Month: January 2016 (Page 2 of 2)

Becoming more than echoes

Yesterday, people across the United States celebrated the life of a man who, nearly fifty years after his death, remains a pivotal part of America’s history. The voice of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King changed minds and hearts on civil rights and left an indelible mark on every one who has come after him.

Dr. King was unafraid to stand up for what he believed was right and was outspoken on the issues close to his heart. While most known for his civil rights speeches, he spoke fervently about the Christian Church and the role that it should play in America and in the daily lives of its citizens.

“How often the Church has been an echo, rather than a voice.”

That statement, lifted from one of Dr. King’s many perspectives on communism, hit me square in the face when I read it. Dr. King was a pastor and had seen the behavior of the Church firsthand. The sad truth is this: Many of Dr. King’s most prolific words, including these ones, have fallen on ears with very selective hearing.

Obviously, he meant to call out those of us who call ourselves “The Church.” He wasn’t speaking to any specific buildings, denominations, or structures of belief. He didn’t care whether you believed that the King James Version was a closer translation to the original Aramaic or Greek than The Street Bible. But, if you believe in the Bible, and you believe that it is the Holy Word of God, he was talking you. To us.

When I was younger, my family often visited a local mall. The only restrooms in the main thoroughfare of the mall were located at the end of a long, narrow brick hallway. I thought it was amazing that when you walked back this hallway, every step, voice, and even breath, seemed to carry on forever. I used to talk extra loud just to hear my voice echo off that tile floor and those old brick walls.

While I hope that me speaking just to hear my own voice doesn’t speak too deeply into my personality, I do hope that it proves a point about echoes.  What I heard coming back to my ears wasn’t the same thing that left my mouth.  It was similar in tone and pitch, and most of the time the words were able to be understood, but it wasn’t the same.

Many times the words were garbled, warped, and unintelligible. That’s what echoes can do. They take something that was once clear and pristine sounding and turn it into a complete mess that misrepresents the original message.

That’s what we as humans, and even worse, the Church, have begun to do. We’ve taken a message that is clear and pristine and muddied it up with other things. We forget that we are called to love our fellow human beings where they are at. We don’t get to judge or condemn, but we get to love, plant a seed, and maybe, if we’re lucky, drop an inch or two of water on it.

Facebook shares. Retweets. Reblogs. Those are all echoes. Are they inherently bad? Of course not. As a matter of fact, I hope that this website is shared through those exact means! But the echoes become an issue when we forget the original voice, or muddy one voice with another.

Learn to always use your voice. Stand for something. And never be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion. Even when I don’t agree with the message, I respect a person who can stand up and say, “This is it. This is my voice. This is where my passion can be found.” And I hope that my adversaries will say the same for me.

Again, build on others’ ideas. Retweet, share, etc. but make sure your voice can be heard. Make sure you’re not mixing one voice with another. An empty or confusing echo is nothing but a broken bell tower clanging its useless information, only to be ignored by everyone.

Echoes can be great. They give power to the original voice and carry its message farther, but take away that original voice and there is no echo. No message to be carried anywhere.

That is what we hope to do with Imperfect Collective. We want to be a voice. A group of voices that come together as one. We want to share our voice and hopefully we generate a few echoes. Are we infallible? No. Will it be said that we don’t stand for something and use our voice? I sure hope not. Will you always agree with us? Ha! We’ll be lucky if those of us who contribute will always agree. Frankly, I don’t know that we always want to.

My honest hope for anyone who is reading this is that you will take Dr. King’s words to heart and become a voice instead of just an echo. I will try to do the same.

The Xbox One is number two, and that’s OK

For those of us who decided to give our money and vote of confidence to Microsoft this console go-round, the number-two placement of the Xbox One is more than OK: It’s great. We are fewer in rank than we might have been had Microsoft not made a myriad of missteps back in 2013, likely costing them millions of customers. From their commitment to Kinect to the baffling inclusion of mandatory internet connectivity, Microsoft made the classic mistake of misinterpreting  the desires of their customers.

Meanwhile, Sony’s PlayStation 4 had practically won without even trying. To Sony’s credit, it learned from the PlayStation 3 release and its newest console was developed and marketed in the safest way possible. That conservative stance paid off for Sony. Late in 2013, both consoles hit the market, and to the surprise of no one, PS4s flew off the shelves as former Xbox lovers switched brands in droves.

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Already more than I ever expected

Someone with a fair amount of experience on the topic once told me that you can’t call yourself a writer if you aren’t putting 1,000 words to paper each day. That statement, if true, made my Twitter page (at that time) a lie. At some point after leaving college, I had filled out the profile options and included the descriptor “unemployed writer” to bolster the definition of myself that I had concluded was accurate. Nowadays, that same Twitter profile includes a quote from a hip-hop song in the “bio” section, a transformation that could be considered a microcosm of the last five years of my life.

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One Choice

This is a new beginning
A chance to rework
Redefine
Redeem
Let go of all the hurt
Find
A newer version of me
The enemy is clawing
Cringing
Calling out
Banking on me
Falling
Unhinging
Breaking down
Doing his best to convince me
My words are not worthy

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Man cannot live on bread alone

For my first post, I want to share something with you that has been on my heart recently. I’ve been trying to read my Bible a lot more and really getting into the Scriptures. I am not claiming to be a theologian, but as I grow in my relationship with Him, I want to share with you what He’s teaching me, through whatever avenue He chooses to show me.

I have realized as I am growing in my walk, I can’t just talk to God. I really have to read His Word and know His Word. He has given it to us, and it is important that we know it.

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Welcome to Imperfect Collective!

We are a team of writers with varying life and professional experiences. We all love to express ourselves in written word, even if the styles we use differ greatly. This site will feature poetry, letters, essays, opinion pieces, and eventually photography, video, and (hopefully) even more formats of expression. Each of us will likely focus on topics completely separate from the other members of the team. Some of us are more attuned to sports, technology, or video games, and some of us are infinitely more interested in creative writing and storytelling. No matter what we write about, we do it all from a God-focused perspective and with the understanding that we are, in fact, imperfect human beings.

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