Noah

Credit: http://www.noahmovie.com

Since watching Noah, I’ve thought a lot about what I want to say. I’m not going to write about the biblical accuracy. I’m not going to write about whether Christians should see it or boycott it. There are plenty of other articles by those more qualified that will argue both sides. These are simply truths that have come to mind regardless of how presenting them in the film changed the Biblical story.

Symbolism is an extremely powerful communication tool with one example from Noah screaming at me. A snake skin was chosen to be the tool used to pass the family blessing down through the generations beginning with Adam. This is a detail I didn’t understand and disliked until the meaning finally clicked.

Why would a snake skin be used as a tool for blessing? A snake was used as the tool for the original fall. But as it turned out, the snake skin was a stroke of genius. What better item would there be to use than the last snake skin untainted by sin? It would last as a symbol of the purity God desires for man and ultimately a reminder that all men are created in His image.

Being made in the image of God is a powerful thought. It is one we talk about a lot as we teach our children the creation story and one we continually refer back to as proof Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Until now, I’ve never considered what being made in the image of God means for someone who believes he was made by God but due to sin rejects some of the other truths of the statement.

Isn’t that what sin does to me: takes truth and distorts it just enough to capture me in its grips dragging me away from God’s presence? Tubal-cain passionately admitted to God he knew he was made in his Creator’s image but angrily could not understand why God would not talk to him. Sin blinds and not just the unbeliever.

Noah passionately desired to do God’s will. He passionately worked to achieve it. In the film, Noah offers a warning: I have to be careful that what I initially believe to be God’s will isn’t replaced with my own will. I create goals. I want to be right. I want to win. I want to succeed and achieve. I want to please my heavenly father.

However, Noah only sought God when he was confused and unsure. That’s simply not enough. Those actions left Noah in a dark place and will leave me in the same dark place. I have to seek God’s will not once, not twice, but multiple times a day.

God is ultimately more complex than I will ever comprehend this side of life. He sees and understands infinitely more than my minds can handle. He wants me to trust Him. I have to continually seek Him. I can’t get to a place where I think I’ve figured it all out. The world is His. I am His. I need to throw myself at His mercy, grace and love. That’s the only way any of this life will make any sense. I need to trust Him to direct my steps and provide the how to follow. Then and only then will I know I’m pursuing my Creator’s will and not my own as I will begin to clearly see the confirmation he sends my way.

As strange as The Watchers came across, they still reveal something about the Creator. God will not leave me. God will provide. I highly doubt God will send me a mix between a transformer, an ent, and a fairy (my take on The Watchers). He will send me friends, family, strangers, and even enemies to confirm, encourage and teach me. I can’t miss God’s provisions because I’m too stubborn to see Him working in unconventional ways. I have to be open to how God is trying to work in my life through others even my enemies.

So that’s my take on a film that’s caused a flood of issues. What did you unexpectedly realize after watching Noah or not?

Chicken vs. Fish

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Christians talk a lot about needing to be fed meat by their spiritual leaders. One set of Christians desire lots of theology. A second set wants lots of practical application. Both tend to disagree with each other on what spiritual meat actually is. Is one wrong and the other right?

Both are right. Both desire meat. One just prefers fish over chicken and vice versa. Both types of meat contain some of the same nutrients. However, there are nutrients in fish not found in chicken, and there are nutrients in chicken not found in fish. Christians need both.

It’s not that one type of meat is better than the other. It’s that a person has a preferred taste and can absorb and process God’s word more effectively via one type of meat. Some people learn with plates full of lists and application, while other learn with heavy plates of theology. Where each has to be careful is to not overeat one and neglect the other.

Those that prefer theology have to be careful not to neglect the application. Unapplied knowledge is a waste.

Those that prefer application have to be careful not to neglect theology. Application without a foundation won’t stand the test of time.

I know I have made myself sick by eating too much of one thing. Have you? A change in diet can do wonders.

Reading Habits

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Growing up, my parents, teachers and mentors always encouraged me to read. The more I read, the more I realized the smartest people through the ages didn’t just read. They read furiously. Twenty years later, it’s a habit and something I look forward to every day.

Like any good habit, some of the details change, but the action does not. With reading, it’s genres. I’ve come to love books on history (Think Team of Rivals), patterns (Think The Power of Habit), pop and classical fiction (Think Grisham and Tolkien) and more. Then there are my daily readings: blogs and the news covering industry trends and current events and of course the Bible. I generally keep multiple genres active simultaneously.

Why Multiple Genres

Picking a book on history, two more genres and daily readings helps me remember and process new ideas more effectively when I can associate them with other ideas. This helps me finish the books I’ve started. Yes, a book might be put down for a week or so, but I’ve found not forcing myself to finish a book just to finish it helps me reengage with the material at a later time.

Keeping Multiple Genres Active

Excluding my daily readings, I read what is most interesting to me that day. Sometimes my daily readings play into that decision. Other times, a problem I’m working through helps emphasize a certain subject.

I make sure that one of my books is long and I’m not talking 250 pages. Actively reading a 600+ page books is challenging. There’s nothing like closing the back cover on a book most people would use as a cornerstone. The detail in these books is immense. A single detail can inspire a great daydream that leads to a great idea. These books offer that flexibility by decreasing the chance of missing a main idea. These are also the books I tend to and want to reread.

I avoid genre fatigue by not reading more than one book on the same subject simultaneously. Reading more than one book on the same subject at the same time gets boring and can become confusing.

By using a feed aggregator like Feedly, I’m able to quickly browse the headlines of my favorite blogs and news sites. Most of the time, the blogs help me decide which books to read while the news helps me decide which sub-genres of history I should read.

By reading multiple genres simultaneously, I’m able to develop ideas and dreams and learn from some of the smartest people from history and even the not-so-smart.

These are my habits and the reasons behind them.

What are your reading habits?

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