Death Over Dinner

December 30, 2013

    Let's have dinner… and talk about death.

    There's an invitation you're not likely to turn down! In reality, it's a suggestion offered by The Conversation Project to encourage people toward meaningful interactions. Their premise: too often, discussions revolve around trivialities, important to no one, rather than to substantial matters that are germane to all. They're really serious; their website:

    If that's a non-starter for you during this end-of-2013 week – colliding with the start-of-2014 festivities – let me offer an alternative: Let's have dinner… and talk about life.

    Same assumptions: too often, we waste precious minutes talking about things not worthy of our bandwidth, and miss the chance to invest time in the things that give human experience deep meaning. The talk-about-death folks offer suggested agendas on their website; let me give you some topics that are worthy of your consideration as you examine life in a meaningful manner! You may not have anyone around your parade-and-game buffet who want to take up these themes… but that doesn't mean you can't have an important interaction with yourself along these lines!

    Life, for all of us, is experienced on the long track of time. We're all moving forward, but we have past, present and future realities that define our journey. To embrace life means that we stop to look to the past, examine the present, and anticipate the future. Frame your thinking in those time files as you explore three overarching categories…

    Your progress in believing. No one arrives on the stage – in the scene called “life” – devoid of history. There are important things to know – and, to trust – that are requisite to playing the unique role that writes you into the drama. Education is about picking up the best of the past, allowing you to write your contribution to history during your brief appearance. In this era, education has exploded… but the knowledge of Truth has declined precipitously. In the last year, how much have you discovered about God – Who He is, what He's done in the past, and what He's promised to do in the future – through your intimacy with His Word, the Bible? If 2013 did not deepen your intimacy with the Divine, it was a lost opportunity. How much progress have you made in believing?

    Your progress in being. Your part in the drama played out in the last year has cast you in relationships, on multiple fronts. The certainties of life are your roles; the dynamics of life are found in the way you fill them. The script places you in two sets, constantly: home, and work. Family ties and career connections consume the majority of your waking hours. Your greatest challenges – and your greatest celebrations – are sourced in relationship to the people alongside you in those two continuing acts. The experts in human behavior study how the past impacts the present; you've found that in your own life laboratory. For you, in 2013: how has your belief impacted your being? Living life, in real time, is the only credible way to demonstrate your beliefs. The only part of the Bible you really believe is the part you obey: how is obedience to Scripture refining your roles at home and at work? What's changed in 2013 – validated by the people in your life – through your knowledge of God? What's new, for you, in the being portion of your life?

    Your progress in becoming. Children don't spend much time with introspection and self-examination. Appealing to their future is futile: they live in the constancy of the present. It's alarming when the grown-ups who control the systems fail to cultivate a sense of consequence: maturity presumes awareness of tomorrow. The great contribution of the Christian faith is a rock-solid grasp of the future, disclosed by the God Who controls it. The amazing opportunity given the adopted children of God is the invitation to be transformed – certainly beyond death, but also this side of it! – into the fully-functional reality of God's creative genius, embedded in our holy DNA! In 2013 – and, into 2014 – how much are you leaning-into the transformation that delivers you into your future as a grown-up version of the person God made you to be? What's coming into view, for you, as you become your real self?

    Three powerful perspectives; your answers are the measure of a year well lived. Is it worth pondering, as you prepare to invest the next 6000 waking hours of 2014 in light of Eternity?

Bob Shank






3 responses to “Death Over Dinner”

  1. Rick W Avatar
    Rick W

    Great suggestion for discussion around the family dinner table.

    Best wishes to you for a blessed New Year.

  2. Randy L Avatar
    Randy L

    Bob, I know you have always have good stuff to offer, but this was as good as it gets for me. I am desperate to make a difference, and know that this journey is as much about learning about myself as it is learning about my Father.

    You have approached one of my favorite authors here, with the thoughtful insight into your questions. I have always been impressed with Larry Crabb’s talent/gift at asking thought provoking questions that push deep into my soul….and know that he is not just proposing the questions to us, but asking them of himself first.

    I am just re-reading his book “The Pressure’s Off” and it has been oxygen. Even though I suffer from deep dissatisfactions with certain areas of my life, his writing brings me to a greater expectation of my hope in what God is doing in me, and a sense of trust and ability to rest in that hope.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work brother!

    Happy New Year!

  3. Joe P Avatar
    Joe P

    Bob, this looks fascinating. I’ve already forwarded it to my pastor, exploring his interest. He’s in his mid-forties, so his response may reflect the view he has on life from that perspective. If my various body parts, or some unforeseen calamity doesn’t strike, I’m hoping I’ve got 20-25 years left on this globe. I’ve lived long enough to realize how quickly those years will whiz by.

    Thanks, again, for passing along such a relevant topic.

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