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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

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

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