In Praise of Eccentricity

If you know me, you likely wouldn’t call me eccentric – unless you think being a Christian is eccentric. After reading Living Into Focus by Arthur Boers (Brazos 2012), I’m inspired to become a bit more eccentric. In the final chapter of this wonderful little volume, Boers points to the etymological meaning of “eccentric,” which means “having a different center.” Certainly I want Christ to be that center, but we live in a world filled with distractions. We always have and always will, but technology seems to be churning them out at an unprecedented pace. Boers’ book is about living a life of focus amid the barrage of technology that we are all subject to (to some extent) and many of us embrace uncritically.

As much as I’d like to summarize the book for you, I’m not going to. It’s worth a read – and some time to soak in. It wasn’t a gripping page-turner. I’d read a chapter here and there, which was good in the long run. It gave me time to cogitate. I’m thinking of ways my life should change so I can live more centered. I don’t know that I can give a higher recommendation than that. What finally moved me to really ponder life-change as opposed to just enjoying the journey with this author was the final chapter.

Boers has been heavily influenced by author and thinker Albert Borgmann and he borrows his “vocabulary for talking about living with greater discipline, discernment, and intentionality. He speaks of fundamental decisions and daily decisions” (p. 191). Fundamental Decisions are the big decisions we make that set a priority in our life “for some time to come.” For example, running a marathon or writing a book or being a parent. These are big decisions and worthy of serious focus.

Daily Decisions are the daily choices we make that either align – or don’t – with our fundamental decisions. For example, if we have made the fundamental decision that we want a healthy lifestyle, drinking soda daily is a decision at cross-purposes with our fundamental decision. We’re not going to get very far.

This is good information, but it’s difficult to implement in real life – even if we know better. Why? We’ll get to that in the next post, but for now, what are your fundamental decisions I life? What is your center? What are you willing to give yourself to and for?

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