Archive for July, 2011

10 July 2011

Originality

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always embraced “different” as the best possible compliment I could ever receive.

The idea of originality is absolutely enchanting to me. It’s my siren song.
But like the siren song, it’s a myth.

I’ve come to learn that there is no such thing as true originality, at least not for us. People draw on what they know, what surrounds them, what they have experienced. So much of what forms our decisions are results of decisions that have been made for us, before we could walk, talk, or even breathe. As I dig deeper into sociology, it’s an interesting challenge to reconcile what I am learning in the classroom with what I am learning about God.

I find myself believing wholeheartedly that God has made me unique and placed specific passions in my heart. Simultaneously, I find myself believing wholeheartedly that the ways I am unique are the product of the of my socio-historical position. The problem is, I don’t have two hearts. It’s definitely not a zero-sum game though. Who’s to say that it wasn’t God who placed me in the societal location I was born into, moved into, and am currently living in now? I’m fearful of the idea that “God is in full, total control.” That He controls all things, and that it is He who is the reason why anything happens. To be honest, it sort of freaks me out because ultimately, that line of thought leads to the question of predestination.

For a long time I saw life as the image of two roads– there’s the one that was created by you and the world, and one that was created by God. You can create your or road, sure, but when you decide to become a Christian, that’s when you start walking on the other road. God has it all ready for you, but you’re the free-willed traveler that gets to choose which trail to hike.

Now the image I carry is more like a timeline. There’s our life here on earth, and then there’s our life in heaven. Life on earth is about living for yourself. Life in heaven is about living for God. What’s great is that I can take the second part of the timeline and dragggg it on over to the point on the timeline that I’m in now. I can begin to live my life in heaven, here, on earth.

There’s a line in the song Beautiful by Phil Wickham that reads “When we arrive at eternity’s shore / Where death is just a memory and tears are no more.” That’s incredible to me. To think of death as not the definite end of one life and the beginning of another, but as a passing moment, an event like any other, something will become just a memory. If I live my life here on earth as if I am in heaven– with eyes pointed to Him and not myself– I imagine dying and arriving at eternity’s shore just being like any other day. Maybe that Wednesday I watched a movie and then went to a restaurant with my family, and then on Thursday I died and then went to eternity’s shore. I want to live on earth in a way that is so much like the self-less, God-centered life in heaven that there is no moment of transition.