Thursday, 25 November 2010

James Dean, Death and Living for now

When I was at university I remember this poster being an ever present in poster shops. I think it was so popular because the sentiments at the bottom of this,

'Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.'

sum up most students attitude towards life. Death may be coming but the only thing we can do about it is make the most of each day we get.

Now cool though James Dean undoubtedly looks, this poster somewhat irritates me.

Firstly I don't think it's possible for most people. You see only rich people can live each day like it's their last. I unfortunately have to live many days as if it's not my last so that I can enjoy other days more. I work all week so that on Friday I can have a takeout. If I lived Monday like it was my last I would not work but I assume I'll be around at the weekend, I assume I'll be around in 6 months for a holiday and so live days looking forward to that.

However, even if it were possible I'm not sure it's terribly helpful. You see what this in essence says is that death is a reality but there's nothing you can do about it so just enjoy whatever time you get! Now this is not terribly liberating but may be as good as we can hope for if death is a reality and there is nothing we can do to get ready. Now death is a reality and it's coming for all of us so the only question we're left with is can we do anything to get ready for it? Is death really the end and if not what do we do to prepare for what comes after.

People tend not to think about this issue and so fall into an attitude simply says, 'Death is coming. There's nothing I can do about it so I'd better make the most of however much time I've got.'
However, the Bible suggests that there is something after death. That death is not the end and that after that there will be eternity. If this is true then suddenly life is about more than just doing what you can with the time you have. If this is true then life is about getting ready for eternity.

In order to be ready for the perfect world God says he is creating we surely have to be made perfect. Jesus asserts that he can offer us forgiveness (through his death on the cross) and that he will then make us perfect so we are ready for this world (a work completed after we die not before). Life is therefore about getting to know Jesus, finding the forgiveness and life he offers as this is something which will outlast death.

So is there anything after death? If not then eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die. But if there is something after death then don't waste your life assuming that there isn't.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Why I love being right

There are few greater sensations than being right. Whether it's successfully predicting what's going to happen in a situation or winning a quiz or, the ultimate, winning an argument, being right is a fantastic experience and I love it.

However, I suddenly realise that this might be a problem. Proverbs 12v15 reads...
'The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.'

So there may be a problem with my being right. It may be that actually I'm not right at all I'm just so stupid that I think I'm right.
You see it's possible to be right because you are right. 2+2=4 is right and I know this because I have sufficient information to know.
However, when I was growing up I was convinced that Chesney Hawks 'I am the one and only' was the best song ever recorded as I blasted it out from my bedroom. Now here I thought I was right but actually I was a fool. I just didn't have enough information. I didn't know enough songs and so despite being right in my own eyes the whole world could see I was a fool.

So here's the challenge for me? Stop thinking I'm right all the time, stop valuing thinking/proving that I am right and start listening to people. You see what this proverb encourages us to do is keep an open mind and keep questioning those things which we think are right.

People tend to be very bad at doing this. Christian tend to sit happily on their theology confident they are right and not allowing it to be challenged. You may be right but you also may be a fool without the information necessary to make you realise you are a fool. So go to church an be challenged, read books and be challenged, talk to people and be challenged. People who aren't Christians though can be just as bad. They think they are right and know so much but never expose them to things which challenge those ideas. You might be right or you just might not have enough information to realise you are wrong. I mean why not venture into a church? Why not talk to a Christian? Why not read a gospel? Why not get more information and allow what you know to be right to be challenged?

'The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.'