Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finding Your Voice

When I first saw this picture, it brought a smile to my face. The original caption (in the version I first saw) read: "Do one brave thing today -- then run!".

For some reason, I identified with the foolhardiness boldness of the little penguin daring to wake to sleeping giant. The little guy who, against all odds and conventional wisdom -- and quite possibly, self-preservation -- dares to disturb the status quo.

Except that, in the real world, running away isn't usually an option. If you're going to clang those cymbals, you'd better be prepared for dealing with what wakes up.


And if there's anywhere that is ripe for finding things to clang cymbals about, it's the Internet. The good news and the bad news of all things online: everyone and anyone can make their thoughts and opinions known for the world to see. And social media, in all its forms, spreads it even farther and faster.

And as the oft-posted cartoon at right illustrates, there is a nefarious trap involved when it comes to reacting to issues, opinions, and other cymbal-clanging events: a black hole of time-consuming, life-numbing, grace-stealing, crazy-making addiction.

I come across other blogs and websites, with some degree of regularity, that provoke a desire to respond. Usually, it's people playing fast and loose with the facts, or twisting Scripture to advance their own agendas.

And each time, I am faced with the same decision: What kind of voice do I want to have? It's one thing to clang cymbals over worthy issues, and completely another to be the kind of clanging cymbal that we are warned about in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."
Remember the old phrase, "Better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness"?
When I put the thought behind this saying together with the penguin-with-cymbals image, and mix in the admonishment of Corinthians, it becomes a reminder, an encouragement, and a challenge to me, as a writer.

What kind of voice do I want to have?

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