Thursday, February 16, 2006

Playing the Odds

I've never been much of a gambler. I have been inside three or four casinos, but probably only gambled a total of $10. My usual strategy in this situation is to see how far I can get on $2 at the nickel slots. I even won $0.13 once! Even in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, my interests were taken with the bright lights and spectacle over the chance to win "big money" at the tables.

Over the past year, this type of risk-aversion has intensitified. I'm playing it safe. It seems to me an inevitable part of growing up - with admitted pluses and minuses. If someone came to me and explained that I could bet everything on a 50/50 game of chance - where winning would purchase a new house and comfotable living, while losing would leave me broke and destitute, there's no way in hell I would play that game. It simply isn't worth it.

Yet this is what people do every day in choosing to get married. Everyone knows the statistics: it's a 50/50 shot they will wind up alone and broken, suffering through some of the worst agony a human can feel. But we are so conditioned against seriously confronting these risks that we naïvely throw ourselves into marriage believing that "it'll never happen to us." But it does. Again and again.

If people were realistic about the enormous risks involved in marriage, there would be many more people following the Apostle Paul in extoling the virtues of unmarried celibacy (see I Corinthians 7 for Paul's take). If we took seriously the dangers, even in light of marriage's benefits (which many concede is a "mixed blessing"), how many of us would play Russian Roulette with a 1 in 2 chance of blowing our brains out?

So, call me me unromantic, jaded or burned, but I have absolutely no desire to ever marry. It is quite simply not worth the risk. Instead, I find my identity and purpose in the One who created me; I do not look to someone else to "complete me."

Grace & Peace-
Currently Reading
"Searching for God Knows What" By: Donald Miller

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Spiritual Leadership...

"...Is not won by promotion, but by many prayers and tears. It is attained by confession of sin, and much heartsearching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncomplaining embrace of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but like Paul, by counting those things that are gain to us as loss for Christ. This is a great price, but it must be paid by the leader who would not be merely a nominal but a real spiritual leader of men, a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth, and in hell."

--Samuel Logan Brengle, leader of the early Salvation Army, in "The Soul-Winner's Secret"