A pattern commonly found among people who enter a new pursuit is, upon first introduction, to like everything without regard. Later, after having learned more, they tend to take on a sort of proud pugishness about their "understanding" of a form, disliking people who break the rules, and often writing volumnes to prove it… Eventually, they grow up a little and rise above this; usually this is because they begin to understood the principles behind the rules. Knowing principles allows them to better understand when a rule doesn’t really apply, and they will begin cautiously breaking rules when it suits the bigger interests of what they are working on.
Can I look pretty in pictures?
Will you look pretty in print?
Type and image are waiting here
In prepress with ink and glint
Written for Veer.com
Find out by viewing the list of people with websites who have commented on walljm.com. The link is also listed in the Projects section.
A stroll thru artistic foliage
A jungle of svelte typography
Words like chimps with chatter
Surround me with feverish glee
Dopamine doesn’t manage pleasure so much as it manages how interesting stuff appears to our brains. I came across an ask.metafilter.com question about how to manage anger. A lot of people indicated that exercise (one person mentioned sex specifically) was a good way to work off the excess energy, but I wondered if the diminutive affect it has on anger is due more to the release of dopamine from the exercise which would helps our brains focus and think clearly and thus deal with the source of the anger more rationally. What do you think?
While surfing the net today I ran across an article on Christianity Today about Bono and his involvement in Africa and his call for the Church to do more in terms of social giving. In general I agree with Bono, we as Christians should do more to minister to the fatherless and widows as it says in James 1:27. I can’t say that I agree with the way Bono has exemplified Christian life though. I think perhaps he stopped reading after the first half of James 1:27 and skipped over the part about keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. ;)
That isn’t what I wanted to talk about though. At the bottom of the article is a quote by Jonathan Edwards from his essay on RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS about putting faith into practice which I give to you here:
Passing affections easily produce words; and words are cheap; and godliness is more easily feigned in words than in actions. Christian practice is a costly, laborious thing. The self-denial that is required of Christians, and the narrowness of the way that leads to life, does not consist in words, but in practice. Hypocrites may much more easily be brought to talk like saints, than to act like saints.
I feel motivated to talk about this for many reasons. One reason is that there has been discussion on the net recently about Bono and his rebuke to the church. Another is because I recently came home from doing mission work in Uganda and this particular subject is fresh on my mind. But also, this particular issue of what it costs to live as Christ lived on this earth is something I have been dealing with in some way or another personally for the last two years and to some degree all my life.
I found Edwards quote apt. The fact that so much is written so hastily about things in the blogsphere is ample proof that "passing affections easily produce words; and words are cheap". How many times have I written in haste about something I was ill qualified to comment on? Too many I think. Its so easy to repeat the words, to sing the songs, and even to go to Church on Sunday and wax philosophical about this or that. Paul called in vain babbling. But living your faith, putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak, is hard. I know its hard because so few people do.
I am no saint. I do work in Christian lay ministry on a regular basis though. I grew up in a family that served in the Church. Long before my Dad entered the pastorate, we were involved. Dad lead music, served as a Sunday school administrator, taught Sunday school. My mom worked in the nursery, helped in the office, taught Sunday school, and helped with various things. They never accepted payment for those things. When you grow up in a family who allows people to stay in your home while they get on their feet, and who makes it a habit to give freely to people, it will have an affect on you. I credit much, if not most, of my willingness to serve to the example set by my parents.
When I was seventeen I had a spiritual awakening. Now, I had been saved when I was six (Sep. 1984), but as things often go, I grew very familiar with Christianity. You know what happens when you become familiar with things? You grow to despise them. I became familiar with all the trappings, but had failed to grasp the most important parts of my faith. I fell into nasty habits. By the time I was seventeen, I was frustrated, empty and humbled (at least a little, I didn’t know how much more I had yet to learn then). God used a conference to jump start my faith. That was 10 years ago (it feels very odd to be able to say that).
You may be wondering where I’m going with this, but hold on, I do have a point. One of the larger things I wanted to change and had to learn about my faith was that words meant little and actions were what carried the day. I had to start reading my Bible daily, and I begin memorizing scripture. I had to get involved. The more mature I became as a Christian the more important the issue of sacrificing for the good of someone else became. I had to learn how to love someone other than myself.
Giving is not an easy task. Giving regularly of your emotions, your talents, and your money in situations that are often boring is very hard. But this is what we are called to do, to Love our Neighbor. I’d like to say I do this in spite of the hardship, but the truth is I only give of parts of myself. Though I am faithful in some things, there are plenty of areas that I’ve held back. I don’t want you (the anonymous reader) to think that I am some sort of example you should follow. We have Christ for that. I suppose what I am trying to do is underscore the importance of that quote. James said it more succinctly when he said, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
I often wish there were more people helping. I wish this for two reasons. The first is that I often get tired and it would be nice to be able to do a little less and share more of the burden. The second is because I often feel a good deal less than adequate for the tasks I am given. I know that I should look to Christ to strengthen me, and I do, but my human heart feels like it would be easier if I had a human example to follow. But few and far between are those Christians who are willing to be there faithfully. It’s true what Christ said when He looked out on the multitudes and said in Matthew 9:35-39, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few".