Wednesday, April 02, 2008

lntensional Intentional Attention

It's not the divinity of Christ that I struggle with. It is his humanity. We teach that Christ was both fully God and fully human. Perhaps my problem is that I have never met anyone who was fully human.

The NIV translates John 10:10 to have life "to it's fullest." It's the experience of being fully human that I both desire and doubt. Since we have little record of Adam before the fall the lifestyle of Jesus left to us by the Gospel writers is the only play book for the fully human experience.

So approaching the Gospels with a new set of questions I will seek to learn:

What things did Jesus do?
What things did Jesus desire?

Doing and Desiring these two actions sum up the whole quantity of our time. Even the little decisions of life fall into these categories. What we desire is the philosophical backdrop for what we do. By this I mean what things I DO reveal what things I desire.

Two easy to explore examples of this from my own life are comfort and television:

I desire to be self sacrificial, yet I DO things that expose my greater desire for personal comfort. I desire to find more time for relationship both with people and with God, yet I waste time by watching television, so I expose my greater desire for amusement than for relationship.

Fully Human living requires intensional intentional attention. By this I mean our life must be intensely directed external thinking. Look at the examples of Jesus that demonstrate this. Comments by gospel writers like, "as was his custom" talking about times of prayer; actions like noticing the woman who touched his garment to receive healing; encouragements to Martha to just sit and be with him; decisions like encouraging the sinless to be the adulterous woman's judge. His attentions were CONSTANTLY turned toward intentional interactions.

I think the contrast to this is inattentiveness. Most of my day is spent on matters and issues that appeal to and consume me. This is not because of obession, but more because of laziness. I focus internally and therefore I lack the intentional effort to pay attention to the poverty around me. Jesus was zealous in his effort to constantly keep the poverty of his surroundings at immediate access. Among the poor he saw the poverty of their situation. Among the lepers he saw the poverty of their bodies. Among the tax collectors he saw the poverty of the minds. Among the pharisees he saw the poverty of the spirit. His eyes were always attentive to whatever poverty was present in the people he encountered.

I am not struggling with this as a theorem that must be solved to solidify my faith. Instead I want to look like Jesus! I want my time, and my day to be spent like his time and his day. I want to breathe out life, peace, and community like he did. I want to be healing in people's situations. Poverty is everywhere around me. I can see the starving orphan, the lonely coworker, the fearful student, the broken marriage, the ignored child, the forgotten widow, the addicted acquaintance, the suicidal teen, the ... on and on the list the list can go, right here, right around me, but I must be external.

It's not the divinity of Christ that I struggle with. It is his humanity. Then I guess, it's not so much his humanity, as much as my own humanity. I struggle if I can live out Intensional Intentional Attention. I struggle if I am willing to be Fully Human like Him.


Elysa said...

Excellent Kevin! May I post it at my blog?

Kevin J Bowman said...

As always, I would be honored!