Give Yourself to Others …

Archive for the ‘opinion’ Category

Most are deluded with the idea we can say something to another person, which will cause that person to change their mind about a particular topic.  We think we can persuade others to think like us.

I repeat — that is a delusion.

Now, granted, sometimes we do say things and then, coincidentally, other people changing their view of things.  But even when that happens, it’s not because of us, it’s because of them!

People are free-will individuals.  They get to make up their own minds.  They get to make their own choices.  They get to set their own priorities.  They get to decide what is important and what is not.  They choose what they believe.

People are neither good or bad, just because they disagree with us.  They are just different, and that is their choice.

What we can do is inspire or motivate others to act on what they already believe.

I spent much of my career in the direct mail fundraising business. Fortunately, for me, early on, I learned this:  It’s not about persuading people to agree with me, it’s about finding people who already agree and motivating them to act on what they believe.

An example:  Most political campaign communications are not about changing Rs to Ds or Ds to Rs.  It’s about convincing your opposing voters their cause is lost and there is no point in voting; and, at the same time, inspiring your supporting voters, theirs is the winning side and they should “get on the bandwagon” to victory.

In matters of commerce, you’ll never convince someone to buy your product or service, unless they already believe they have the “problem” your product or service resolves.

People do change their minds all the time.  But those changes are unpredictable and are caused by far more factors and considerations than what little anyone of us may contribute to them.

So, speak out about what you believe.  Believe what you say.  But let everyone else do the same.

Advertisements

I admit, I get pretty annoyed when Christians attempt to attribute to Jesus, their own political views. Whether on the political Left or the political right, I think they are wrong.

Just for the record, I’m more on the political right — pretty close to libertarian.

I see the controlling factor as “free will.”  God gave it to us.  It’s what makes us fundamentally different from animals.

From where I sit, Christians on the political Left want government to implement policies around caring for others; but then object, when those on the political Right want the government to implement policies which criminalize “sins.”

The Left wants to institutionalize charitable activities.  The Right wants to institutionalize Christian morality.

I think both miss the point of Jesus’ example.

The emphasis of Jesus’ life was two-fold:  First, conform your personal will to God.  Second, seek with your whole heart and being to life consistent with God’s will.

One of the central reasons for Jesus’ life on earth was to provide the example of how to conform our will and behavior to God’s will.  But at the same time, he taught we need to recognize our inability to conform completely to God’s will.  Such failure is the reason we need redemption.  And our redemption is individual, not corporate.

That is, the government’s success or failure to provide a “safety net” does not affect our salvation.  At the same time, if another person lives inconsistent with God’s will, that does not condemn me — or anyone else.

The issue, from God’s perspective, is whether I am seeking to conform my will to his.  It’s not about how successful I am — it’s about whether I’m trying.  

So, my liberal friends are trying to do what they think is right.  My conservative friends are trying to do what they think is right.  My libertarian friends are trying to do what they think is right.  My socialist friends (I’m not sure I know of any) are trying to do what they think is right.

None of us know, for sure, if we’re doing the right thing.

Give yourself to others, for their good, expecting, nor requiring, anything in return — even if they disagree with you politically.

Carey Nieuwhof has written a great post on Audience Analysis applied to Sermon preparation & delivery:

How To Know What Your Audience Is Thinking BEFORE You Communicate

Too often, people who present material (on any topic, not just spiritual topics) focus on what they have to say, rather than what their audience will hear.

In his post, Carey describes his process to bring those two things closer together.

This is worth review by any preacher or teacher, or even sales rep!

When you have the time, you should do a little research on the history of the doctrine of the Trinity.  I’m not going to review the whole history in this post, but it’s useful history to be aware of.

The short version goes back to the First Council of Nicaea, in 325.  There were a lot of theological disputes back in those days, so Emperor Constantine pressured the leading bishops of the day to gather and resolve these.  One of the issues centered around the nature of Jesus Christ.  Ultimately related to that question was which of the writings in circulation at the time, should be considered “sacred.”

As part of the discussion, one guy promulgated what we know call “The Trinity”, God in three persons, but one God.

I don’t have any huge objection to the use of this “paradigm”, but I think we should recognize it is an attempt to explain something about God, which we cannot understand.  So, it’s more a statement about our capacity to grasp God, than it is a statement about God.

As you may know, one of the significant objections Muslims have to the way Christians talk about God, is that we have three gods (Father, Son, Spirit), while Muslims have but one God.

I think the Muslims have phrased it more properly.

God has presented himself to us in three different ways.  But that has to do with our intellectual capabilities, not the limits of God.

He presented himself as Jesus, to give us a living example of what it means to be the person he wants us to be.

He presents himself as the Spirit, because of his continuing presence and influence in our life, if we are persistent in seeking him.

But God is God.  He is sovereign.

We should acknowledge him and him alone, and admit we can’t comprehend everything there is to know about God.

Humility is a good thing.

Have you ever noticed, being a disciple of Jesus is inconvenient?

As a Jesus disciple, our focus is ideally, and continually, on others, seeking to do what is best for them. Figuring out what is best for others takes time and thought. Then actually doing it, may be even more difficult — either in terms of time or effort.

But all of that is inconvenient — but then, it’s not about us, is it?

But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable / Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)

For Jesus’ believers, this post by Seth Godin raises and interesting question.  Worth your consideration


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,368 other followers

Twitter Updates

Advertisements