Saturday, September 28, 2013

Embracing Obscurity- Chapter 2

(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 2: Embracing Definition 

- This chapter is a call to examine ourselves and see what we allow to define us.  In finding that, we find the source of our pride- which is clearly something that needs rooted out of our lives.

- "We know that others are judging us by our 'cover,' and we really, really want them to like what they see." (Page 20)  I don't think I have ever verbalized this to anyone else, but I know it is true for me.  If someone dislikes me, I want them to see that that reason is not valid- either they have misunderstood me, or they are simply wrong in their thoughts.  I could easily see that this is an area of pride in my life.

- He pointed out that the things that are our "subtitles" all point to a pursuit, regardless of whether or not there is an accomplishment.  This helped me to see that we often are proud about our direction, even if we haven't already reached an important destination.

- In the questions at the end of the chapter, he asked which of the people we were most like.  I think my personal "subtitle" is a hodge podge of different ones.  There were a few phrases in these character studies that I easily identified with:
    "Over time he has allowed success in his field to define his success as a person." (Page 23)
    "...she feels like she hasn't accomplished enough." (Page 25)
    "...making it big- by proving himself." (Page 25)
    "Being faced with the relative commonality of her skills..." (Page 25)
    "...wants others to be jealous of..." (Page 26)

- I did some thinking about my subtitle, but there were some questions I couldn't give a definite answer to.  I need more time to think and to ask God what things I am allowing/wanting to define me and what glory I want from them.

- I think that if I were to no longer have a "ministry" job and would be working a "secular" job, I would struggle with feeling like my identity had changed.  I think part of that is a respect for the God's calling, but I think part of that is a false way of measuring myself- by what position I am in.

- We believers often incorrectly define "success" for a person in ministry or for a ministry itself.  Then, we measure people, ourselves included, by that definition.  I want to be a man who knows what God has for him to do and who does it, seeing that as true success.  However, I know in my heart there are many things that fight against that.  I often want to define success by my ministry activities, my ministry abilities/results, number of churches planted (pursuit, not accomplishment), etc.  I need the Lord to help me turn my eyes off myself.

- He quoted Piper as saying, "I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins." (Page 33)  It is so easy to be in between those- we are not really making peace, but it is not a war in which we are fully engaged.   

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 1
Discussion on Chapter 3

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if I'm going to like this book - too challenging. :) What he has to say about subtitles is very convicting. Too many preachers meetings become about subtitles and accomplishments. As an Assistant Pastor it is even more noticeable since us 'second class' preachers want to make the first class notice us, or even better prove that we are just as good as they are. Instead of humility.

    The idea of losing my ministry job and working a secular job got me to thinking. Are we defining ourselves as preachers because it is a vocation or because it is a calling? If I were to lose my full-time status, it would not change my call - I would still be a preacher of the Gospel. The key I guess, is the difference between defining what God has called us to do and glorying in that as though we accomplished anything.

    (1 Corinthians 9:16)
    16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!