Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Remember - Part III



Here is part III of my blook (blog book:)) You know I just might have made that one up... I like this blook idea because I can write to learn and learn to write. I appreciated very much Ben’s comment/question (scroll down after the entry) as the questions helped me in a very significant way to bring together what I am further hoping to say. (I didn’t answer him because I think the answer will ruin the journey.)
So, if you love me, please be inclined to comment, both good, bad, and anything in between. Your love for me doesn’t mean comments all the time, but as you feel inclined, as it would help. I am even good with pondering questions. I think there is something here. Would love if you walked with me through it in case there isn’t, or better yet, there is... I will strive to keep the entries time manageable.
If you want to read part I, go here:
If you want to read part II, go here:
If you want to read part III, just read below...
I remember listening to a question and answer time online with Mark Driscoll, a pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. He was responding to questions about his study habits and work schedule. He was commenting about his writing day, and, as a side note, mentioned that while he is writing, he has the ability to recall quotes in books that he has read. Despite having read countless thousands of books, he can remember exactly where the quote came from, down to the page and even the location of the passage, top, middle or bottom on that page. So, in his notes, he makes comments of the book, chapter, page and approximate location of the quote for his writing assistant, who then does the work of tracking down the book, page and exact quote for the book or article that Pastor Driscoll is working on.
I remember when I heard that, I was just stunned. I think my first reaction was something of envy. And, my second reaction was a less than holy mix of complaining and cry of injustice. It is what great athletes must feel when have the talent to play division I college athletics, but weren’t born with the genetics that would enable them to be able to compete at that level. After I “holifed “ myself, I appreciated the gift that God has given Pastor Mark and have since prayed for him that he would continue his significant ministry.
I can hardly remember a book a few days after I have read it. I remember reading in seminary, thinking as I was reading the book, that in a few hours I would never remember anything I just read. I was reading to check off the honor code sheet in my seminary class. I am a bit more like C.J. Mahaney. C.J. is a pastor and oversees the Sovereign Grace Ministry that has churches all over the world.. A while back, he wrote a blog that blessed me. He wrote about how he used to get discouraged that he would read a book and only remember a single quote. He wondered aloud, “What’s the use of reading a book if all you remember is a single quote?” He went on to explain how he has learned to accept his inability to remember and come to the conclusion that it was still worth reading a whole book to discover that pearl of a quote that could blessed him, a quote that could change his life. Judging by the amount of comments that followed the article, it seems that blog struck a chord with more than just me.
My lack of ability to remember has caused me to ask the following question: if I can’t remember very much, then what should I focus on remembering? What is the bottom line? What does God want me to remember? How can I boil it down so that I can remember what to do, and do what I am supposed to remember?
Abraham Lincoln grew up a poor man. He only had a few books. The books he had, he read over and over again. Instead of reading a lot of books and remembering a little, he read a few books and remembered a lot. What do you want to remember? What do you need to remember? What is imperative for us to remember to walk this Christian journey? What can we do without? Unless you are like Mark Driscoll, who can remember everything he reads, you must know what it is you need to remember. What do you need to read, re-read, and remember over and over again so you won’t forget?
Now, I think I have the answer. It is the basis of this book and I think it is significant enough to write a book about. And, yet, therein lies the irony. To write a book, you need to believe that what you have to write about is unique enough to warrant a new voice, and yet, important enough to warrant someone’s greatest asset, his or her time. You have to feel more than just a passing interest, more than just a hobby type of curiosity. It has to grip you and compel you to spend the lonely hours wrestling with what it is that is wrestling in you. I feel a bit like the man who G.K. Chesteron was writing about in his introduction to his book Orthodoxy who discovered England. It was a novel that he knew he would never write, so he used the plot as an example. This man set out to discover a new land, but through an error of his navigational equipment, he ended up on the shore of England thinking he was discovering a new land. However, he was actually just appreciating, for the first time, what had been discovered many times before.
So, I offer nothing new. And, instead of this idea being born out of my intellectual strength, it is out of weakness that I approach this subject. I can’t remember at best and at worse, I forget. And I am writing this book not because I have it all down. I need to continually remind myself to remember.
So, what do need to remember? How do we remember? Why should we remember?
Well, we will get there. But I can’t give it away that easy. It is like the time when my friend wanted me to pay him $1 for some advice. He said I wouldn’t appreciate it if he just gave it to me. It worked. I paid my $1 and I still remember the advice. The joy is in the journey. I have to build my case, give you a foundation, and so lead you to the (re)discovered island. I am pretty sure you know the island, but hopefully you can rediscover it in a new way so that you can name the island as your own, as well.

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