Saturday, September 21, 2013
Embracing Obscurity- Chapter 1
(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)
Chapter 1: One in a Billion
- In this chapter, the author uses several tactics to point out how insignificant we are, despite our personal thoughts on the matter. He points to the sheer number of humans on earth, the incredible detail and quantity of living organisms, the enormity of the expanse of the known creation, and the fact that most of us will live and die relatively unnoticed in the grand scheme of things.
- I can't specifically remember a time when a huge number of people just impressed on me my insignificance. The closest thing I could come up with was at an international marketplace near Christmas a couple of years ago. Several things added together to really make me feel disconnected from the event and from the other people there. As a result, I felt very insignificant. Do any of you have a "moment" as he referred to?
- Numbers can get so big that they lose their force. In those instances, comparison can do much to give perspective. His scaling down the numbers about the sun, the solar system, and the Milky Way made it much clearer for me: "If our solar system were represented on a twelve-inch ruler, our sun ... would be smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. On this same scale, our galaxy, The Milky Way, would be larger than the Pacific Ocean." (Page 8) Wow! (By the way, any of you following the story of the Voyager 1 probe leaving the solar system after ... 36 years? Think how long it'll take to get out of the Milky Way!)
- He said that many men and women of God "have come to think little of themselves in light of all that God is and does." (Page 9) In meditating on this, I noticed some flawed thinking in my own mind. When I picture thinking little of myself, I imagine me actively putting down and/or devaluing myself. However, after reading this quote, I think the emphasis is more on the fact that we are thinking so much of God and what He does, that there is little room for us to even think of ourselves.
- I will admit that my flesh wants more recognition. I want people to see how good of a ________ I am. I want people to see they were wrong in their opinions of me. I want more people who look up to me, etc. I was challenged by the thought that very few of us truly want less of these things, yet that should by my mindset.
- After pointing out that, in the big picture, we all live in obscurity already, he mentions that we each have the "choice of whether to embrace personal obscurity- an obscurity of heart as much as position." (Page 11) I don't know what he is going to say in the rest of the book, but for me, this is the key thought of the book. Will my heart be content with being obscure, so that "Christ can be made more known?" (Page 13)
- I like his discussion questions. (Most books' discussion questions disappoint me.) I thought #7 was good for me: "How would you describe the difference between an obscurity of position and an obscurity of heart?" (Page 14) I would say that obscurity of position is something that we all have. Obscurity of heart is a choice we make that is counter-intuitive, for it goes against our sinful nature. We choose to direct our thoughts to our God's importance, rather than dwelling on our own.
I've had my say, what say you?
Discussion on Introduction
Discussion on Chapter 2