Embracing the non-fantastic

The Grammy awards.  The two-million-dollar sports car.  That lady that won seven Olympic gold medals in a row.  The guy who climbed a skyscraper. The next Marvel movie.

These are the amazing things that happen on planet earth.  You and I are bombarded with them every day; whether it be the news, YouTube, a tweet from a friend or a story from a co-worker, they are there, always, every day.  They are interesting, gripping, and inspiring…..and impossible for most of us on most days.  Still, as Tom Scholz sings, “We idolize the filthy rich for giving us synthetic taste.”

In his book The Pleasure Trap, author Douglas Lisle explains how this unnatural and artificially induced appetite for the impossible has become the normal OS as it were for most of 1st world humanity.  Our desire for more pleasure and stimulation, while experiencing as little pain as possible, has created a generation that can only be aroused by things that are not reality.  This, in turn, disallows enjoyment of the simple things in life because we are rushing to be wowed by the next amazing endorphin hit.

If you’re like me, this leaves you feeling tired and dull.  It’s hard to compete with the unattainable.  Normal things seem irrelevant because so much more is possible.  Before long we find ourselves faking it, editing our pictures, and writing our own press in an attempt to be fantastic.

The good news is that you and I don’t have to be fantastic.  That may come as a shock to your system, but I hope it brings you a sense of comfort.  Living without the need for level eleven things, experiences and looks allows us to find contentedness in the normal but beautiful things around us every day.

The Bible speaks to this.  In his first letter to Timothy, Paul writes:

“We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

Money is the object lesson here, but this contentedness without the need of anything, whether it be money, fame, achievement, recognition, thrill, or whatever else, is the point of the passage.

For example, it is possible to enjoy an old car.  In the absence of the vehicle talking to you, driving for you, and cooling your butt with air-conditioned seats, you might appreciate more the experience of the road, the landscape, other drivers…and the journey itself.

It is possible to enjoy the same spouse for many decades.  There is a satisfaction and peace in waking up next to the same person every day, one who knows you and trusts you, one with whom you have weathered heartache and the bliss of life.  Time, not novelty, makes love the sweeter.

To that end, I encourage the reader to stop and smell the roses.  They are blooming right now.  Instead of drowning in two hours of internet tonight, from which you will emerge lifeless and numb, go outside and look at the sky.  Write something.  Make something.  Sing something.  Invite someone over; play cards or dominos or a board game.  Bake cookies, talk about life and be honest.

In these normal and everyday things we will find true beauty breaking in, and as we embrace  contentment it will bring about a revolution of peace and wonder in our lives.

This Week’s Calendar

Click above for a list of groups meeting this week.

Upcoming Events

We meet every Sunday at 10:00 am
to worship God together, and throughout the week in home groups all over the city. Please click the link to the left for a complete schedule of home groups.

Our Community

At VCC, we believe that church is not a function: it is a family. Our religion is only as alive as we are, the people that pursue it. So, rather than acting as an organization, we want to act as an organism. We have no time for casual contacts and meaningless formalities. We are a fellowship on an adventure towards the stuff of God. Church means worshipping God together, studying the Bible together, fixing our cars together, hiking together, eating together, playing together, praying together... enjoying the warmth of the Holy Spirit in all parts of our lives together, not just in appointed meeting times.