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Authenticity

Authenticity is a concept in psychology. Authenticity can be found in existential, existentialist philosophy, and aesthetics. In existentialism, authenticity is the degree to which an individual’s actions are congruent with his beliefs and desires. The call to authenticity resonates with the Oracle of Delphi, “Know thyself.” However, authenticity extends beyond this message. “Don’t merely know thyself, but be thyself.”

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! – Revelation 3:15-16.

The biblical city of Laodicea was situated between mountains and a famous hot springs at Hierapolis. This hot mineral water flowed into the Lycus River in modern day Turkey. Meanwhile, as snow caps melted in the nearby mountains, this icy cold water mixed with the warm spring water. Perhaps, this topography was part of John’s vision that inspired this lukewarm analogy. As first century believers visited this church, a lack of authenticity was present.

For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see, Revelation 3:17-18.

I recently read the screen play for the film American Beauty. While this secular film is filled with vulgarity, the movie addresses authenticity. When the main character Lester is tried of going through the motions by living a lie, his joy is restored. This mundane individual who is invisible early in the film, Lester finds freedom by bluntly expressing himself. Instead of playing it safe, authenticity breathes new life into dying souls. When you mean what you say and say what you mean, fear about what others think about you disappears. If you feel paralyzed by a lukewarm spirit, break out of this funk with the power of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. The sooner you become real, the better you’ll feel in the long run.

by Jay Mankus

No Reason to Pretend

In order to put on a happy face, some individuals feel compelled to hide their misery from co-workers, family and neighbors.  Like a Halloween masquerade party, many profess to be fine all the while anguish, grief and pain collect.  Although the motto “fake it until you make it” sounds logical, there is no reason to pretend.

From a mere vocational point of view, the last 5 years of my life have been like a hurricane, causing flood waters to break through levy’s.  As the storm surge continues to rise, my heart, soul and mind cling to promises of the Bible, hoping the trials subside soon.  When success reigned supreme, life was a piece of cake.  However, as turmoil entered my life through the winds of change, I’m not the same person.

Sure, I try to stay upbeat, but I am a mirage of my younger years, a piece of drift wood transformed by time, wind and water.  Water logged, especially around the waist, I long for dry land, a beach to call home.  Footprints along the shore are obvious signs that God has been carrying me.  When the waves calm, I will arise, perhaps wiser than before.  Like a work in progress, a strand of clay in the molding process, there is no reason to pretend it isn’t well with my soul.  Yet, I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12-14.

Don’t be afraid to be transparent; real so that a hurting world can see the only thing holding believers together, Romans 5:5.

by Jay Mankus

Not A Clue?

I’m not sure who has a worse track record: global warming predictions or the daily weather forecasters?  According to Al Gore, you know the guy who created the internet, polar bears were suppose to be near extinction due to the last of the polar ice caps melting by now.  Meanwhile, meteorologists have become so dependent on technology and weather models, they’ve overlooked common sense and God given instincts like Bill Paxton’s character in the 1996 film Twister.  I wish someone in either of these 2 groups would just be honest, professing to the world, “I don’t have a clue?”

Based upon actual scientific data, global cooling and warming is influenced by major volcanic eruptions or lack there of.  Temperature patterns going back to the early 1800’s reveal the world wide temperatures decline the year following a major eruption, decreasing between 1-4 degrees fahrenheit on average.  A modern example of this occurred following Mount Saint Helen’s explosion on May 18, 1980 as scientists began to suggest the world was heading toward its next ice age.  In the year’s following little or no volcanic activity, ocean temperatures often rise creating an El Nino affect.  However, computers can only make an educated guess on the future, often not having a clue to God’s daily forecast.

Having confidence in an ability, skill or talent is not a bad thing.  However, there is a growing trend in the media to avoid showing weakness unless you are a politician who has just been caught in a scandal.  Then, consultants will encourage individuals to go an Oprah, spill their guts and shed a tear or two to show the American people your sorry.  Yes, its important for college professors, guest analysts and professionals to be well informed, but what’s wrong with a little humility.  I want real people who aren’t afraid to proclaim “I don’t know,” instead of fake people hiding behind a facade.  Feel free to express your opinion or stand out up your soap box for a few minutes.

by Jay Mankus

I Can’t Help You With That

 The realist inside my heart has often led me to deviate from the script, persuaded by bored faces, uninterested glances and sleepy heads.  Perhaps, God has taught me that situations vary in life, different for each individual.  Thus, making a blanket remark or statement to anyone can be construed as inconsiderate, especially to a troubled soul.  Therefore, I have learned to be honest, saying to former students and peers, “I can’t help you with that” when I don’t know.

 

Unfortunately, Christians can come off cold as ice, unattached by responses like, “it must have been God’s will.”  When someone dies, gets diagnosed with a terminal illness or is left paralyzed by an accident, people need your love, prayers and support not a text book reply.  Maybe this is what the apostle Paul was eluding to in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.  You can have the best personality, multiple talents and good intentions, yet without love you are nothing.

 

Pride is likely involved, puffing someone up in their minds until the frailty of life comes knocking at their door.  When roles are reversed, I wonder how this person will feel if a fellow believer serves up a patented quote from the Bible.  As Job endured heartbreak, trial and betrayal from his friends, Job 8:1-4, I can’t imagine the loneliness and pain he experienced.  If only someone stood up, broke from tradition and sincerely confessed, “I can’t help you with that, but God can!” – Luke 1:37

by Jay Mankus

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