Wednesday, October 6, 2010


"The system of nature,

of which man is a part,

tends to be self-balancing,



+ E.F. Schumacher

I have always been a fan of anthropomorphism. To the best of my recollection, the fascination began when I had to do a major research paper on feudal Japan which segued into me rabbit-trailing into articles and information on martial arts (which I have always wanted to participate in, but never obtained the initiative to). One particular aspect of martial arts that truly intrigued me was the weaponry, and one principle of weaponry has stuck with me for a rather long time: the weapon is merely an extension of your body. Weapons are made to serve as an extension of your reach and increase in the deadliness of your strike.

I started to think about how a lot of inanimate objects we as a humanity have invented and created are merely extensions of our own limitations, access to go beyond that which is in our reach. It's all an exercise in self-reliance, if you ask me. And, further more, it has me often thinking about the fact that sometimes the behavior we exhibit on the outside in our interaction with the world and objects within it are sometimes akin to the behavior we manifest on the inside.

Objects ... our creations ... they rely on us. And one object I detest caring for is the dinner plate; I hate doing the dishes. To me, there is nothing more monotonous or fatuously cyclical than the washing of dishes. You pull a plate out of the cupboard, you put your food on it, you eat your food, you rinse your plate, you put it in the dishwasher or wash it by hand, then place it back in the cupboard to further perpetuate the circle of dinnerware life.

But, there is safety in the routine of washing a dish. The every day, natural life of a plate or a bowl obliges it to become dirty from use, but this is why we have the reactive behavior of washing that dish. We learn to live with and supersede the dirt with cleanliness.

When I think about it, it reminds me a lot of how we deal with the sin habits in our life and I think back to some particular sins I struggled with. I would find myself going through a cycle of temptation, then the actualization of said temptation by carrying out the act itself, the subsequent guilt and shame that went with it, followed by the prayer for forgiveness to a God I thought was disappointed in me. Thus, a cycle was established, and I learned how to live with and remain free from  guilt or conviction of my sin. I had become a self-cleanser, able to clean myself off enough to be good until the next indulgent meal of sin, but unable to consistently stand in a place of cleanliness ... of righteousness. 

This is where the living and non-living differentiate, however. We allow plates to be dirtied and then clean them so they will be ready for use when the time comes once again. My purpose, however, is an ongoing call and passion within me that I have realized I have to live out every day. There was a time when I realized destructive patterns of cyclical sin patterns in my life were holding me back from pushing forward. I don't have the catch-all answer for the whole of humanity on how to come to the revelation of who Christ is and who we are in Him, but for me it was a shift in what I spent my time thinking about and devoted to. When I started to truly engage the hearts and lives of junior high-ers like I had never done before, there was a responsibility I became cognizant of. That responsibility required a maturity and understanding within me that was still beyond me. 

This is where Scripture came into my own life: it is the constant cleansing that my soul requires and desires to do what is right, and not return (like a dog) to my own vomit. The story of grace, the story of faith, it was all so much more real to me and something I yearned for, not because I wanted to earn my place in the eyes of favor of Jehovah, but because a complete understanding and reverence of what was paid on my behalf permanently cleansed and changed my life. The purpose of a changed life is not to brag of what has been accomplished by or for oneself, but so that one can reach out to those who also might find themselves in a destructive part of their lives and show them the light at the end of a seemingly never-ending tunnel. It's a matter of relating and simply showing people the Way.

Now, I digress, and I don't begin to claim that I write while living a life devoid of temptation and sin. I still struggle with that which comes with the joy of being human, I still feel my way through some situations where I ought not to. However, I can also tell you I spend a lot less time in the proverbial self-cleansing dishwasher, a lot less time in the dark.

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