Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Light a candle everything's alright"

It's too easy to get overwhelmed by the negative, by all the things in the world that drag us down, break our hearts, and tick us off, be it in the church or in the world, at home, or at work, wherever. All of this is why I love the motto of The Christophers so much: It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Along these lines, I came across David Brooks' 30 May 2011 column in the New York Times entitled It's Not About You.

He begins his article with by observing how poorly we, their elders, have served this year's graduating class, but he goes on to discuss not just the challenges and obstacles this presents to them, but the opportunities, too. He uses the opportunities to build up to his main point, which he captures beautifully in his final paragraph:
Today’s grads enter a cultural climate that preaches the self as the center of a life. But, of course, as they age, they’ll discover that the tasks of a life are at the center. Fulfillment is a byproduct of how people engage their tasks, and can’t be pursued directly. Most of us are egotistical and most are self-concerned most of the time, but it’s nonetheless true that life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself
I urge you to take a few minutes today, amidst all the tumult, to read Brooks' article in which he truly lights a candle. Thanks Mr. Brooks.

Besides, the One we follow tells us: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:14-16- ESV). As my dear Don Gius put it, we are to be protagonists, not antagonists, in imitation of the Lord.

UPDATE: Speaking of lighting a candle, Jim & Cindy McConnell's pastor shows us what it means to gently shepherd his flock, see The Deacon's Bench for more. You might also wish Deacon Greg a happy birthday while you're there.


  1. Boy, is that quote true:

    "life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself".

    It has been observed, by many people, that young adults are maturing at a later age than before. Many young twenty-something's often don't get their priorities straight and pursue direction in life until close to 30 or their early 30's. I think this is observed in seeing that many are marrying later than before, even 50-60 years ago. it's all about finding one's self. I can even see this, in certain ways, in my own life during my 20's where i didn't as much direction as i should have. I wonder how much of a factor idleness and our relative wealth plays in this. We can afford to waste time nowadays because we live in a wealthy and advanced society. Young adults couldn't say that even 100 years ago when it was imperative to work at an earlier age.

    We most certainly find our self when we lose our self. I found this realization myself in both my marriage as well as becoming a parent.

    Not sure if this makes any sense. My thoughts are kind of scattered.

  2. Adolescence, as it were, is an invention of the past 100 years or so. You're right it keeps getting longer and longer, especially for men, carrying right into marriage. We were talking about culture yesterday, culture conspires to keep all males in a state of adolescence, which results in things like the crisis of fatherhood and the destruction of the family for which we are all paying a high price.


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