So this is going to be a ridiculously long post. This will be very unusual. I will mostly discuss my interactions with South Africa, but in this post I will attempt to establish where I am coming from. I don’t necessarily expect my posts to be read, but it feels like good accountability to actually keep a journal. Already I have had numerous sights, sounds, and conversations to process. I wish I could process them all through his medium, but it would be way too much. I would like to start by discussing what I might accomplish on this trip.
My plan is to spend this time during the world cup traveling around South Africa. I don’t know how I will manage to get around, but I’ma try. I may have to learn how to ride a motorcycle, but don’t tell my mom. After the tournament is over, I plan to travel over ground about 1800 miles up to Nairobi, where I will fly back to the states from in early August.
There are a few major questions I would like to explore. The first is, how do we develop people? One of the first things I learned out of college is there is hardly an ounce of randomness in anyone. Every thought, action, behavior, etc.. is learned from somewhere. Starting at a child’s birth, those around that child determine who they will become. I think we need to be much more intentional in developing every aspect of a child. To do this, we need to figure what we want to them to look like. Values? Skills? Education? Faith? Relationships? The list of considerations goes on forever. Then how do we get them there. Modeling? Discussion? Experiences? Failures? Direction? Structure? Freedom? Of course there is no correct answer, but it feels like there are some dangerous trends in the way young people are being developed. I think this is partly because of the lack of being intentional, but also some questionable priorities. Whether or not a child is intelligent, athletic, attractive, successful, respected, are emphasized over honest, disciplined, caring, dependable, respectful. In other words, what they do is blurred with who they are. In my young observations, the latter has a great deal more to do with our quality of life than the former. Enough of that for now, on to the next idea.
The questions I have been playing with much of this year deal with truth. What is true and how do we know? I know, this basically gets down to the meaning of life and after a few people have tried to figure it out already, we still don’t have a great answer. That still doesn’t change the importance of the question. How can we determine what we do without knowing why? I am very young in this question and hopefully won’t butcher philosophy in discussing it.
So here is my current sticking point in my search for truth. Existentialism and pluralism seem to be the dominating philosophies of our day. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel their pull. With the exposure we have to different philosophies, beliefs, religions and cultures, how can we possibly say that anything is right or wrong? It feels like we are disrespecting others and their experiences. The problem is we have no way then of establishing right and wrong of everything is acceptable. I have to believe there are principles that must be upheld. Society will fall apart without them. But when every culture, religion and philosophy is accepted, there are no principles. You can say some things are common sense, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t rape, be kind, love each other. It doesn’t work. Without absolute truth, without an answer to why we do things, the what is left up to individuals. Individuals develop their values based on their culture, beliefs and experiences. In our age of understanding and exchanging of ideas, murder, theft, rape, greed, corruption and hatred are just as prevalent as any other time in our worlds history. Accepting everything will never improve anything, using our own judgement to accept some things is foolishness and equally ineffective, meanwhile, I am on a continent that is irreparably scarred from one group insisting they knew what was right. Sigh. I don’t know the answer, but I do believe that we need truth. Now for some hope.
In the past year I have found one statement that I feel I can prove to be true through observation. RELATIONSHIP IS IMPORTANT. Many people know this is down through the core of their beings. I guess I am learning it a bit late. Our quality of life has a direct positive correlation with our quality of relationship. When Americans go to impoverished nations to give they always do more receiving. They experience a foreign joy from people may only have relationship. They don’t have careers and meetings and material possessions that foster shallow and strained relationships.
This idea affirms my belief in God. The Judeo-Christian creator establishes the importance of relationship from day 1, or I guess day 6 when He created man. Man was created in God’s image, to walk with God, to communicate with Him, to return His love….to be in relationship with Him. These themes of relationship cannot be ignored in the Bible….Gods top priority is relationship and He created us the same way. If we were not created, if we were random, if our existence was based solely on our ability to survive, wouldn’t power and success and wealth and pleasure be the biggest factors in our quality of life? I don’t intend to discount evolution, I believe God created a dynamic world, but I cannot believe that a world with such depth and intricacy is random.
Along with these ideas, I will comment on football(soccer). I hope to keep comments on this topic to a reasonable length, but as most football fans in America, I am deprived of enough outlets. Hopefully I will have people to talk to here so I won’t waste as much of your time. Well, at 1am eastern time, the sun is up in Joburg, Im out.