Thursday, April 10, 2008

(Overheard) Conversation in Toronto

While on a business trip in Toronto, (cool city BTW) I was on a TTC train and I overheard a conversation between some young people. They were talking about the "mental state" of Torontonians compared with those living in other major cities in Canada. This discussion piqued my interest and I remember clearly many of the things that were said. On a side note, I was not technically eavesdropping as they were standing right beside me. Kind of hard not to “listen-in” especially since colorful language was used and they were the only ones talking on the train. Anyway, this one paticular young man was almost angry, neigh outraged by the complacency of people who reside in Toronto. He talked about how people walk around like mindless automatons, detached from everything going on around them. I have news for the young men, this “condition” is a widespread disease in urban and, to some extent, suburban North America. We have almost become a society of hermits, each of us creating our own “man caves”. (or woman caves ; ) Several people have called it an “us four and no more” mentality, no room for any outsiders in a group, or from most of our high school days, a “clique”.

I have read where people condense it down to, “We detach daily form others, from what we cannot control, from what we cannot change.” What we need to realize is that there are plenty of things we can change, not just in our own lives but in those who are around us. We need to all think about what kind of legacy we are going to leave behind, starting today. A recent message from our pastor,
Rob, outlined this perfectly and it was titled “Living the Dash”. Essentially we have no choice where we are born or when we will die but we have almost complete control of how we live our “dash”, the – that will be on our headstones. If you get a chance I encourage you to listen to it on the podcast here It is a great message from our church’s latest relevant series “One Month to Live”.

In a speech in the 1960’s Timothy Leary said “Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.” Most people instantly thought he meant take drugs to become enlightened and leave society behind. Years later in an autobiography he explained what he meant and I would like to use that as a template here for my own view on this expression and the relation it has to the post.

'Turn on' meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them.Become aware that you were created for a purpose, find out what it is.

'Tune in' meant interact harmoniously with the world around you - externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives.Become an active participant in not only your own life but in the lives of those who you come in contact with.

'Drop Out' meant self-reliance, a discovery of one's singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Leave behind mainstream society’s idea of what “having it all” means.

I believe that all this can best be summed up in Romans 12:2 (The message) - So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

That is what I want my dash to say to people, and more importantly, to God.