I was reading in the Bible the other day, and I ran across this passage:
"6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" - 1 Corinthians 2:6-8
This rings true, even today. The "wisdom" of the World is at odds with God's wisdom. And I'm not talking about science- I'm talking about worldly "wisdom" that says the only purpose of man is to acquire wealth and power. That there is no absolute truth. That Self is all that matters.
Sometimes I wonder why more people don't understand that their actions are leading them to destruction, but again, the Disciple Paul knows why:
"14 But a natural (worldly) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
Wisdom isn't the same thing as intelligence. I keep telling my kids they're smart, but inexperienced- and wisdom is the application of experience. You can't make wise decisions unless you either 1. learn from personal experience, or 2. learn from someone else's experience. The Bible is full of wisdom, if one were so inclined to read it. But be warned! It might not make sense if you're not trying to follow God's ways.
On that note: Intelligence is a fact, a statistical number, not something to be egotistical about. I'm no more proud of it than I am proud that I have blue eyes... I had no influence in the matter. But like any other tool, it must be honed to a fine edge in order to get the most effective use out of it. If you possessed a powerful weapon, but never trained with it or sharpened it, how effective would it be in an emergency? Not very effective at all, I'd imagine.
Ego says "I deserve to be treated better because I'm smart. My life should be easy."
Reality says "you don't have to tell people you're smart." Simply do what you need to do. Those who are also smart will recognize it in your actions, not your words. Plenty of people say they're smart. Precious few act like it.
The Dark World doesn't care if you're smart. In fact, much pain and suffering were meted out to me because of those who were jealous of my academic standing. I would have been better off playing along and learning advanced math on my own. I eventually figured it out, but those harsh lessons stay with me even to this day.
If you're smart AND wise, then you'll recognize the truth in what I'm saying.
If you're not sure, then you might want to listen to someone who's learned from experience...
The Third Law is Purpose.
Without purpose, we are no different than animals: instinctively roaming about, completely at the whim of the Dark World.
Purpose is something we can change. Purpose is something we can decide for ourselves. We are not bound to mere survival, as are the beasts of the Earth. We have possibilities. Without Purpose, there is no point to accomplishing anything.
What is your life's purpose? Do you even know?
Don't be surprised if you can't explicitly answer this. I couldn't either, for a very long time.
At some point you're probably going to stop and think, "What am I doing with my life?" which is code for "I don't know what my life's purpose is." And if you're a Christian, the answer isn't necessarily simplified. As a young believer in the faith, my thoughts went something like this:
"What is my purpose? To do whatever God wants me to do. My purpose is to… to what? Provide for my family? Glorify God? Those are all pat answers. I want to know what my singular, most powerful purpose really is."
But what does that mean, exactly? What does it mean to "fulfill God's purpose in your life?" Can you give specifics? Can you quantify "Love thy neighbor as yourself?" Do these look the same for every person? Of course they don't. Over the years, God has given people purpose in many ways, for many different reasons. And He's even changed people's purposes over time. So again, what does that mean for you and me?
For a few months now, I've been wanting to get my hands on an old typewriter. Preferably, a manual (non-electric) one. And what happens to show up at the local Goodwill??
A mid-1960's Underwood Touch-Master 5. It's crusty, dirty, and needs a lot of cleaning, but it works! And it was a steal at $15.
My 11-year-old secretary couldn't resist playing with it. It's so tactile! And it makes a nice, solid "clack" noise every time you type a letter. What's not to love?
The Second Law is Concealment.
This immediately throws up red flags. "Concealment? Are you being sneaky? Are you trying to hide something, or be dishonest?"
Let's try a thought experiment. You go into a job interview, for which you're barely qualified. You're riddled with doubt, but you really want this job. Are you going to go into the interview with doubt and fear written all over your face? No, of course not.
You conceal your real feelings. You smile, you act confident, and you do what it takes to accomplish your goal.
The opposite of concealing is revealing. Do you really want to reveal everything about yourself to everyone? No, of course you don't. The problem is, we do it all the time without even realizing it. And so, the Second Law urges us to pay attention to what we reveal about ourselves- and conceal what is necessary to ensure our survival in the Dark World. This doesn't necessarily mean deception, lying, or things of that nature. It is a simple evaluation of how we unwittingly make ourselves vulnerable by revealing too much.
Once in a while, you run across something that's so magnificently and bluntly honest that you just have to stop and look at it again, as if to say "what?"
Reading Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws is like that. It's not something you can skim in an afternoon while delicately sipping on a latte. It's both eloquently written, and brutally realistic. But at the core, is it something worth reading, or is it just poetic drivel and fluff?
Each section begins with a story directly from Throne's life, and embodies some facet of the Nine Laws. They are powerfully moving stories in their own right, but as examples of the way the Dark World works, they're more than that. The Laws are defined, and then the last section explains each one. The reader is given thought exercises to get them to understand where they are in relation to the Dark World, and then take action based on that realization.
I decided, in light of wanting to be honest, to dig into the philosophy of the book itself and see if it held water when juxtaposed with a Christian's worldview. I will warn you: this wasn't easy, or simple. It is a complex philosophy, and even a single misstep could transform the entire thing into a conflagration of failure. If all the Nine Laws rely on each other, and even one of them is false, then the whole tower comes toppling down. I am still working through it, but needless to say, there's a lot of truth there.
I can't even begin to delve into the meaning of the whole book in a mere thousand words, so there's a good possibility this will take more than one post. But I would rather do the book justice than stamp a gold seal on it and lead someone astray. My readers deserve it, and I'm sure Mr. Throne wouldn't have it any other way.
So, without further ado, here are the Nine Laws:
Is your laptop broken, worn out, or just not not working like it should? I can fix it! Computer has a virus? Need an upgrade? No problem.
Don't throw those computers away! I've been repairing and rebuilding computers since before Windows 95 existed.
Do you want to build a computer for a special purpose? Home entertainment system, gaming, home or small business servers, or something else? I can help! I'm also experienced in building virus-proof Linux-powered computers, and can train users in using software as well.
I've done contract computer work for the U.S. Military, Ochsner Hospital, John Deere, and lots of other businesses. And I can use all that experience to help you!
Took my day off to fix the fuel line leak on the Rambler Marlin. I also discovered it's leaking brake fluid from the right front caliper, but that's for another day. Here's the before and after:
It of course needs to have the tailpipe wrapped in heat-resistant header wrap. That was part of the problem in the first place: the heat helped the floor rot out right above it rather quickly, and the rusty floor wore through the hard line. The fuel line being so close to the tailpipe also caused it to leave me stranded on at least one occasion, from boiling the gasoline right in the fuel line! But at least it's driveable again.
What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? What does it mean, what does it require? I spent some time this weekend contemplating on what I needed to do, at the very least, to say I'm actively living out my faith.
What are the basic tenets of Christian Faith? What is non-negotiable? Your mind may be swimming with ideas of charity, piety, prayers, who knows.
The first place we should be looking for an example of living out the Christian Faith is Christ Himself.
I've narrowed down the most crucial responsibilities of the Believer to these three things:
Now, we're supposed to act out our faith in deeds as well, but for building the foundation of our faith, these three are it. The "Building Blocks," as it were.
In a few weeks, I'll be unemployed, and I will finally get the chance to go back to being self-employed. This is a big risk for me, of course, because there's always the possibility that I'll just not find enough work, and will have to go back working for a big company to pay the bills.
I do not want to go back to work for someone else. This means I'm going to have to do my best to scrape up work on my own, for various things.
What kind of "Living Outside The Box" guy would I be if I didn't though, right?
I'm offering my services as a freelancer in several areas:
- Book/general copy editing (Have edited/formatted my own book, and a few for others)
- Article writing (I write here, and several other blogs on a regular basis)
- Music lessons (I majored in theory, instrumental performance, etc. in college)
- Background music for Youtube videos and podcasts (Have several satisfied customers already)
- Computer tech work (20 years experience, and HP certified)
Plus I'm going to work on finishing more novels and music projects for my own income. I may even branch out into other areas as time permits. I'm flexible, and in about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start adding jobs to my schedule.