Discussing
Using Our Gifts Despite Our Failures

Chris Salzman

Cardw
June 4, 2008

I think that these types of introspections reveal the difference between a Western left brain approach to spirituality and an Eastern right brain approach to enlightenment.<br><br>This type of introspection is simply unsolvable and, at least for me, is a practice in self condemnation that leads to another form of self centeredness. It has become fashionable for cutting edge teachers to practice this type of "honesty." I didn't buy it in myself and I don't buy it in any other form.<br><br>To me, self introspection is for the purpose of telling myself the truth so that I will stop lying to myself. When I stop lying to myself it brings a form of freedom. I think the trap of Christian thought is there is so much energy put into determining if something is good or bad independent of that something's outcomes.<br><br>One of the things that I learned from Eastern thought is that many of the things we label or judge are simply arbitrary or in the realm of preference. I'm not talking about murder or cruelty or things that demonstrate almost immediately by their outcomes that they are harmful. I'm talking about the endless evaluation of motives for things that we do that are neither good or bad.<br><br>To me, the core of that type of thinking is shame and fear. Sometimes this is hidden under a layer of approval seeking, even seeking the approval of God. And the approval of God is pretty hard to determine from any real evidence that the left brain is going to believe.<br><br>If we really believe in the idea of living in Grace, then I think the Eastern approach of simply ignoring the exercise of trying to determine if something is good or bad is a far better practical practice of Grace than trying to give ourselves and others Grace. And then putting all that energy and focus into the creation of beauty, whether that beauty is being loving and kind or something we share that brings joy to ourselves and others.<br><br><br>

Christiane Li
June 4, 2008

I can really relate to Jon. For many years I misused music, writing it and listening to it purely for my own enjoyment. I actually idolized it, worshiped music in the place of God. Then He began dealing with my heart, and I hit a dry spell musically, but a Spiritual period of growth (go ahead, ask me which I prefer!). Now I look back, I'm so grateful for that musical, spiritual "pruning" (for two years I didn't even pick up a guitar). I am also grateful that the stuff I did for me never went anywhere! I don't take playing the guitar for granted anymore, and I am so grateful to God that I can play again. And music is so much richer for me now that I don't worship it (or rather worship my own desires/self through it). Now I listen to it with the Lord. <br>(Sidenote: Paul Simon went through a musical drought too, back in the sixties. He said once in an interview that he felt you could always tell that he was musically out of it at that time because his arrangements were not as melodic and his lyrics were not as thoughtful. All you Simon &amp; Garfunkel fans, wonder if you can tell which album he was talking about... : )

Maureen
June 4, 2008

In the movie "Chariots of Fire" Olympic runner Eric Liddell says "When I run I feel God's pleasure." When I write I feel God's pleasure. Yet for years I didn't write unless I had to, and sometimes I just had to. I didn't show anyone, even my husband, anything I'd written. I had my reasons. First, good writing is hard and I'm kind of lazy. Second, I questioned whether I had anything worth saying. Third, I didn't want my even more insecure friends to feel that I thought I was better. Fourth, I didn't want to come off as someone who claims God put the words in my mouth but sometimes God just wakes my up and I have to get up and write. I definitely get the conflict. I've felt God's pleasure when I write since I was ten. I'm working on a book now because I let God take my gift. I will finish it before I'm 50 which is in September. I should have done this soon.

Jon Acuff
June 4, 2008

Chris -<br>Thanks so much for sharing my stuff with folks. I still want to find a way to do something fun and cool with Think Christian and Stuff Christians Like because I really dig what you guys and gals do. Hopefully we can in the future. <br>Jon

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