Monday, November 27, 2006

You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the force.

A concept that often whips me is the use of the term balance to define a moderated or calculated position rather than extremes of a continium.

Although I understand what folks mean on some level, I think the term is inappropriate.

I'll give you an example. You often hear, "Well, he can't just pour himself into his work to the neglect of his family. He has to have balance between the two."

But ... is that really optimal?

Balance is defined as equal distribution of weight, amount, etc. or to be equal or proportionate to. In other words, stability due to symmetry.

Now, in our example, balance would mean equal amounts of energy or time or priority or whatever between family and job. But, I can think of no particular way in which one should have "balance" between the two.

Another way in which balance is misleading is that a person could be balanced and be ineffective at both. To keep with our example, a man could give a half-hearted effort at his job and with his family and be balanced, neither thing eclisping the other.

In the Christian life, we don't balance love for God and love for others. We are to be fully enthusiastic in both (Matt 22:36-40), though God gets the priority and really our love for others flows from our love for Him.

The problem with balance as a concept is that it really misses the mark of (1) diligence and (2) priority. A Christian's priority may be such that he or she will not work on Sunday morning, so when they come in conflict church wins out. But with regard to time spent, much more time in the typical week is spent in the vocation to which he or she has been called.

When I realized the concept of balance had been truly put into the realm of the absurb was upon hearing a comment from the allegedly wise Jedi Council. In speaking of Anakin Skywalker, he was speculated to be the prophesied one who would bring balance to the force. Now, they took this as positive prophecy.

I thought they were on drugs. Here you have tons of Jedi with a council and a training program and so forth. On the dark side of the force ... you got nothing, at least as far as they know. They think the Sith are extinct. So, you're side is winning by a huge margin, like the Aggies running up the score on Goat Roper U to the tune of 93-0, and you desire a shift toward balance?

It would be like some Republican a month ago saying that we needed someone to bring balance to the government system. When you have control of the House, the Senate, and the White House you want to stretch the lead. Right?

So, they train Anakin and ... guess what? He does bring balance to the force, by killing off all the Jedi so there are only a few good guys and a few bad Jedi. Sheesh. Who didn't see that coming?

Me? I'm thinking a guy bringing balance to the force is a bad thing, for it will create a ying-yang whammie whereby the ying gets its wings clipped.

Let me suggest another metaphor, that of spinning plates. On poles, representing different areas of life, are plates spinning. The individual must keep the plates spinning, but some plates are bigger than others and some are heavier than others and some need more attention to keep them spinning than others. Plus, some are fine China, while others are not so precious.

There will be times when a plate hits the floor and may be cracked or even break. The key is for each individual is to determine which plates must not hit the floor and devote attention appropriately.

In this way as well, each plate must get attention, unlike the balance concept where each area of life could get nominal effort or less, but equally so to ensure balance. In the plate spinning metaphor a certain amount of effort is required across the board just to keep each plate spinning.

So, to take a biblical example, when we examine our obligation to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), let us realize balance is not the optimum goal. One could half-heartedly stand for truth and half-heartedly do so in love.

Granted, we want to avoid only speaking the truth or only speaking it in love. But, the one who speaks the truth with zeal does not suffer from too much truth, but not enough love. The one who wants to love with zeal, but compromises truth does not suffer from too much love, but lack of fidelity to truth.

Like Jesus might say, he should have continued with the former, but added the latter (or vice versa).

No, both plates need to be spinning and wholeheartedly we need to stand for truth and wholeheartedly we need to love, or stand in a loving way.

Balance? A scale can and is balanced when both sides are empty (see above picture). Slackers can balance.

For the Christian now, only for the Christian, everything we do must be done to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). That entails intensity, effort, and energy in all we do.

Think of the bass & treble controls on your stereo. At balance both can be at one. As Spinal Tap might say, ours both go to eleven.

Keep your plates spinning as you lean on His strength in the process, granting you wisdom in prioritization.


At 27 November, 2006 08:27, Blogger Rev. said...

Keep those plates balanced!

At 30 November, 2006 09:12, Blogger deines said...

Good job Hartman. Your post was very balanced. hehehe

At 30 November, 2006 18:33, Blogger GUNNY said...

C'mon, Horhay!

Let's break down the word "balance" as they taught us in word study (well, they didn't, but folks do it this way).

BALANCE = Bal-an-ce
Bal ... shortened Anglcized version of Baal - say no more.

an ... southern for "and" (e.g., "Jan an Dean")

ce ... this one is a little deceiving, because it's more auditory. Say this syllable as it appears in the word balance. The "c" has the "s" sound. S-uh ... as in Satan, the Hebrew would not have the long "a" we have in English, but more like "Suh-tawn".

So, balance = Baal and Satan, alive and well and sharing dominion (2 Cor 4:4).

So ... down with balance!

At 01 December, 2006 10:34, Blogger Rev. said...

Gunny, I should have known there was a Masonic connection... Baal-Orr.

At 01 December, 2006 13:28, Blogger GUNNY said...

Very sharply you have perceived my tricks, young Skywalker.

Sic 'em!


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