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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What a Bag of Urine Taught Me About Faith

Making a "lens" from a bag of
urine to focus sunlight to create fire 
We spent the July 4th weekend at my in-laws and as most of you can relate - conversations with family and friends often go all over the place.

One of the conversation topics that came up was a cable show called Dual Survival where a pair of extreme survivalists are dropped in various parts of the world with very few resources. 

One of the most incredible episodes we discussed involved survivalist Dave Caunterbury (see photo insert) who landed in the desert with no matches. To create fire he filled a small plastic bag with his urine and used it as a makeshift lens to focus sunlight in a pinpoint spark on the tinder materials - and it worked. 

I don't care who you are - that's genius.

Being the 4th of July (when all things firey are acceptable), I wanted my girls to see how to start a fire without matches. Taking the cheater route, I dug up a magnifying glass and old newspapers to show them how it's done. They thought it was very cool, but sitting on the driveway with the newsprint our youngest said something that lingered. 

She kept moving the magnifying glass between the newspaper and her eyes, changing the focal point and said, "Look how the words get all bendy on the edges. I can't read them - I can only clearly read what's in the middle."  Kids say that kind of thing all the time. 

But during our six-hour drive home yesterday, the phrase kept turning over in my mind and heart specific to my faith. The truth is that faith is similar to a magnifying glass. When we focus it on what's really important - that central concept or thing - becomes easy to see and understand while marginal issues become blurry.

Personally, when I focus my faith on the person of Jesus - things become very clear regarding aspects of my faith. His life, lessons and words pop forward with clarity and crispness.  However, when I simultaneously try to look at tangential issues such as the end times, hell, euthanasia, extreme suffering and a host of other things - the view is much less clear.

Rather than speculate on issues that I don't know about, I'd rather focus on the most important aspect of faith - namely Jesus - and the redemption He secured for the world. 

I guess, illumination is still illumination even when it shines through a transparent bag of waste water.

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