Monday, March 23, 2009

Dikkat edin! (watch out! Luke 8)

Kids may not have been brighter a century ago, but they sure learned a lot more. At least, this is the American experience. It's a matter of character. Maturity. The self-discipline it takes to apply focused attention to the task at hand, despite a plethora of distractions.

Our generation has seen the explosion of "ADD" -- attention deficit disorder. There are many theories. Flouride in the water? Or has television trained our brains to only function in burst mode, and only as long as a jiggling shifting image can hold our attention hostage? Or, have other factors trained us to cope with boredom by cutting lose our mental moorings, and letting our minds wander?[1]

Yet what makes us think we have cornered the market on[2] distractability? One of the fascinations of sacred texts is -- you can read them hundreds of times, and still see fresh insights embedded in the familiar words.

For example, we can read the Parable of the Sower as an essay on discractability, on ADD.
Luk 8:4, 5 Büyük bir kalabalığın toplandığı, insanların her kentten kendisine akın akın geldiği bir sırada İsa şu benzetmeyi anlattı: "Ekincinin biri tohum ekmeye çıktı. Ektiği tohumlardan kimi yol kenarına düştü, ayak altında çiğnenip gökteki kuşlara yem oldu.
Luk 8:6 Kimi kayalık yere düştü, filizlenince susuzluktan kuruyup gitti.
Luk 8:7 Kimi, dikenler arasına düştü. Filizlerle birlikte büyüyen dikenler filizleri boğdu.
Luk 8:8 Kimi ise iyi toprağa düştü, büyüyünce yüz kat ürün verdi." Bunları söyledikten sonra, "İşitecek kulağı olan işitsin!" diye seslendi.
A few words:
  • büyük -- big
  • kalabalık -- crowd
  • akın -- raid. Rush upon. Run up to. Double the word to instensify the meaning. İsa was getting mobbed!
Bottom line: if you have ears, you had better listen! Or perhaps the Teacher was saying, "I'm wasting my time with 75% of you out there!"

We are certainly being told to pay attention what God wants us to hear. You know, it would be the tragedy of a lifetime if God was to whisper the next step towards achieving our dearest and most cherished dreams, and we missed the point. Failed to do what was required. Distracted by the shallowness of our own thinking, the rigidity of our preconceived notions, or the multitude of distractions swarming around us. But, there's hope.
Luk 8:18 Bunun için, nasıl dinlediğinize dikkat edin. Kimde varsa, ona daha çok verilecek. Ama kimde yoksa, kendisinde var sandığı bile elinden alınacak."
We can fine-tune our hearing, by careful attention to it. Once we "get it," once we get the point of life,[3] we can get feedback loops working for us. The better we listen, the better our lives work, and the more we heed that which our Creator intends for us to hear. The process of reprogramming our thinking, of renewing our minds, is a life-long project. But the payoff is wonderful in this life, and the next.

[1] "Don't let your mind wander. It's too small to be out on its own!"

[2] American idiom. To "corner the market" means to acquire a monopoly on some good or service.

[3] God is God, I am not, and His purposes are the supreme reason for my life.

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