Monday, May 26, 2008

Pursue. Original.

I look out on the current landscape of Christian thought and am a little disconcerted and more than a little concerned about where we are headed. Most specifically, I am referring to our capacity to dream and pursue that which is new and original. It seems as if everything we do is a mashup or, in some cases, a direct copy of something else we've seen someone else doing. It sometimes seems as if we are not striving for our original idea, our own unique thought, but rather for a Jesusified version of something the "purveyors of cool" within our culture are doing. The hottest Christian bands are those that sound eerily similar to whatever the hottest "secular" band is doing. We have Christian Myspace clones, Christian...well everything. It's almost like we got tired of thinking for ourselves and thought it would be easier to merely rip off what someone else is doing, saying that we're offering an alternative to the things of the world, when in actuality we are just hiding behind our own lack of a desire to dig deep and find the kernel of originality that exists within each of us.

Here's my question- we say things like God makes no two people the same. We tout the originality of fingerprints, DNA, and snowflakes as proof that God is the most creative force in all the universe. We say that God is all powerful and can do any and everything he wants with the slightest of thoughts- mountains in the sea, sun standing still, yada yada. With all this power and originality, why do we still think it necessary to fall back on ripping off those around us. IF we truly are called to be in His image, and IF we believe that God is alive and working within us, how is it possible for us to merely clone those around us? What happened to the time when Christian thought led the day? What happened to the era when Christian scientists (not the denomination) were the main ones making advancements in all manner of scientific endeavors? Where has the pursuit of original music led by the Church gone? Why have we settled for the mediocre, saying that we're attempting to be "relevant" to our culture when in actuality we're just being lazy?

Original exists. It has to. If it doesn't then it means God has run out of good ideas or has run out of ways to convey them to us. If either of those two things are true, we're in a much worse place than merely not having music that is unique, websites and businesses that stand out from the masses, thought that stands above the fracas, or advancements in science and technology that make a difference as being more than just a repackaged and often more trite version of something some "brilliant" individual came up with. I dare to pursue the original in everything. Will I always attain it? Probably not, but not finding it does not mean it doesn't exist any more than not hearing God speak the first time I ask him for help means he does not exist. I dare to dream. I dare to pursue. I dare to be original.

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