The Contrarian

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 7 Comments

According to Conventional Wisdom, there’s a set of practices and disciplines to which we all must submit. They are mandatory. No exceptions.

A short list:

  1. Sabbath rest
  2. Accountability
  3. Prayer and Bible study
  4. Local church involvement
  5. Boundaries on visual inputs
  6. Boundaries with the opposite sex

But I’m a contrarian. I work seven days a week because that’s what separates the men from the boys.

Nor do I need anyone sticking their nose in my personal business.

I can slide by prayerlessly for days with no discernible difference. As for church involvement, it’s overrated–I get plenty of spiritual input from Christian radio and websites.

Yeah, I carry on a little “double life” action around the margins, but no big deal in the grand scheme of things. A man does what he’s got to do.

Fact is, I’m unique. I know better than Conventional Wisdom.

How about you?

Comments 7

  1. I think it's more a matter of moderation than sticking to absolutes. I have to say, perhaps to my shame, that I'm with you in this matter!

  2. Nobody works seven days a week. If we did a time audit of your life, we'd see just how much time was “really” productive.

    Accountability is only necessary if you want to accomplish more than a single, limited individual can.

    Discernible to whom?

    Plenty is differnt from right, good, or substantial.

    Leading a double life hurts no one but yourself – and your fiends, and your spouse, and co-workers, etc.

    I wouldn't settle for conventional wisdom either, so I sure as hell won't settle for the s*** that you and I pass off as wisdom.

  3. Some have caught my drift of being satirical in this post. Others who don’t know me as well may think I’m being straight-forward (or perhaps my limitations as a writer are showing).

    So no, this is not straight-forward. Just a way to get us thinking about the value of time-tested wisdom. I find myself dubious of those who exempt themselves.

    Nor am I happy with myself when I neglect these practices.

  4. Awe Rick… love your work. Refreshing and cynical… and yet it works!

    1 & 4. I find sabbath rest and church involvement inconsistent. Seriously… do we really think scarfing down breakfast and dressing our family in a hurry is condusive to rest. We have recently opted for the 5 pm service so we can actually connect with God and each other on a sunday!

    2. Accountability without consequences doesn't work. Just having someone know you screw up is not enough. You need self imposed consequences. I know people who drank consistently for years… ate too much for years… and people knew it… prayed for them… and yet nothing changed.

    3. Many people have lived unfulfilled and aweful lives yet been great at prayer and bible reading. I have a couple down the street.

    4. See number one.

    5. Boundaries on visual imputs taken to an extreme can keep you so spiritually minded that you are no earthly good.

    6. Boundaries with the opposite sex… what if you are gay? Also… don't use this as an excuse to endorce inequality. If your boundaries are too crazy…. you are the problem… not the opposite sex.

    Unfortunately, the seperation between “the men” and “the boys” is all to often non-existent.

    Ok… thanks for letting me vent!

  5. You know Rick, I've often wondered about the Sabbath rest and what it is intended for and what it looks like for my life.

    I mean, does anyone really take the Sabbath rest seriously and what does that look like for an entire day? Sometimes I wonder if God intended for us to value rest and find/make time to do that in shorter segments throughout the week or if it's supposed to happen one day a week, all day. And what does “rest” even mean? Hanging out watching football, or being with friends, or a time to be intentional about being with God. What if going to church is dry…is that a violation of the sabbath because one doesn't feel spiritually stirred or rejuvenated?

  6. Gretta, Good points. Any of my “short list” of practices, taken to an extreme, would not be good. Ahh, the limitations of my self-imposed brevity. Can't add much context or nuance.

    My friend Greg has come out with a paper on men supervising women in the workplace. One of his statements is this: When their gender makes them more vulnerable, such as driving alone to a conference, I drive with them (if invited), even though many male church leaders would not.

  7. To G-Hil: Many thinkers wiser than me have suggested various approaches to Sabbath. A theme repeated by some: Do whatever is restorative. There's no one-size-fits-all in the practical applications. So rest, disengagement, scripture/prayer, relaxing time with friends, recreation, leisure reading, a ballgame, devotional reading — it's a mixed bag, and depends on your temperament.

    But it's also “non-productive” time, that is, you aren't accomplishing any vocational goals, you're not using the Sabbath to get a jump on projects at work. Though if work around the house is restorative, that would be a different matter. Then of course there's golf. . . . .

    I've gotten better at this whole thing over the years, but I still think of myself as a rookie Sabbath-keeper. For a more demanding treatment, try Bonhoeffer's “The Cost of Discipleship.”

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