Bite your Onion!


In my previous post – “It Was A Good Week That Started Off Well!” – I told you about my week – a great week with a great challenge…

A fortnight ago Pastor Bob challenged us that if we choose to be used in character with our true identity, and forget about our own creature comforts and self-centeredness, then we are destined for great works of service.

I spoke about what bugs me, and asked the question whether I’m willing to take a risk?
Herein lies the human dilemma: – Am I just one of the crowd, or do I embrace fully the “change agent” I’m challenged to be?

With this challenge still in mind, and with my spirits buoyed by my new circumstances, I found myself on the bus one evening.

In anonymity we fellow passengers shared a few laughs and talked about nothing in particular.  Someone mentioned that their kids were sick; another that they were seeking work; yet another, an aged parent…  Soberly we agreed that “we all have our struggles”.  “I’m with AA,” my neighbor said.  “I fight the good fight to make things different everyday.”

Wow! Quick as a wink my ‘issues’ weren’t worth mentioning anymore.  Most of my small “struggles” wouldn’t matter past tomorrow, let alone everyday, next year, or for a lifetime…

Am I ever challenged to take a hard look at myself and at my priorities in life!  What is really at issue, and what is at stake? If I say that I believe in something, how much do my beliefs influence my action?  If I am concerned, why is it so, and what will my response be?  Who am I challenged to be?

Maybe an onion could help.

Sometimes onions are like garlic, certainly a good sharp raw onion can be.  If you eat a lot of onion everybody around you knows!  You can’t hide it!  Every time you open your mouth, the evidence “speaks” for itself! :))

Shrek, the ogre in the movie Shrek states that, “Ogres are like onions, they’re made of many layers.”  And of course we humans aren’t any different either!
Ha! Humans have so many layers sometimes, some of us could be tree-sized onions with all our layers and rings…

Just think on something simple like the roles we play at in society each day: I’m a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend, an employee at work, and a leader elsewhere.  Etc. etc. etc.

On a different level I’m a physical being with complex physical needs; I have intellectual capacities and potential; I have an emotional life and needs; And I am also spiritually aware…

Years ago I came across “The Onion Skin Model” which is based upon a model developed by anthropologists.  There are many iterations of the model, but basically this model attempts to show how the elements of our behavior and belief systems, fit together to shape WHO we are, and the ways in which we express ourselves as individuals.

We can liken these elements to the concentric rings of an onion… A core, with every widening, enfolding concentric layers wrapped one around another.  When one cuts an onion in half the concentric circular layers of the onion are clearly visible

At the center of our “onion” (according to the onion skin model) lies our underlying Worldview — the way we interpret and decode the world around us.  This worldview is closely related to our Beliefs, the next “layer”, which provide definition and detail.

Next up, our lives are built upon the Values we hold — and these are shaped by our underlying beliefs.  Values define what we consider important about living and our relationships.

Our values become visible in our exterior Expressions.  This is most evident in the way we behave and in our attitudes.  It is also demonstrated by the things we write, the things we make, our art, etc.

The modern media has a lot to do with Values and Expressions.  That is what people are most interested in. Values and Expressions become the foundation for a lot of our meaningful communication and lead on to questions about what we believe and that in turn, reveals our underlying worldview…

The Onion skin model can be widely applied in many varied applications.  So we can use our same onion as a metaphor for investigating or ‘peeling back’ layers of complexity till one gets to the core of an issue, even to the core of knowing yourself.

The Ancient Greek aphorism “Know thyself” was inscribed in golden letters at the lintel of the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
From time immemorial it has been the pursuit of man to seek knowledge and understanding, and along with this, the term “know thyself” has become a synonym for self-realization or self-knowledge.

While I would not consider myself a humanist, or in search of deeper revelation, being an “All-In” type of guy I believe in believing what I “sell”.  I aim to embody what I represent; I try doing what I espouse; I’m living what I preach.  At least I want to…  This to me is integrity.

People don’t care how much I know (or have to say) until they know how much I care about doing the right thing.  Equally, words are easily drowned out by incongruous expressions that don’t match up with “the talk”…

To better “do” life, I need to bite down honestly into the core of why I think I believe; peel back the layers; and evaluate what’s truly at issue and at stake…

I believe  that from the understanding of my core Pointaview, I’ll draw insights to instigate change through lived Values and deliberate Expressions.

I’m on a mission!  Care to join me for an onion anyone?

I believe
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About Johan Bester

I am a 5th Generation African of mixed European descent - born in South Africa; And currently living it up in the USA till the Dear Lord takes me somewhere else some day... I am happily married for life, and my aim is to be a successful follower of Jesus. Despite being a very experienced realist, I do have moments of idealism when I believe in good and in people. I believe in hard work, right and wrong, taking care of what needs to get done right now, commonsense, “doing the right thing ‘cause it’s the right thing to do”, preparing for a “rainy day”, and watching your own back, amongst other.
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