This is a very insightful blog written my my friend, Jack Lynady (jacklynady.com).
We live in a culture high on analysis, but low on interpretation. Analysis is like when you dissected a cat in high school anatomy class. Sure you may have learned more details about the gastrointestinal tract of a feline, but by the end of the class does what you have left even remotely resemble the essence of a cat. Interpretation, on the other hand, is the ability to ascribe ‘meaning’ to data, facts, and analysis. It is the ability to ‘connect’ the intricate with the epic. And interpretation is the mark of a Sage.
In finance, government, education, and the arts, the world is in serious need of sages. People who interpret well. Great sages know analysis alone is insufficient. They understand that reason will only get you so far. A sage sees mystery for what it is something to embrace and journey into.
So where do we find these sages? First, there aren’t many. Second, they are out on the frontier. They are living without a map. Third, they typically have a ‘voice’ of humility. It may look like they have all the answers, but they’ll be the first to tell you they don’t. Fourth, it gets lonely out on the frontier. They want others to join them. Thus, they are surprisingly available to help you in your journey. These are just a few of the qualities I look for in my sages.
What a powerful note. So many wise-asses, so few wise. All my now long life I’ve sought out sages. Actually, I didn’t know enough to identify them as such…but I knew I needed someone of greater measure who could pass life down to me or accross to me. Ah, the Sage. Yes, they are now my best friends, men–and women–of substance and who have eternal dimension. I feel my eyes twinkle a little to think I can look in the mirror and, at last, see one more sage ready to pass it down to my progeny. “Sage” can’t be found in the blood line, it is found in legacy. Legacy is vital to “finish well”.
OK Jack this is a really good post! Thank-you, but I wanted you to keep writing. I think you have more to say that we need to hear on this subject. I used to think the frontier was for a small select few (of slightly eccentric thrill seekers) but the longer I walk with God I see Him wanting and needing to take everyone beyond their known maps. We need men like you Jack to tell us that no monsters lay in wait beyond those borders but a wild God who looks forward to riding with us.
Jeff, First you inspired much of this post. So, thank YOU. I think the invitation is clear. I think He created the whole deal for…exploration. All of creation, “us” included were created to be explored. The human heart (soul) to me is Frontier defined. That’s why Jesus goes after it the Way He does and He wants us to join Him on that Frontier.
Try reading the Eastern Orthodox Fathers. Their patristic writings have remained true to this day, as they are grounded in the true faith. And interestingly they meet all of your requirements for what a “sage” is. Enjoy! They will change your life.
Hmmmn, seems like such a glossy interpretation for a sage. I’m glad Gary picked this up as we would need to know our calling to move into the epic. I have become an expert at a number of things in life… but have yet to find something that settles me soulward. I don’t know if that makes me a philosopher in general whereas I may see a sage as a niche maven/guru/coach. Keep the good stuff coming my friends. We all should be longing to have an overflow to offer.
The vast difference between analysis and interpretation was so well articulated, Jack! You said in one paragraph what takes me minutes of verbal wandering…
Thank you for giving me better language and insight into this. Jesus was always one to look past critical analysis and see heart, spirit, and soul.
In regards to sages, they are so few that it’s nearly impossible to have a regular, personal interaction with them. This used to discourage me, as I am still in my twenties and have wanted a sage to help me with my journey – that is until the Lord gave me hope through the new covenant. The Holy Spirit has fathered me my entire walk in Christ, and I have never lacked wise counsel, comfort, or love. He has brought wise men into my seasons for brief moments, to remind me I need the body and those who have gone before me, but I still think we need to emphasize the greatest sage of all – Holy Spirit. He is jealous to father us in every arena of our lives, and unlike men is not limited by time or commitments elsewhere. I hope this encourages other men like me who spent much time grieving the lack of sages who can invest in hungry hearts.
I love Holy Spirit so much!
I’m wondering if there are actually more sages out there than we think, but most people don’t pursue them because instead of giving us quick and easy answers to our life questions, they point us in the direction of discovery. In our culture, we want the quick and easy, and stay away from process. Sages are, as you say, those who have come to value mystery and process.
Brent & Lisa
Thanks Gary! I (Brent) am so fortunate to watch my father settle in as a sage to myself, the family and his friends and neighbors. It’s so much fun to see him assume this role naturally under God’s promptings. We set him up with his own blog at http://mindsiege.wordpress.com/ as he has been sharing his thoughts and prayers for all of us on a weekly basis. How cool to be a part of enabling God’s mission in his life right now! Thanks for helping us see God’s work in our dad.
There isn’t one of us that doesn’t have a testimony with something so unique in it it even amazes us how God did something so awesome with it. And we are not the “old man” anymore.
A “new man” in Christ walks and lives most of his life outside of time with God. Just notice when you focus on the Word how you are amazed either by what God shows you in a moment (but is now part of eternity) or three hours later you are still alone with Him and not aware of anything else. You would savor evey moment.
We live as eternal beings, with an eternal God, with an eternal mindset and expectation.