Art and Eternity · Touching Transcendence · Uncategorized

Turning Down The Noise

In a vintage song Carly Simon thanks her new lover for showing her how to “turn down the noise” in her mind. I don’t know what her lover did that encouraged her to change her life, but she was grateful.

No new lover here. The powerful and moving witness of the 21 Martyrs, the Coptic Christians murdered in Libya, and their families, has compelled me to turn down the noise in my mind. A brother of two of the martyrs was quoted by Kathryn Jean Lopez in “Heaven In the Face of Hell”  (National Review Online): “We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs,” he explained. Lopez asks: “Who would have an ounce of gratitude at such a moment? The answer: one who has hope — hope of something real and eternal.”

Is my hope that real?

Coptic Church in Cairo, Egypt By Effeietsanders (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
Coptic Church in Cairo, Egypt
By Effeietsanders (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Lopez again: “It sounds crazy to a modern secular society, one that tends to view religious faith as sentiment, comfort, and milestone ritual.” I hate to say it, but many Christians, myself included, view faith as a source of comfort. It’s a cozy way to think about life.

I hunger for a robust faith that speaks as the brother of two martyrs. That’s why I’m so passionate about the arts, imagination and creativity in the Christian faith. The arts give us a way to wrestle with these profound questions of hope and a faith even unto death. A robust art will help me turn down the noise and focus on what’s eternal. It will help me develop a robust faith that can speak with confidence in a God of hope.

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Art and Eternity

How To Gain Control Of Your Time

I have a True Confession to make. I know you’ll be shocked, shocked that I share this preoccupation with you. Wait…here it is:

What time is it? How much time did _________ take? How much longer until ______? Can I cram this task into the five minutes before my next appointment?  That took longer than I thought!  I can’t do that, I’m too busy. ???????????????????????????????????????

I’m working on that obsession. I’ve stopped saying “I don’t have time.”  If I’m honest with myself, it’s a lie.

I have all the time I need to live my life. To believe anything else is a lie.

It’s a hard truth, isn’t it?

The issue isn’t time, it’s our choices in using it.  If I “don’t have time” for __________, I am spending my time doing something else that is a higher priority. Those priorities may be unwelcome, such as with trying circumstances, or maybe I’m obligated through commitments, but I’ve still made choices.  If I proclaim I don’t have time, I’m making something else responsible for my decisions.

Of course, there are exceptions. People fighting terminal illness face limited time, at least on earth.

The rest of us need to be honest.  I don’t see Jesus proclaiming how busy He was or talking about needing to “make time.” He ordered his life around one priority: doing the Father’s work.

So as I celebrate the passage of time into this New Year, my goal is to choose priorities in the light of eternity’s timelessness