Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"You can't stay on the shore or in the boat if you're going to walk on water"

I enjoyed Kyle's sermon last weekend-- on courage...

He started with the claim that movies are a form of escapism and noted the irony that many people enjoy action/adventure films while leading lives they would describe as boring.

Going beyond that, I would add that we worship safety and we seek security. But we also want our 15 minutes (or more) of fame and we want to live a life of significance. In fact, we were built to want-- and to have-- lives of significance.

Putting it in common business parlance: we want to avoid risk but achieve high rates of return. As in business and personal finances, it's difficult to get both.

Or a slightly different angle: we want success without putting in a pound of flesh. This reminds me of the first quote on my syllabus-- from the famous basketball philosopher Bobby Knight: "It's not the will to win that's important. Everybody has that. It's the will to prepare to win that's important."

Kyle defined courage as action despite fear, overcoming fear in faith, a context in which fear is not allowed to be the determining factor-- rather than a common (mis)understanding of courage as the absence of fear. (Preceding the sermon, Brian sung "The Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns-- one of my favorite songs--heard from the CD, live in concert or with clips from the movie Facing the Giants.)

Kyle's primary text was Mt 14:22-36, where Jesus leads them into a seemingly random/bizarre trial (see: Mt 14:22's "made")-- and then eventually calls Peter out of the boat to walk on water. And I'm guessing that Ortberg's book was a catalyst or even a primary source of material.

Kyle also noted that it's more difficult to get out of the boat when it's a yacht. This reminded me of the primary message in Wall-E.

After the sermon was over, they went to a video presentation of a letter written by dying coal miners. He wrote "It wasn't bad; I just went to sleep." While comforting in death (and to those who would mourn his death), how sad this would be to describe one's life. As Goethe said: "A useless life is only an early death."

The punchline: You can't stay on the shore or in the boat if you're going to walk on water.


At January 18, 2009 at 4:23 PM , Blogger Bryce Raley said...

It was a great sermon followed by another great sermon this weekend.

Nice analysis.


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