Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Common Grounds

What grounds you?

In their book, The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge and Brent Curtis noted that our culture produces a "thinning" effect on our souls, causing us to become "light", airy, and vulnerable to whatever blows in from the winds of our post-modern culture. They called this "ontological lightness, the reality that when I stop "doing" and simply listen to my heart, I am not anchored to anything substantive. I become aware that my very identity is synonymous with activity."

I a recent newsletter, Eldredge reflected on how, in the 10+ years since the publication of The Sacred Romance, this condition has only gotten worse. The piercing and tatooing movement, the "simplicity" movement, the increased obsession with celebrities, and the popularity of "reality" television all point to a deep need for substance, groundedness, and a deeper sense of self .

And with social media like facebook (and blogs....gulp), one writer noted that "we can digitally represent ourselves without having to be ourselves."

It all seems so hollow. Yet I am just as susceptible to this as the next person.

In the book of Acts, chapter 17 verse 28, the Apostle Paul, in presenting the news of Jesus to a curious crowd of skeptics and seekers in Athens, notes that "in him we live and move and have our being." Any other place we look for groundedness comes up short.

How do you stay grounded? If you are a Christ-follower, what do you do to remind yourself that you are one in whom Christ dwells? What do you do to keep your identity rooted in Him?

1 comment:

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

What an interesting post...yes, there is a transient, disingenuous side to our online world, if only one of omission. We certainly don't want to talk about every little thing in our lives or the lives of those around us with the internet, but of course these details affect our being.

Have you ever read Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being? If I had to nail down my favorite book ever, it might be this one. Though it doesn't discuss the internet, it does a pretty good job of discussing honest with ones self, etc. From wikipedia:

The German expression, Einmal ist keinmal (once is never) encapsulates “lightness,” the concept of which is well expressed in the quote: “what happens but once, might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all.” Following this logic, life is insignificant, and decisions do not matter, and are thus rendered light, because they do not cause personal suffering. Yet the insignificance of decisions — our being — causes us great suffering, perceived as the unbearable lightness of being consequent to one’s awareness of life occurring once and never again; thus no one person’s actions are universally significant. This insignificance is existentially unbearable when it is considered that people want their lives to have transcendent meaning.

I'm not a Christ-follower, but what I do to stay rooted in myself, to stay grounded, is to remind myself of my ideals and goals, and re-evaluate them from time to time. I try to become the person that I want to be, by caring for myself, my family, my friends, my community, and my world. Myself first, because without myself there is nothing I can do for others. So I eat right, sleep well, exercise, read books, etc. Then in concentric circles from there, I try to care as best I can for my family, friends, etc. A question to ask yourself is, 'am I happy? am I fulfilled?' and if the answers are no, than I need to figure out what I can do to change it, and make myself happier, more fulfilled. Tracy offered me such a beautiful example of this when I first 'met' her, when she posted about escaping from her mundane job by going into the bathroom and singing. Sometimes you can't quit your mundane job, but you might be able to go somewhere and sing for a minute. For you, it brings you closer to God. For me, it brings me closer to inner peace.