Thursday, February 18, 2010

on my career

Work has been pretty slow around the office. Everyone has been hanging on to billable work, leaving me spending my time 'researching' social media and current events.

So, it comes as no surprise that my contract is not going to be renewed. After next Friday I will join the ranks of millions of other unemployed Americans, praying and waiting to see what God has up His sleeve.

Monday, February 08, 2010

idolize vs. idealize

Ideal (n)- existing as an archetypical idea

Archetypical (n)- the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies: PROTOTYPE; also: a perfect example

Idealize (v)- to give an ideal form or value to

Idealist (n)- one guided by ideals; especially: one that places ideals before practical considerations

Idolize (v)- to worship as a god; broadly: to love or admire to excess

Would you agree that it is safe to describe God as an idealist? I would, and for the sake of this post, will.

We, you and I; you and I and everything else in the Universe, are called by God. We are called to operate according to God’s ideals. If we all had and did, life would be perfect.

I tend to be an idealist as well, though comparing myself to God is an ugly process. Many of my ideals come from scripture. Many do not. There are perfect scenarios in my mind that I wish to be true. Often, I make decisions based on ideals, arguing that it is better to pursue an ideal and fail than to settle for mediocrity. Just as often are decisions made despite my ideals. However, between the two lies a murky grey area.

The problem with the pursuit of ideals is when we forget why we are pursuing them.

Making lots of money would be ideal. Really, money can do a lot of good, but what happens when we start to idolize making money? Our actions and motivations become governed by this new god. We start making decisions based on the ‘need’ for lots of money, and forget why it would have been ideal in the first place. We cannibalize the purpose behind the ideal in order to make more money. We begin to squash and exploit the very people we set out to help.

How about being a good host. That is an ideal trait right? The Bible mentions great hosts many times and the blessings rendered, but what happens when one idolizes being a good host and forgets why being a good host is ideal? Again, I would argue that the possible benefit given would be jeopardized. The host might start judging success in terms of numbers, popularity and reputation rather than good done. Furthermore, one could start to take credit for the good done rather than attributing it to the real source of all blessings.

What about being correct? Liked? Of good rapport? Successful? Being a good leader?

Now, how about God’s character. If anything is ideal, this is it. The Bible tells us to be like God, emulating His very characteristics. Is it even possible to idolize God’s character than? What might that look like?

In my argument, the process of idealizing to idolizing revolves around replacing the original intent of the ideal with the pursuit of the ideal’s characteristics. I would argue that the original intent of pursuing God’s characteristics is to allow us a deeper relationship of God. What happens when we replace this intent with one of idolizing individual attributes?

In the pursuit of being perfect, could we become legalistic, judgmental, and unforgiving? Could idolizing acceptance lead to too much compromise and a rejection of absolute moral guidelines (post-modernism anyone)? How about power… God is powerful right? Are the possibilities of misconstruing the original intent endless; capable of defacing a beautiful God to an entire planet? Could the ramifications of taking our eyes off the ball be so dire?


A fraudulent intent, however carefully concealed at the outset, will generally, in the end, betray itself” –Titus Livius

*All definition taken from Merriam-Webster online

Thursday, February 04, 2010

on certainty

I was talking to my boss the other day.

He's a successful man, a partner in a successful ad agency, has a happy family and a strong relationship with our creator. We were chatting about life, politics, and religion the other day (all great office topics), when I described my uncertain future.

He smiled, sort of tipped his head to the side and sighed, "You know Matt, the one thing I become more aware of is how little I actually know."

Though this has been my experience so far, I was looking forward to the switch to being 'in the know'.

Wah wah.

Good to know.