Living the Definition or Defining the Living
Living the definition or defining the living. That's what most all people do. As well as communities. This has been my observation. Living the definition is very very popular. I try to live the life of a Christian and what a Christian looks like. Or pastor. Or father. Or mystic. Or saint. Or artist. Or writer. Whatever. So for instance, when I encounter someone who is suffering, I check out my inner dictionary to see what a christian pastor should do when he meets someone like this. It's living a prescribed life that is constantly being measured and tested and edited. This is a life filled with fear, ambition and hypocrisy. Defining the life is when we look back on our lives and think about it or write about it or talk about it. We are always looking behind us to see how we've done, to discern how well our actual lives measure against our definition of what it should've or shouldn't have been. This is a life filled with either indifference, remorse or pride. I have decided that few people actually live. We don't live the moment. We are either trying to live up to some definition or trying to define what we've already lived. Something genuine, authentic and real happens, and immediately we define it so that we can sell it to someone who will live by it's definition. We try to encapsulate it then use it again as if for the first time. It's like great sex. Our immediate response is: "Let's do that again exactly the same way!" Of course it's impossible to experience the very same thing again. We can't just live the moment. We are not free. We are not alive. Our poor communities suffer under the same dilemma. We persuade them to live according to a definition of what we think a successful, influential, vibrant and growing community should be, rather than just letting it be what it already is. And we are constantly measuring our communities against the definition of what we thought it should or shouldn't be. If something wonderfully real happens, then we try to sell this definition to other communities to live by. How many times have I been accused of not looking like a christian or acting like a pastor? How many times has our church been accused of not looking like a church or not fitting into the Vineyard movement? More than I can count. It's because people freak out when you don't fit the definition. And if you do happen to do something wonderfully refreshing and creative, even more people rush to tell you to publish it so that you can profit from it and so that others can do that too. I believe when there's talk of being a new creation, being a new man or woman, that there's another way of being human... a way that's entirely free, that's entirely bold, that's entirely beautiful and unique. The same for communities. Free of definition! They are enigmas and anomolies. But the fear or ambition of definitions prevents us from being this kind of new person or this new kind of community. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen and is from his Mask series.