Failing to Notice


In an email conversation with a friend last week, I was challenged to consider the idea that maybe I take life a bit too seriously. Perhaps I should lighten up, think a bit less, turn off my mind and just enjoy certain things without examining their deeper meanings or subconscious influences on my life. Now this friend didn’t say these things or challenge me to do so, but the course of the conversation led me to consider these things myself.

I’ve been in a season of reflecting on the question, “God, what in the world am I doing here?” and to have someone who’s not in my head ask the same question was disheartening to say the least. It caused the question to move from a philosophical inquiry to a full out examination of how I do life and teaching and ministry.

But this morning I read a “knot” by R.D. Laing while doing some research for class, and it confirmed for me that, in this case, to follow the masses would be the worst plan for me and completely counter to everything I’ve spent the last decade of my life working to change in my life.

The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.

There seems to be an epidemic of failing to notice in our society today. But the more time I spend reading and trying to share what I am learning about learning and thinking and intentional living, the more I see that, for many, the problem isn’t just not knowing. The problem is that many do not want to know. Because to know is to reflect, and to reflect is to critique. And often, to critique means to change. And change is a double problem, because to change, one must first admit they were wrong and must second work hard to discover the error and correct it.

Ignorance truly is bliss. But for the believer, to live in ignorance is to live in disobedience. To be created in the image of the omniscient God is to possess an inherent curiosity, a desire to both know and be known.

So how do we begin to think and to know in a world that emphasizes being known at the expense of knowing anything beyond ourselves?

Today, I believe I will just say that a first step would be to simply begin noticing just how much we fail to notice each and every day. From the mundane to the grandiose, there is so much we fail to notice around us.

Today, I believe I will simply stop and notice.

A New and Living Way, Part 1


In 2001, Disney released the movie The Princess Diaries. In the movie, Mia, a socially awkward but very bright 15-year-old girl who is being raised by a single mom, discovers that the father she never knew has recently died. Not long after his death, her grandmother appears at her house and announces to Mia that she is the princess of a small European country. Her father had been the crown prince, and since he has died, the country will pass from the hands of her family if Mia does not announce her claim to the throne.

As you might imagine, this revelation of her family lineage is quite shocking for this teen girl. Her grandmother asks her to take etiquette, dance, and speech lessons so that she is prepared to fulfill the role of European princess. At first Mia rebels against the idea of taking on a new identity. She begins the lessons, but as she learns of the rules and responsibilities, along with the sacrifices she must make for this life, she questions her ability to fulfill the role. Things only get worse when her friends and classmates learn of her true identity and they begin to reject and even make fun of her. At one point, Mia gets so frustrated with the process of becoming a princess that she walks out on one of her lessons and exclaims in frustration that she wishes her grandmother had never come to tell her of her true identity.

Much like young Mia, many Christians question their identity and calling when they begin to truly understand the responsibilities and sacrifices of being a follower of Christ. Some really doubt and even consider walking away when they face persecution from those around them. Many of the Jewish believers in the first century church were experiencing doubts about their new faith in the face of persecution from both their families and the Roman government.

The Letter to the Hebrews was written to followers of Christ who may have been tempted to return to Judaism in light of the persecution that followed their conversion to Christianity. The theme of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Jewish system of religion. Hebrews 10:19-25 was specifically written in order to reassure those believers that they had full access to God through Jesus Christ, the Great Priest and mediator of the New Covenant, and to encourage them to live lives that confidently reflected their positions as children in the house of God. In this series of posts, I want to share with you how you can know you are a child of God and what being a child of God looks like as we interact with Him, with the world around us, and with one another in the church.