This blog has been a really healthy part of my growth over the past year. I was discussing with a friend recently how blogging has helped me, and it has made me very thankful that I actually started it. I was wary about writing on a blog.
Output is a big part of learning. In school there are phases with heavy amounts of input (reading, lectures, attending vast amounts of performances…), and with each phase of input there needs to be a phase of output to match. The form of output depends on content. For instance, for music, output would be performances. For sports, it would be games/competitions. For art, it would be a senior show. For many Bachelor of Arts programs, output often looks like a lot of very long papers or speeches. If you are pursuing your doctorate, you basically have to write a book.
Output has a few purposes.
1. It helps the individual digest, organize, and apply input practically to life. Basically, if we have tons of input and no output, that input may never solidify or become usable information.
2. It proves to others the level of knowledge that individual has earned. For education, it could be a way of proving they have earned their degree. For an orchestra, it is a way to prove which chair you deserve based on your abilities, and so on.
For a blog, I guess it mainly just proves to myself that I will always keep growing and learning, even though I am not in school. More importantly though, this blog has helped me digest what I am still learning. In school, I always had opportunities (like speeches, performances, papers, or projects) that gave me a chance to organize what I was learning and apply it into my general base of knowledge. Since school, this blog has been a huge help for me to continue.
I read a lot, listen to long historical podcasts, follow global news, listen to sermons, read daily devotions, talk to lots of amazing people, and work/volunteer almost every day. That is A LOT of input, and eventually all that turns into either blog posts that get posted or blog posts that get discarded.
Just as an example, over the past two months or so, I have had this searing and overwhelming idea that I would like to figure out how it applies to me. I have written several (discarded) posts on the topic. It has taken time for me to figure out what I’m learning, how to word it, and why it even matters to me (other than my obsessively philosophical personality).
If you are familiar at all with my blog, you will know that I post a lot of verses from the Bible to back up what I say. Basically, as I’ve come into contact with contrary views to the Bible throughout my life, I have tended to take a more stubborn position of resistance like, “Nope. I’m not budging. If you choose to believe differently, that’s fine, but for my own sanity and faith I am going to walk away and stay strong in what I believe.” (There is a time to think like that, by the way.) As a young adult, literally everyone is trying to sell something to you, whether it be religion, an idea, political positions, or lifestyle, and it was a healthy way to enter adulthood with a stubborn personality, refusing to be swayed or manipulated.
Recently I’ve been going back and reviewing those areas that I protected so much. I’ve started looking at different opinions, not for the sake of changing mine, but rather because I want to know why and understand where different ideologies come from.
History, religion, and money seem like overarching motives in so many disagreements. I find it really easy to put myself in others’ shoes, and they make sense. I understand where they are coming from, and yet I disagree. How is that possible?
I struggled with this a little, until I tried to start looking on it the way God would look at it from a more aerial (or out of context of time) view. Differences in ultimate authority is where I landed and what I’ve been struggling to put into words.
Ultimate authority (whether a god, religion, leader, political view, military stance, human logic, ideology or anything) is what individuals give the right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. Basically, disagreements happen when people have different ultimate authorities. Someone who recognizes God (the Bible) as an ultimate authority is going to clash with someone who recognizes the pope as an ultimate authority. Someone who recognizes a government as ultimate authority is going to clash with someone who recognizes the people as an ultimate authority. Someone who recognizes science/logic as an ultimate authority is going to clash with someone who recognizes traditional beliefs as an ultimate authority.
Why does this matter? Well, first it is a healthy reminder of who my ultimate authority is and why I believe what I believe and do what I do. Thus I intentionally make sure to anchor what I believe to the Bible. Everything that goes into my brain is run through a biblical worldview like a sieve.
Secondly, being able to recognize that someone’s disagreeable belief is coming from a different ultimate authority allows me to understand them better and helps me to witness better. It isn’t helpful to argue over unsolvable disagreements with someone who isn’t saved, because that isn’t the point. The point is that there needs to be a change in ultimate authority, and that only will happen when he or she enters into a relationship with Christ.
Also, just as a personal note of why I love dwelling on this, if everyone alive chose to submit to the same ultimate authority (God), that would be called world peace! Witnessing to people and pointing the unsaved to Christ is one of the most loving things we can do for others by caring about their afterlife, but it also is promoting world peace. We won’t see this until the millennium or heaven, but it is our job as believers left on earth to be working towards that goal. Matthew 5 says that peacemakers are blessed, and 2 Corinthians 5 tells us our new ministry as believers is one of reconciliation (either between man and man or between God and man).
It can be hard to take controversial stands that are not always politically correct, and it is even harder to stand for things we know are right but have been tarnished by human corruption. Isn’t corruption why so many people have left and deserted the church, even though God commands us to be faithful and active in a church body (Heb. 10:25)? Thankfully, our job is simply to submit and obey, not fix every problem out there.
Now that I’ve been able to capture the heart of what I’ve learned through so much input of different ideologies into a succinct (though very long, sorry) blog post/output, hopefully I’ll be able to better evangelize, disciple, and love those whose beliefs are so different than mine or difficult to understand.