New “Whine” Skins
When I was a kid, my dad taught me the power of self control.
I remember the morning well. The shower was ice cold, there were no clean spoons for my cereal, I spilled milk on my lap… when I discovered I hadn’t completed a homework assignment due that morning, I had had enough. I was mad at the world. My dad noticed my attitude and said, “Dan, you don’t have to be mad if you don’t want to be”. That was mind-blowing to me. It shaped the next 20 years of my life. In college, I was known as the “nice guy”. Philippians 2:14-16 became my favorite passage of scripture. In fact, I still have it in my wallet to this day:
I still believe that positivity has its benefits. Suffering through years of capturing MiniDV in real time has only taught me patience. But with each story I tell–with each glimpse into the human soul–staying positive has become increasingly difficult. In the last 10 years at Ginghamsburg, I have seen the pain of abuse, the prevalence of loss, the ugliness of neglect and the tragedy of disease. I’ve reported on bullying, human trafficking, racial segregation and drug overdoses. I’ve learned that helping can hurt, clean water is rare, the church is divided and I should probably stop eating sugar. Am I really expected not to complain about all that?
Searching for answers, I re-read Philippians 2. I noticed a couple things I hadn’t before. Verse 12 starts with a “therefore”. That means everything after verse 12 is pulling its context from the verses before it. I flipped the page and my eyes locked with verse 3: “…in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” With positivity as my lens, humility was lacking something. As positivity informed my humility, I was reduced to a by-stander. My life attitude became “let others get what they want”. What I missed was the term “value”. In other words, you care about them and what they care about. When humility informs positivity, it’s no longer step aside and “let others get what they want”. Rather, it’s “step alongside and help others get what they want”.
Step alongside and help others get what they want. @danniobracken Click To Tweet
With each new story I investigated, my heart was in pain. My “want to” began to change. I still understand that “I don’t have to be mad if I don’t want to be”, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the last 10 years at Ginghamsburg is that participating in Christ’s sufferings means opening yourself to the pain of humanity. Sometimes, pursuing justice starts with being mad because I want to be! Positivity before humility is neglect. Humility before positivity is justice and hope. Do you see the difference? Never underestimate your job as storyteller. As you allow yourself to be a sounding board for the cries of the voiceless (emptying yourself of your own preferences so others may speak through you), you may find your own preferences beginning to change. So quit whining about your job and start whining about what matters
Participating in Christ’s sufferings means opening yourself to the pain of humanity. @danniobracken Click To Tweet
Dan graduated from Asbury College in 2006 with a degree in media communication. A few months later, he joined the staff of Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, OH as a graphic design intern. After learning a thing or two over the years, Dan is now Senior Media Producer and leads a team of 80 unpaid media servants. Through his incredible creative ability, God has used him to change lives through the power of story. Dan lives in Tipp City, OH with his wife, Amy, and has 3 year old twins.