Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Purpose

Today in Intercultural Studies we got a nice lesson about living for God's purpose. You'll remember that earlier this semester, I challenged Handong to live up to its name. (Handong God's University). Apparently Mr. Laidback took note of this. He was both the prompt for my writing that post, and he mentioned it today in his monologue about God's purpose and standards are so much more meaningful than ours. As usual, he challenged students to defend conventional wisdom (e.g. going to college is a good idea), and promptly embarrassed those who chose to defend the worldly system of personal value by showing that the basis for their belief is ungrounded. The typical response to 'why are you going to college' was 'to get a good job'. Mr. Laidback countered this with the standard argument- people want to get what they consider a good job. Something more than just adequat, something that the collective deems worthy or commendable. While this common, almost universal, goal generally works out, the reasoning for it cannot always be reconciled with God's will. The purpose that we put some much effort into may not necessarily be what God wants for us. We tend to ask God to bless our plans without stopping to wonder if our plans line up with His.

I was glad to see that Mr. Laidback abandoned his strategy of 'Don't worry about offending or shocking anyone, except for being politically correct about religion' and embraced 'Say what God wants me to say'. He really let loose with the God material today, even though there are at least 3 who do not profess Christianity in the class, one of which is a Muslim. I like Mr. Laidback's style. Where most people defer to letting people's preconceptions lie for fear of offending or seeming ethnocentric, he just flips out and shows people how foolish we are for believing some of the things we do, or being ignorant or simply blind to the truth. I like to think that my cynicism and analytical ways have kept more more or less clear of undue prejudices, and most of the time I don't find myself being shocked by Mr. Laidback's statements, but agreeing with the sentiment. I'm sure, however, that I have more than a few preconceptions that need adjustment; I don't think that Mr. Laidback has hit on any major ones so far.

I've been wondering about my own purpose lately. While having so much trouble with Statics, I wonder sometimes if I'm really cut out to be an engineer. Sometimes I doubt if I can graduate. I have to wonder what God's plans for me are, and if they include a degree. Have I been ignoring God's plan since I enrolled as a freshman? Does God not even want me to be in school? I think I'm right to be at LU, getting a degree. God has blessed my endeavor of schooling in so many different ways, I am confident that LU is where he wants me to be. It still leaves that question, though, of how I'm going to manage to graduate when I'm more or less math-retarded. I'm at sort of a standoff, then. I'm confident in my knowledge of what God wants me to do with the next few years of my life, but I can't see how I can do it. I know that God is a God of miracles, but I don't think I've ever heard of a miracle that involved making up for a decade's worth of misunderstood math overnight. Perhaps my lack of faith is what is holding me back. How can I expect to progress if all I do is to say it is impossible? This is difficult. Like my post last week illustrates, I am a very thinking-oriented person, and I can't just think my way out of this corner, it requires something else.

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