Monday, May 23, 2022

Do not be true to yourself

Kevin DeYoung delivered the 1922 Commencement address at Geneva College. Excerpts:
.... Do not follow your dreams... Do not march to the beat of your own drummer... and whatever you do, esteemed class of 2022, do not be true to yourself.

You say, ‘that needs a little qualification;’ or, ‘that’s perhaps hyperbole[?].’ It is a little hyperbole. And I will give some nuance at the end. But I believe it’s important to state the matter somewhat provocatively. Because if you pay attention (or even if you do not), our world tells us in a thousand commercials, television shows, movies, and songs, that the best way to live—in fact, the only ‘authentic’ way to live—is for you to be you. For you to live out your truth. For you to find your true self and then have the courage to live accordingly. ....

The world tells us that our identity is to be found in what we desire. To deny the fulfillment of what you desire is not just to tell you that you can’t do something; it is to strike a death knell in your truest identity. We are awash in what Carl Truman calls expressive individualism. You are, what you feel, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Perhaps you’ve come across this theological nugget before. It’s time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through – No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free. Let it go. Let it go. ....

There’s a classic paragraph from G.K. Chesterton written over 100 years ago. He says that Jones shall worship the God within turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon anything rather than the inner light. Let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any, but not the God within. Christianity came into the world, firstly, in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm, a divine company and a divine captain, the only fun of being a Christian, was that a man was not left alone with the inner light, but definitely recognized an outer light fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners. ....

The world says, “You are what you feel.” The world says, “Is equals ought.” The world says, “You must find yourself, be true to yourself, and above all, express yourself.” Let me end with the words of Jesus, who points out us in a different direction and gives us a much better way to live. “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it. Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” God bless. (more)
Kevin DeYoung, "Whatever You Do, Do Not Be True to Yourself," May 20, 2022.

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