Creating Priorities
February 25th, 2008 by Sonja

Sheesh … it’s been quiet around here for the last couple of days. Where’ve I been anyway?

I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival last Wednesday with BlazingEwe and didn’t get back til yesterday afternoon. We both had quilts hanging there. This was a first for us and quite exciting. We took classes; one that would help us be less precise and one that would help us be more precise. We’re so conflicted! Both teachers were very good, but we really connected with the second, who is about our age. We had lunch with her. Our teacher from last year remembered us and that was a thrill, too. All of this would be much more wonderful but for the fact that we’re usually the youngest women in these classes by about 20 years! So, we sorta stand out and not for our skill, technique, or talent. Perhaps it’s our charm.

In any case, you’ll see my quilt in next month’s issue of Porpoise Diving Life which is being guest edited in March by John Smulo. Porpoise Diving Life is always wonderful, but this year’s issues are a special treat because a group of us have gathered together to give Bill Dahl a sabbatical at his request. He’s writing a book and asked for some people to step forward so that he could focus his efforts. This month (February) is under the expert care and direction of Pam Hogeweide. In a future post, I’ll give you a list of the upcoming guest editors, so you can keep your eyes open. It promises to be a great year.

I came home from the festival with a renewed sense of how I want to organize and purpose my life. My path is still not clear, but I have a better sense of some of the things that need to be in each day. I know I need to have color and art be part of each day. I know I need to write each day as well. Perhaps doing these things will help the path become clear to me.

While we were in the hotel, BlazingEwe and I watched a fun movie called EdTV. It was an amusing, yet cutting, critique of our culture’s obsession with reality television. During one scene near the end, a friend of the main character was being interviewed on an Oprah Winfrey style show and he commented that, “I feel that Ed is the apotheosis of a prevailing American syndrome. It used to be that someone became famous because they were special. Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is now a moral good in this country. It’s its own virtue.”

That packs quite a punch … “Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is now a moral good in this country.”

Think about that for a while. Think about it in terms of the church in the western/industrialized hemisphere. Who do we follow and consider special? And why? Who floats to the top, and who wallows in the quagmire at the bottom? We like the Horatio Alger stories that it’s bootstraps, hard work, innovation and smarts that get people ahead in this country. It is our mythology that race, gender, poverty or a combination of those will not effect where we end up in this life.

So, why is this important? It is important because we are wired in some way to believe that those who are famous are leaders. They are the ones who have smarts, education, talent, or general chutzpah in some way that we should listen to. But should we? What if they’re just someone that an editor or producer thinks will sell?

4 Responses  
  • Pistol Pete writes:
    February 26th, 20089:05 amat

    Some deep thoughts to chew on for a Tuesday morning.

  • Patrick O writes:
    February 27th, 20081:56 pmat

    “What if they’re just someone that an editor or producer thinks will sell?”

    That’s the problem, isn’t it? And it’s a matter of knowing ourselves just as much. We actually have to realize what it is we should know and learn as opposed to being told what we should know and learn. The whole Christian movement, however, is filled with people who are genuinely earnest about seeking God and so trust when others tell them what they should be doing/learning/thinking.

    That’s one of the big problems in churches. So many people have learned to doubt themselves. They might feel bad but the culture has told them it’s their issue not something real, and in doing that almost entirely undermined the very active spiritual gift of discernment in so many churches. A lot of people are discerning, but very few trust their instincts enough to listen and respond to it.

    Even more rare are those who actively have discerning and are in a position of power to do something with it. Those people I call kingmakers. They have the ability to go outside being told what they should like and begin to push and promote those they simply see as being of high value.

    This makes for a really harsh world for those seeking a responsive editor or producer.

    Jesus exemplifies this trait, though. Who else would have picked Peter or Paul and made them superstars?

  • Patrick O writes:
    February 27th, 20081:59 pmat

    This is also one of my developing thoughts. When I read Billy Graham’s autobiography it hit me how he is the public face of a much, much broader group of people all using their gifts to bolster and aid one another. When a group of friends or community actually begins to invest in each other, rather than always promoting the most popular whatever, they will begin to find a new mission in their lives. People want to find their identity in someone who already has an identity. They want their personhood to derive from that person, who has been chosen by whatever means to be famous.

    And in doing that they offer very little to that person, while almost entirely losing their own identity and forsaking the identities and gifts of those in their lives. This is, to be honest, a big reason why I have problems with conferences.

  • Sonja writes:
    February 28th, 200812:25 pmat

    Whooosh … Patrick. I’ve been thinking and meditating on both of these. You’ve picked up on many of the threads that were dangling around in my mind as I wrote and wove them back in beautifully. Amazing, really …

    I think the thing that I’m beginning to most get clear of is the all of the things that I learned to doubt in myself. I became so unsure of myself and unsteady that it, in many respects, lead to this depression. I’m learning to be sure of myself all over again. I’m grieving those lost years and angry too. That’s the hard part. I know I gained some things through that. But I was alright to begin with. I was smart and had good instincts. That it was stripped away so I could be a member of a cult-like organization makes me kinda mad. I think we can have faith and brains.

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