Friday, September 11, 2009

I've Got to Hand it to Willard

For those of you who've read The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard may recognize the bumper sticker that I saw the other day. It reads,
"Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty."
When I first read Willard's book, I had never seen this bumper sticker and, honestly, I thought he was a little ku-ku for making such a big deal about it.

"In the shambles of fragmented assurances from the past, our longing for goodness and rightness and acceptance--and orientation--makes us cling to bumper slogans, body graffiti and gift shop nostrums that in our profound upside-down-ness somehow seem deep but in fact make no sense... [for example] 'Practice random kindnesses and senseless acts of beauty'...
"Such sayings contain a tiny element of truth. But if you try to actually plan your life using them you are immediately in deep, deep trouble. You might as well model your life on Bart Simpson or Seinfeld. But try instead... 'Practice routinely purposeful kindness and intelligent acts of beauty'... What is truly profound is thought to be stupid and trivial, or worse, boring, while what is actually stupid and trivial is thought to be profound...
"And how do you practice something that is random? Of course you can't. What is random may hit you, but whatever is purposely done is certainly not random. And no act of beauty is senseless, for the beautiful is never absurd. Nothing is more meaningful than beauty. (Willard, 16-17)"

As I move back into post-Forge life in college, it's so easy to forget why I'm here. I find myself believing the ridiculous and realizing I'm clinging to things that don't make sense. I don't join clubs to build up my resume, I join them if that is what will bring God the most glory. I don't do homework so I can be the smartest and get the highest GPA and eventually the best job, I do it because that's what God has asked me to do, knowing that He has my future in His hands. I don't need to impress anyone, because I have an audience of one.

I thank God for using Willard to remind me of my absurdity and to point me back to the only life that makes sense, discipleship to Christ.

Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy. London: Fount Paperbacks, 1998.