Thursday, August 30, 2007

Margaret Mead Quotes & Reflection

We publish a monthly newsletter for our senior adults here at church and I always write a column for that. I don't believe I've ever shared the contents of any of those on my blog, but thought I'd pass along the one for September.

I ran across several interesting quotes by Margaret Mead recently and thought I’d pass a few of them along. “Of all the peoples whom I have studied, from city dwellers to cliff dwellers, I always find that at least 50 percent would prefer to have at least one jungle between themselves and their mothers-in-law.” “The solution to adult problems tomorrow depends in large measure upon how our children grow up today.” “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.” “Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to be as mediocre as possible.” And here’s my personal favorite of the bunch: “Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.”

That last statement started me reflecting about the ways in which we express our spirituality and our joy. Prayer clearly is a vital communication link that God has blessed us with that allows us to share our deepest feelings, needs, and desires with Him, as well as interceding for others, confessing our sins and shortcomings, and praising and thanking Him for His goodness and mercy. The gift of song and music inspires us as few other mediums can. There is practically nothing that compares to the power of a song to lift our spirits, give voice to our beliefs, or proclaim our love for God and others. A lullaby can soothe a restless child and help him or her to sleep. A majestic choral anthem can carry us into the very presence of God.

We Baptists probably struggle a bit more with her inclusion of dance in the list. Many of us were raised in an era or a religious climate in which dancing was considered utterly taboo. The Bible though repeatedly describes and exhorts worshippers of God to express their praise to Him with the dance. Other cultures with distinct customs such as those practiced by many African believers would find a worship service without dance to be unthinkable. That might not have been what Margaret Mead had in mind, but it’s a good reminder that God delights in our manifold expressions of worship. Let’s thank Him for the rich diversity of ways that we can praise Him.

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