Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rube Goldberg lives on

Hi Ho, crazy people,

The name, Rube Goldberg, may or may not mean anything to you. Reuben Goldberg (1883-1970) was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor who received a 1948 Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning. However, he is probably best known for his series of very popular cartoons depicting "Rube Goldberg contraptions," complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect and complicated ways. I grew up hearing my Dad use the expression that such-n-such "looked like a Rube Goldberg deal." Anything that was sort of patched together and makeshift but could get the job done was classified as a Rube Goldberg contraption.

The real Rube Goldberg is dead and his cartoons are long forgotten but his name and his creative genius live on. In fact, there is an annual Rube Goldberg contest and convention where people from all over the world compete to make the most outrageous machines to do the simplest things. The following video was produced by Honda. I love it! I think Rube Goldberg would have loved it too.

I find that I am sometimes like Rube Goldberg. I am guilty of making things difficult that should be simple. Notice that I didn't say, "easy." Some things are simple and uncomplicated, yet difficult. For example, being a Christian is simple, but not easy. But all too often we make it harder by making it complicated. Does that make any sense?

Let me give you an example of what I'm trying to say. Christians often turn Christianity into a list of rules, of do's and don'ts, much like the ancient Pharisees did with God's Law. We build fences and we create our own religious rules to live by. But what does God require of us? Micah 6:8 says, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." That is not easy, but it is pretty simple. Or how about Deuteronomy 10:12-13? "And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?" Jehovah God through the prophet Isaiah sums it up this way in Isaiah 1:16-17, "Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of My sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." One more passage to make my point. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

There are a lot of Rube Goldberg Christians running around. They make complicated what God intended to be simple. Again, notice that I didn't say, "easy." Being a follower of Jesus has never been easy but let's not complicate it any more than it needs to be.

Still crazy and not improving,

1 comment:

  1. It's good to read your blog again, Mike. My dad loved Rube Goldberg. It's all too easy to make simple things more difficult.


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