Monday, October 29, 2007

Press 0 for an Emergency This Instant!

Press 0 for an Emergency

The phone on the wall in the fitness center has a huge sign above it: "Press 0 for an emergency."

What does that mean...really? If I wanted an emergency, I would dial zero?

What about the hair gel that says "For curly hair."

Does that mean that if I have straight hair but I want curly hair, I would use this product? Or vise versa?

Or, driving down the road, what about that yellow diamond-shaped sign that says "Shoulder work." Does it really know that I’ve been driving for hours and should relax my tense muscles, starting with some light shoulder rolls?! Or perhaps there’s a massage therapist at the next pullout, waiting for my business.

I’ve been known, in my own head, to communicate with striking clarity. I say exactly what I mean and describe with brilliant accuracy that which I want to express. However, I’ve also been known—by people in the REAL world—to communicate things that are completely contrary to what (I believe) I was actually saying. Why, WHY can’t people just live inside my head where everything makes sense?!

Do you ever feel like you must exist on another planet than those with whom you interact? Maybe things make sense in your own mind, but when you go to express yourself in words, the other person misses your meaning entirely. Perhaps you despise miscommunication…but miscommunication LOVES you.

Have you considered that Jesus Christ was often misunderstood by His best friends (see below)? Have you noticed how He never let that frustrate Him or cause Him to terminate any of His relationships? Do you think that, should you ever in the off-chance be misunderstood again, you could be the bigger person, apologizing for being unclear rather than blaming for misinterpretation?

"They kept asking, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying." John 16:18 (emphasis mine)

“If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.” 1 Corinthians 14:11

“You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much—so be sensible and watch what you say.” Proverbs 10:19 (Contemporary English Version)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Orange or Dip This Instant!

Orange or Dip

The orange is a spherical, solid mass of, well … orange. The attaching sections form the juicy parts we eat. These are protected by the outer peel. Both peel and flesh are orange in color. Hence the fitting name. This fresh food is beautiful in its own right, and a delight in every bite.

Move from the Floridian treat to the Mexican potluck fiesta favorite: seven-layer dip. Refried beans, guacamole, tomatoes, onions, cheese, olives, and sour cream. Take your chip and dig in. Go all the way from top to bottom and get all the layers smothered onto your crispy tortilla triangle. If you want just the guac, you’ll surely make a scene digging through the other layers to get there. Or, if you want just the olives, you’d be better off picking through Aunt Sally’s wilting bagged salad.

An orange and a pan of seven-layer dip. Both edible. Both consisting of different parts that form the whole. But an orange is an orange all the way through. You peel off one section, and you get an orange. You tear off a section on the other side, and you get the same orange. The fruit is simple. It’s clean. And it’s nature-grown.

Seven-layer dip, on the other hand, changes by the layer. Come at it from the side three layers down and you get cheese. Go straight to the bottom to get beans. Two totally different food groups. The dish is complicated. It’s messy. And it’s man-made.

If the word “integrity” comes from the word “integro” or “integer” and means “one” (and it does), can you claim your standing as an orange? Are you the same all the way through? If someone sampled who you are at work, would they get a different you at home? You may have many different layers or sections, but are they consistent?

If you note a disconnect in who you are around your coworkers than with your family, your boss and your waitress, your clients and your peers … are you perhaps re-making yourself for different audiences? Are you failing to be YOU through and through? Have you perhaps become … a bit of a dip?

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (ESV)

“A lot of people think integrity means honesty. But it actually means your whole life is the same; that you don’t act one way with one group and act with another group a different way. You’re the same all over.” Pastor Rick Warren