Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Smothered In Slogans

"The mantle of intellectual meaninglessness shrouds every aspect of our common life."

-Dallas Willard
The Divine conspiracy

This is a quote from the book I have just begun reading. This weekend my senior and associate pastor and I will be attending a conference in Kansas City. Dallas Willard will be the keynote speaker. I have not read any of his books and wanted to try and get one in before we left of Friday. Since I promised to give another blog this afternoon I thought that I would share some of Dallas's thoughts. Listen to these words:

"Commercials, catch words, political slogans, and high-flying intellectual rumors clutter our mental and spiritual space. Our minds and bodies pick them up like a dark suit picks up lint. They decorate us. We willingly emblazon messages on our shirts, caps-even the seat of our pants. Sometime back we had a national campaign against highway billboards. But the billboards were nothing compared to what we now post all over our bodies. We are immersed in birth-to-death and wall-to-wall "noise"--silent and not so silent."

"In the shambles of fragmented assurances from the past, our longing for goodness and rightness and acceptance--and orientation--makes us cling to bumper slogans, body graffiti, and gift shop nostrums that in our profound upside-down-ness somehow seem deep but in fact make no sense: "Stand up for your rights" sounds so good. How about "All I ever really need to know I learned in kindergarten"? And "Practice random kindnesses and senseless acts of beauty"? And so forth.

Such sayings contain a tiny element of truth. But if you actually try to plan your life using them you are immediately in deep, deep trouble...But try instead "Stand up for your responsibilities" or "I don't know what I need to know and must now devote my full attention and strength to finding out" (Consider Prov. 3:7 or 4:7) or "Practice routinely purposeful kindness and intelligent acts of beauty."

Putting these into practice immediately begins to bring truth, goodness, strength, and beauty into our lives. But you will never find them on a greeting card, plaque, or bumper sticker. They aren't thought to be smart. What is truly profound is thought to be stupid and trivial, or worse, boring, while what is actually stupid and trivial is thought to be profound."

Take note...Here is the KICKER:

"In fact, the popular sayings attract only because people are haunted by the idea from the intellectual heights that life is, in reality, absurd. Thus the only acceptable relief is to be cute or clever. In homes and in public buildings of the past, words of serious and unselfconscious exhortation, invocation, and blessing were hung or carved in stone and wood. But that world has passed. Now the law is "Be cute or die." The only sincerity bearable is clever insincerity. That is what the clothing and greeting card graffiti really scream out. The particular "message" doesn't matter.

And yet we have to act. The rocket of our life is off the pad. Action is forever. We are becoming who we will be--forever. Absurdity and cuteness are fine to chuckle over and perhaps to muse upon. But they are no place to live. They provide no shelter or direction for being human."

-Dallas Willard
The Divine Conspiracy

I choose the deeper things in life.


P.S.- Want to check out the book? Go here!

That is so true, and a perfect example of high school.
I was at the Dallas Willard conference ... how did you enjoy it? I thought that he had good things to say but said them in a bit of a dry and academic fashion.
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