Posts Tagged ‘ creativity ’

On the Chopping Block

The Daily Selectionary

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings: (AM) Psalm 20, 21:1-7(8-14); (PM) Psalm 110:1-5(6-7), 116, 117   
Isa. 43:1-13; Eph. 3:14-21; Mark 2:23-3:6 

Eucharistic ReadingsHeb. 4:12-16
Psalm 19:7-14; Mark 2:13-17

 

On the Chopping Block

Christopher Hodge

 

Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,* 15from whom every family* in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

                We have all found ourselves on our very own chopping blocks at one time or the other.  We are all born into this world and are given special gifts and talents.  Our dreams of who we wish we would become are birthed out of these gifts from God which he has placed within us.    Yet, so many times these desires lay dormant.  They may hold a prominent place in our lives while we are still playing as children.  A young girl who pretends that she is a famous singer may have a talent that could propel her to indeed become one later in life.  A young boy who spends his time alone in his room creating objects from his Play-Do could be exercising a talent that he could use later in life to become an influential artist.  Children do all sorts of things, and many times we pass their play time away as just kids being kids. 

                Maybe this is where our blocks come from as adults.  Somewhere during our passage into adulthood we were forced to throw away our passions because we were told it was time to grow up; to leave our play time behind us and to find a suitable trade that will give us money so we can get married and raise a typical American family.  After all, digging around in clay will not feed our kids, or buy the new washing machine when it goes kaput. 

                Most of us have given up on the things that make us happy, that make us become ourselves for the sake of popular conformity.  Even though we kicked off our ballerina slippers and hid our colored chalks in a drawer to become doctors, electricians, lawyers and automobile mechanics, at the end of the day there is something nagging at us making us feel that we have somehow let ourselves down.  We may watch a movie or read a book and find ourselves become instantly depressed.  There was a character we related to that was performing a work and lived a life that we strongly desired we would have done.  We go to sleep and wake up the next day and leave those desires behind for the sake of our “safe” jobs.

                There is no doubt in my mind that these inklings within us are formed before the beginning of our first cry.  God had a plan in mind for each one of us and has given us the tools necessary to see that we make it happen.  We may think that it is easier said than done.  But as long as we hide our talents and our gifts from ourselves and from the world, we will always have that constant nagging in our hearts prompting us to wonder what could have been. 

                Are you doing what you are supposed to be doing?  Are you fulfilling your dreams?  I admit that I am extremely guilty of placing my gifts on hold.  Now, at 34, I have finally embraced them again and I am finding that there has been an explosion of energy within my spirit.  I am getting back in touch with that child who used to be free.  ”Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.”  The old cliché that it is never too late is entirely true. 

                Let us make a commitment to each other that we will schedule a play date with our inner child sometime this next week, maybe even today.  Have a tea party with the younger you and have a conversation with her.  What part of your talk opened you up?  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Can we make a commitment to ourselves to allow ourselves to become what God set out for us to do?

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at www.satucket.com/lectionary.  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this devotion to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – © Christopher Hodge  2011   email: ChristopherHodgeWriter@gmail.com

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The Rogue Ninja Child

The Daily Selectionary

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings: (AM) Psalm 16, 17; (PM) Psalm 22   
Isa. 42:(1-9)10-17; Eph. 3:1-13; Mark 2:13-22 

Eucharistic ReadingsHeb. 4:1-5,11
Psalm 78:3-8; Mark 2:1-12

 

The Rogue Ninja Child

Christopher Hodge

 

Mark 2:13-22

13 He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.”.

                There has been this inner turmoil with me since I can remember.  My interests have always been in the arts.  In kindergarten I was even writing short stories.  I can not recall most of them.  I can remember that I gained a lot of popularity from my school chums and some recognition from the teachers.  All of the talk about my writing was not all positive.  It had nothing to do with the writing itself, grammar etc.  It had to do with the content.  I remember when I was in third grade there was a parent-teacher conference pulled on me to discuss worry about my state of mind.  Apparently I had scared the powers-that-be with a story I had written about a rogue ninja child who, in part of his initiation, had to ransack through his own house and kill his parents.  Where that scribbled story came from I have no clue.  I was highly into ninjas then.  I watched a lot of movies and some of them probably were too violent for a nine year-old, but they fueled my imagination.  It was just a story.  They finally chalked it up to a “wild mind.” It is comical thinking back on that story and the reaction that came from it.  That is when I decided I wanted to be a writer one day.  That reaction from my readers fed me something then that I started craving; I wanted more.

                I tell this story from my early childhood because it does somehow relate to today’s reading.  At least it has done some relating for me.  Growing up in a religious household as the son of a Southern Baptist preacher, my mother took notice of my creativity, my “wild mind,” and decided to try to direct it toward a positive door passage: evangelical Christian publishing houses.  She was afraid that I would be hanging with the wrong crowd if I did not invite Christ into my writing.  She knew I loved horror.  Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness was very popular then and I decided to read it.  Not bad.  It did satisfy me in some way, but I knew even then that I did not want to be pigeon-holed into a category; especially a rigid evangelical one.  I was a Christian.  I was proud of that fact, and as my faith grew as I got older, I started taking Christ’s reactions to nay-sayers, like those in today’s passage to heart.  “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  My writing has developed a spiritual slant over the years.  Flannery O’Connor comes to mind as one of my inspirations, how she welded together her deep Catholic upbringing with the peculiarities of the deep-south. 

                Jesus enjoyed hanging out in the bars with those whom the religious elite found offensive.  Why would he spend his days inside the church talking scriptural law with those who already knew it?  Sadly, a lot of the leaders in the churches knew the law but lived like they were above God’s laws; like they were there to make sure everyone else was following them.  When Jesus spoke to those who were not part of the inner circle of Pharisees, God’s words fell on receptive ears for the most part.  The spirit quenched their thirst for their deserted longings.  The religious leaders could mutter whatever they wanted against him, but Jesus stayed his course.

                As I pursue my fiction, I hope to somehow be what Jesus was.  I want my subtly worded stories to speak to hearts.  We never know what is going on in the minds of those around us.  Preaching to people is not going to lead them to the love that Christ set out to give.  It is only by being among those in the world, and by living a real and not a fake “churchy” life among them, that God’s creation can embrace all that He has created for them.

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at www.satucket.com/lectionary.  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this devotion to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – © Christopher Hodge  2011   email: ChristopherHodgeWriter@gmail.com