual (T) 57.58% Emotional (F) 42.42%
Organized (J) 69.7% Easygoing (P) 30.3%
Your type is: INTJ
You are a Planner, possible professions include – management consultant, economist, scientist, computer programmer, environmental planner, new business developer, curriculum designer, administrator, mathematician, psychologist, neurologist, biomedical researcher, strategic planner, civil engineer, intellectual properties attorney, designer, editor/art director, inventor, informational-graphics designer, financial planner, judge.

Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test.

Days of Elijah

Days Of Elijah

by Robin Mark

These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord:
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’

Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it’s the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.

These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh;
And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.
These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in Your world,
And we are the labourers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!

Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it’s the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.

There’s no God like Jehovah.
There’s no God like Jehovah!

Copyright © 1997 Daybreak Music Ltd.

Self-perpetuating Philosophical Lifestyle Cycles

I have a wondering, something I have thought about recently and frequently. I am interested in any feedback that anyone has on this topic. It’s called “self-perpetuating philosophical lifestyle cycles.”

Which came first: the chicken, or the egg? Or put another way, which came first: the philosophy, or the lifestyle?

I know a number of Christians who see one of their ‘fellows’ living a particular lifestyle. Let’s choose Goth, just for a developmental example (and for those of you who consider yourselves to be Goth, please take no offense; I am neither condemning nor picking on you; I just need something to develop this thought, so please bear with me). And let’s pick a person to be our Goth — Trudy, for instance.

So, Trudy is a Goth and has been for a couple of years now. She’s just in her first year of college. She is a Christian, been saved since she was seven years old. In fact, her dad is a pastor. Trudy is also very strong in her faith. But she prefers the dark look of the Goth, with the clothing, the makeup, the piercings, the works. Now, I repeat my former question: which came first? The thoughts and philosophies, or the lifestyle?

Put it in more general terms now. Does a person begin thinking a particular way and then ‘discover’ a lifestyle that fits that way of thinking? Or do they find a lifestyle that attracts them (for any variety of reasons) and fall into that lifestyle, with the lifestyle gradually (or not so gradually) changing the way that person thinks? Is it different for different poeple? (BTW – you can insert pretty much any lifestyle into this example — punk, hippy, drug addict, alcoholic, child abuser, pastor, businessman, etc.). Does the person choose the lifestyle, or does the lifestyle choose the person (in a manner of speaking)?

And then, once in the lifestyle, does it become a cycle? Does the thought encourage the lifestyle, which encourages the thought, which encourages the lifestyle, and so on and so forth? When, where, and how is ita good thing? A bad thing? How does one break the cycle if they decide it is a bad thing?

I have a theory on this, but before I choose to post it, I’m interested in hearing some feedback, if any cares to contribute…..

Rights vs. Morality

I read an editorial in the Ball State student-published newspaper this morning. The author of the column basically said that George W. Bush wants to add an amendment to the Constitution that will permanently fix homosexuals as second-class citizens by limiting their rights and freedoms. This, again, is an example of the fact that the world just does not understand. This proposed amendment has absolutely nothing to do with freedoms or rights. It does, however, have everything to do with morality, with right and wrong. Homosexuality is wrong, pure and simple. And it is imperative that an amendment be written and passed because of the liberal courts that are abusing the legal system and violating state laws that ban homosexual marriages.

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On a similar note, I just wish people would stand up and pay as much attention to other issues of morality as they have to this one, issues like adultery, gambling, alcohol abuse, pornography, etc. But those things have all become part of the status quo, part of the norm, and I think that, given enough time, homosexual marriage may pass into the realm of the humdrum-everyday occurrences, without an amendment.

Misconceptions

There is a common misconception that just because a person is religious, they are a Christian and going to heaven. The trouble is this: the Pharisees were religious, and Jesus condemned them many times. He called them ‘white-washed sepulchres’ (pretty on the outside, smelly on the inside), and Paul described them as having ‘throats like open graves’ (spiritual halitosis). So, just because someone is religious does not mean that they are ‘alright’. It only means that they know how to build a facade. So, beware of someone who is religious (especially those who are proud of it). Beware the sweet talker. If the walk doesn’t match what God says is the behavior that pleases him, chances are good that that particular ‘religious’ person isn’t worth your time. True Christians are humble servants, willing to speak the truth in love, willing to suffer abuse, trials, pain, and hardship, and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that God is magnified above all else.

Jack-of-All-Trades, Master of Words