Thursday, January 20, 2011

Choice and Commitment (Os Guinness, The Call)

"Calling provides the story line for our lives and thus a sense of continuity and coherence in the midst of a fragmented and confusing modern world."--Os Guinness, The Call
It's been a long time since I read The Call, by Os Guinness; it's on my re-read list this year.

Today I read through chapter 20 and I remembered why I liked this book so much in the first place, and why I thought every senior high school student should read it. Chapter 20, "A Focused Life," says so much of what needs to be said...what I need to hear...what I want to say. And I never thought that a chapter beginning with Magellan, my boring old fifth grade Explorers Project, could pinpoint so precisely what's good and what's scary in our culture.
"The modern world offers an endless range of choice and change, overwhelming traditional simplicities and cohesion. Crowded modern cities mean that we are all much closer, yet stranger, to each other. The modern explosion of knowledge menas that other people, places, periods, and psyches are accessible as never before. Yet coherent wisdom to interpret it all eludes us....To be modern is to be addicted to choice and change....[which] leads to a decrease in commitment and continuity--to everyone and everything....there are simply too many choices, too many people to relate to, too much to do, too much to see, too much to read, too much to catch up with and follow, too much be buy....One minute we feel the vertigo of unlimited possibility and the next the frustration of superficiality. But life goes on."
The menu is ten pages long but there's nothing we want to eat.

The bookstore is huge but there's nothing worth reading.

You know that mantra taught in a certain kind of therapy? "I always, always have choices." Perhaps it's good in a certain context, but it can also be overwhelming. How about not making it a choice anymore to behave in a certain way? If duty and conscience say "no," then the choice is already made...end of argument.
"Arguments against choice need to recognize the special, godlike power of choice. But ultimately only one thing can conquer choice--being chosen....We are not our own; we have been bought with a price....What matters is that we follow the call."

1 comment:

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I really liked this book by Os when I read it. I used to think he had to be a gajillion years old since I first read about him in Francis Schaeffer's books.

Turns out he was only in his twenties during those years. He was just brilliant!

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