By Beverly Browne
Pride Contributing Writer
At the very start of this series of columns, I told you that ‘On the Move’ will highlight interesting places, dynamic people and thought-provoking ideas to inspire ourselves, and possibly help us see things in a way we hadn’t thought of before.
This week’s column relates to the idea of how every action starts in the mind. And as such, we have to be careful what we let our mind absorb. This might start off sounding like a mini-rant, but please bear with me; there’s a point to be made.
Our culture is obsessed with physical attractiveness: how we look, act, how fashionable we are, and so on. This obsession can make us think that because it looks, sounds and smells great, it’s great. We’re also especially obsessive about making ‘idols’ out of what the culture calls celebrities. Unfortunately, there have been periods when we’ve allowed the media to drag our attention towards bad-behaving personalities. But when they do something that we think has crossed the line, it shocks us.
The sidebar to this is that we might be focussing on things that seem important, but are of little value – even though some people may categorize that focus as entertainment.
On the subject of celebrity status, most of us have probably heard about a popular Canadian radio host with a large following of admirers, whose private life started to unravel in public. Within a one-week period, from Oct. 24-31, 2014, he found himself at the centre of accusations of alleged wrong-doing against females he had befriended.
At time of this writing, the man has been charged but not convicted, so we can’t say he’s guilty, but however this ends in the future, while accusations are coming out, members of the general public are left with the impression, that this seemingly charming, articulate individual who has interviewed many well-known actors and musicians, and who appeared to be living the kind of high life that many would envy, at the same time, might have had his mind in some dark places.
Here’s another example of how we can lose right focus in subtle ways:
You go to check your email, intending to spend just five minutes. But before you know it, you become distracted by mindless stories on the internet, about the see-through outfit that last week’s most popular singer wore with her purple and green hair.
Or consider two very popular television sitcoms: Two and a Half Men; and The Big Bang Theory. They’re filled with vulgarity, packaged as entertainment. In our culture, it can become hard to stay centred on things that are truly valuable.
There are some scripture verses that help me to sift through what’s valuable and what’s not.
The first says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient… Therefore do not be partners with them.” – Ephesians 5:6-7 (NIV)
Another says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Still another says, “….Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8
Renewing our mind helps us decide in advance what’s right or wrong. This helps us to live right. Renewing our mind helps us to be people of integrity – having the same character traits whether you’re with others or by yourself. This leads me to a refreshing thought of which I was reminded. of. It’s as follows: Instead of allowing ‘the pattern of this world’ to permeate our mind with whatever image is being sold to us, what if we recognized that we are God’s Masterpiece, and how we live our lives can be a form of worship to Him. People tend to think that worship takes place in a building – for me that building is a church; for others, perhaps a synagogue or mosque.
But we can worship God anywhere, and in doing so, we give God access to have first place in our minds, instead of allowing the pattern of the world to take that place. We’d find that we would live much better lives, if God has access instead of the culture.
My hope is that we continually make an effort to move away from worshiping the idols of this world. As an alternative, we can decide to begin understanding how we – individually – are God’s craftsmanship. If we live as people of integrity, we will have a life of active worship, wherever we are.
That’s really something to think about!
Beverly Browne has been writing for Canadian publications and businesses for more than 20 years. In 2013 she published her first book entitled, How To Buy Tax Sale Properties: A Canadian Guide. The easy-to-read book teaches people how to acquire real estate from local governments through the tax sale process. She also gives workshops on the subject, for people who want to jump-start their efforts. Bev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on real estate through tax sales, or if you want to respond to this column.