April 17, 2008

The Answer to the Dilemma

We have already seen how both deepness and shallowness can have terrible effects, so how then should we live?

The problem I've suggested to you (that is, either to be deep or to be shallow) is actually an either-or fallacy. The problem with both of them is that they put self first. Deepness encourages you to keep a large store of ideas in your heart, unwilling to share them with others. The message you send is that God isn't doing anything in your heart or that you don't trust in God to solve your problems. Shallowness shuns taking things seriously. Shallow actions reflect the idea that self must be served above all else.

I would propose that there is another possibility. We must be deep in Christ, not ourselves. (This proposal is not completely original. Much of the philosophy of this article was inspired from this post.) A mature outlook on life is not a problem- it is a gift! Yet we cannot be so caught up in our own intelligence that we forget that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We must be able to accept the fact that we cannot understand everything. But unlike the shallow response of wasting your life, it is imperative that rely on God to fill us.

What does deepness in Christ look like? I think that it is certainly a way of life. It involves putting self away, and being willing to devote everything we do to furthering God's kingdom. I will be the first to admit that I am far from reaching this goal. I have ignored opportunities to bless others, I've relied on my own understanding to win debate rounds. But if we set high standards for ourselves, we will be pushed to grow more.

I think the key to being deep in Christ is humility mixed with hope. That philosophy stems from 1 Peter 5:5-6.

"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Deepness in Christ will help avoid the problems presented in Parts one and two. The farther we delve in God's immeasurable depths, the more able to communicate His love we will become. Just like Aslan's followers eagerly went "further up and further in," forgetting themselves in their love for their leader, we will gain true joy in the pursuit of a deep relationship with our Lord. I'm not trying to write like an expert or a sage. All I know is that I love God, and following Him brings me joy.

In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman's song Dive,

I'm diving in, I'm going deep in over my head, I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head, I want to go
The river's deep, the river's wide, the river's water is alive
So sink or swim, I'm diving in!


April 6, 2008

The Option of Shallowness

If deepness* can lead to such disastrous consequences, what then shall we do? The option of shallowness** beckoned to several characters in literature.

First, let us examine the life of Dmitri, the eldest brother in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. He was one of the sensualists, yielding readily to his desires. Hot-tempered, impatient, and wild, he cared little for his future. His one aim was to have the girl Grushenka. Any happiness he reached from his actions was short-lived. His unwillingness to consider the consequences of his actions earned him a bad reputation, which eventually led him to be accused of murdering his father. This accusation was an error, but the court's decision was never reversed.

The next character we inspect comes from Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. One man, Augustine St. Clare, acts merely on his beautiful, saintly daughter Evangeline's requests. St. Clare does not spend time thinking about his future. He shuns spiritual discussion and refuses to have clear-cut views on slavery. He doesn't think what problems his actions may cause. When Eva dies, St. Clare is devastated. Uncle Tom (his slave and the protagonist of the book) tries to bring St. Clare to Christ, but death takes St. Clare first. Life is too short to allow to be shallow!

Have you watched either of The Princess Diaries? Princess Mia is silly, immature, and inestimably shallow. She relies on her feelings to make decisions, looks to her emotions to choose her future husband. She turns away from wise counsel, choosing instead to do what feels right. Her chief virtue, apparently her "heart of gold," translates merely into kindness to cute kids. (Naturally, wealth and beauty don't count as virtues.) Mia's immaturity and shallowness cause her great embarrassment and serve to put a bad face on her country. Hers is not the character we should strive to emulate! Sadly, girls across America choose this shallow character as their role model.

By looking into the lives and struggles of Mitya, St. Clare, and Mia, we see the results of choosing the option of shallowness, both on the characters themselves, and on the lives of those around them. People are always watching us. As Christians, our lives are to be beyond reproach. Clearly, we cannot fully serve Christ when our lives are shallow.

Continued in Part 3: The Answer to the Dilemma.

*By popular demand, the most relevant definitions...
Deepness:

Difficult to penetrate or understand; recondite: a deep metaphysical theory.
Of a mysterious or obscure nature: a deep secret; ancient and deep tribal rites.
Very learned or intellectual; wise: a deep philosopher.
Of a mysterious or obscure nature: a deep secret; ancient and deep tribal rites.
(American Heritage Dictionary)

The intellectual ability to penetrate deeply into ideas [syn: astuteness]
(WordNet)

**
Shallowness:

Lack of depth of knowledge or thought or feeling [syn: superficiality]
(Wordnet)