17 November 2008

Chasing "Cool"

When I was a kid in school, I sometimes wasn't the nicest person to my friends. Sometimes I said things to hurt them, sometimes I blew them off when I shouldn't have. I really wasn't a good friend to those who were good friends to me.

It dawned on me the other day that there was something behind all this. I have been coming to the realization that I was angry at my friends.

I was mad that they weren't the "cool" people at school. I was mad because I thought I should be hanging out with the "cool" crowd. I mean, I thought I was a pretty cool kid, and I didn't understand why the "cool" kids didn't want to hang out with me. So I became a little bit jealous and a little bitter and a little angry. And then I took it out on my friends. Sometimes by being mean to them, sometimes by just not being around.

It was like I turned a part of me off, waiting to turn it back on when my friends were "cool" enough.

Fast forward to today.

I find myself still chasing after "cool". I want to be the "cool" guy, the guy that has the great job, the guy that has the very nice house, the guy who is connected and whose friends are connected to "cool". The guy who has an awesome blog, and a new book that everyone is reading.

I find myself, some Sundays, getting jealous of Pastor Rob. I mean, the dude just oozes cool. He's got an amazing gift, an amazing image that he portrays, an amazingly successful ministry, and yet he is so approachable, so down to earth.

When I read through my blog roll, it seems that all these other blogs are much cooler than mine. They actually have readers, and their Technorati rating is way higher (lower) than mine. I start to think about how I can collect readers to my blog, how I can be successful just like they are.

I dream of the day that I can simply get by on the advertising I sell on my blog, so that all I have to do is post once a day and then work at being creative for the next 23 hours. Maybe with a speaking engagement here and there, and probably some Zondervan representatives meeting with me to discuss book options.

But then I read what Carlos Whittaker said over at Ragamuffin Soul:

"We are aspiring to be people who, let’s face it, are just better at painting their web 2.0 canvas than us.
And we hold up our canvas in front of our webcams and show the world 25 seconds a day of who we are.
And somehow that is translated as life.
And somehow that is seen as a goal to attain by you/I."

What I see in the blogosphere is just a tiny snippet of what these bloggers want me to see. True, there is a sort of honesty and transparency that might not be possible by other media, but these blogs, these online representations, they are not life. My blog may speak what I want it to speak, but it is not me. Likewise, Jim's blog is not Jim. Tony's blog does not define him. My friend Timmy is much more than what he writes. My sister and brother-in-law are not their latest post and pictures.

And yet I find myself chasing after these things as if they are true and real.

I just recently started following Jesus Community, a blog that examines and discusses theological ideas and underpinnings of faith in Jesus.

Today the focus was on Augustine and love. And how the object of our affection can quickly become an obsession, the center of our life. Instead of focusing our attention on God, then, we focus our attention on that which we love.

"All of God's gifts are to be received and enjoyed, but always with God as the center of our affection. We find out that when we know God's love and return something of that love to God, in other words when by grace we begin to live in God's love, paradoxically we appreciate God's good gifts in a way that actually brings more enjoyment and delight."

I am blown away regularly how what I read on my blogroll is exactly what I have been thinking and wrestling with at that time.

Didn't Solomon have something to say about this? Something about chasing after wind? Perhaps next time we read Ecclesiastes, whenever we encounter the word "wind", we should replace it with whatever we find ourselves devoting our energy towards.

Blog ratings.

Cool friends.

A nice house.

A bestselling book.

A good job.

Because when it's all said and done, these things are empty and meaningless. A chasing after the cool.



jimkastkeat said...

So true.

But I still wouldn't mind getting a book out there someday.

Great thoughts Jason. Keep them coming!

Carlos said...

Keep searching that out.
You are getting there!

-Tim said...

Late to the party my comments come, as always... but yes, very true.

Another insighful post. Nice job.

BTW: you're blog is "cool". I count at least 4 more readers on you's than mine! :-)

Amy said...

"A chasing after the cool"...awesome. I love that line :) It really puts Ecclesiastes into a personal perspective.