沒有異象使人盲目

By Jim Mathis

在1880年代,喬治.伊士曼(George Eastman)發明了一種照相製版術,把攝影感光乳劑塗在軟膠片上。很快他就帶來一種他稱為「柯達(Kodak)」的簡單照相機,來利用這個新的照相膠卷。那個小小的照相機改變了世界,因為它讓任何人都能照相,而且在那過程中也誕生了繁榮幾十年的沖洗相片產業。

幾乎在100年後,以他名字為名的企業──伊士曼柯達公司發明了數位攝影。然而,這一次,沒有像喬治.伊士曼那樣的夢想家。柯達公司不將數位照相視為可以強化攝影產業的嶄新科技,反而將它視為對他們製作膠卷這核心事業的威脅。他們顯然缺乏異象。

今天,我們都知道故事的後續發展。不只數位相機,還有內建高畫質相機的現代智慧型手機都是第一代柯達相機的後代子孫。雖然它們並不複雜且容易使用,數位攝影的革新者並沒有好好利用。

我們有時用「安於已有的成就」來形容某人或某個公司沒有產生或追求新的點子。我們陶醉在自己過去的成功,而無法或不願意向未來邁進。

在我參加過的一次攝影世界年會(Photoshop World convention)中,許多講師都指出,過去的成就可能會防礙我們未來去成就更大的事。例如在我所處的產業中,優秀的攝影師不斷地讚美自己二十年前所拍攝的照片,而且繼續拍攝相同的影像。同樣地,在音樂界──另一個我花許多時間參與的行業──有些音樂家繼續聽自己的老調,而不願彈奏其他。

換言之,我們可能陷入我們老舊、熟悉的方式,而無法看到嘗試嶄新且不同之方法的可能性。我觀察到一個有關任何企業的基本真理:公司愈大,領導階層愈可能缺乏想像力與創意去看到或欣賞任何不同於他們過去所做的事。

在靈性上也是如此。滿足於習慣的宗教儀式和傳統,我們常常不願去考慮新的事物。我們也可能因為沒有異象而變得盲目。但聖經中的上帝有一切關於「新」的事,就如以下經文所顯示:

新造的人。上帝知道我們的掙扎、我們的有限、以及我們的軟弱。祂要把我們變成新的人,裝備完全地去服事祂及其他人。「若有人在基督裏,他就是新造的人,舊事已過,都變成新的了」(哥林多後書5章17節)。

新事。了解我們有失敗和不完美的問題,上帝提供一個新的、不一樣的將來。「你們不要記念從前的事,也不要思想古時的事。看哪,我要做一件新事」(以賽亞書43章18-19節)。

新的動機。上帝知道我們常常活不出自己希望的樣子,上帝提供我們能力去為祂而活。「並且穿上新人;這新人是照著 神的形像造的,有真理的仁義和聖潔」(以賽亞書4章24節)。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他還寫了一本書「一般民眾的高度攝影表現」,那是一本有關數位攝影的書。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思 / 討論題目
你是否知道發明數位攝影的那公司沒有好好利用自己革命性的創新發明?從這裡可以學到什麼功課? 「安於已有的成就」對你而言是什麼意思?它一定都指負面的事嗎?為什麼? 異象──或缺乏異象──與靈命成長和發展有何關係? 本文說「聖經中的上帝有一切關於『新』的事。」你是否同意?請解釋。若你想看或討論聖經有關此主題的其他經文,請看以下經節: 以西結書36章26-27節;歌羅西書3章9-10節;希伯來書8章1-13節;啟示錄21章1-4節

BLINDED BY LACK OF VISION
By Jim Mathis

In the 1880’s, George Eastman invented a process for applying a photographic emulsion to flexible film. He soon brought out a simple camera he called "The Kodak" to take advantage of this new photographic film. This little camera changed the world by allowing anyone to take pictures and, in the process, gave birth to the photofinishing industry that thrived for many decades.

Almost exactly 100 years later, his namesake business – the Eastman Kodak Company – invented digital photography. This time, however, visionaries like George Eastman were all gone. Rather than seeing a dramatic new technology and envisioning how it could enhance the photographic industry, Kodak saw digital imaging only as a threat to their core business of making film. They obviously lacked vision.

Today, we know the rest of the story. Not only digital cameras, but also modern smartphones with high quality in-phone cameras are the practical descendants of the first Kodak camera. Even though they are uncomplicated and easy to use, the innovator of digital photography failed to capitalize.

We sometimes use the phrase, "resting on our laurels," to describe individuals or companies that fail to generate or pursue new ideas. But the problem is greater than that. It has to do with being so enamored with our past that we cannot or are unwilling to move toward the future.

Several of the speakers at a Photoshop World convention I attended pointed out how our past accomplishments can prevent us being able to achieve great things in the future. In my industry for example, excellent photographers continue to admire the wonderful photographs they made twenty years ago and keep producing the same images. Similarly, in music – another industry where I devote a lot of my time – some musicians keep listening to their old tunes and can’t imagine playing anything else.

In other words, we can become stuck in our old, familiar ways and fail to recognize the promise and possibilities of trying new and different ways for the future. I have observed a basic truth for any kind of business: The larger the company, the more likely the leadership is to demonstrate a lack of imagination and creativity to see or appreciate anything other than what they have already done.

The same can be true spiritually. Comfortable and content in accustomed religious practices, rituals and traditions, we are often reluctant to consider something new. We too can become blinded by an absence of vision. But the God of the Bible is all about “new,” as the following passages demonstrate:

New people. God knows our struggles, our limitations, and our weaknesses. He wants to make us new, individuals fully equipped to serve Him and others. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

New things. Understanding our problems with failure and imperfection, God offers a new, different future. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

New motives. Knowing we often do not live as we wish we could, God offers the capacity to live for Him. “And put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Did you realize the company that discovered digital photography failed to take advantage of its own revolutionary innovation? What lessons can be learned from that? What to you does it mean to “rest on our laurels”? Is this always a bad thing? Why or why not? How can vision – or the lack of it – relate to spiritual growth and development? The statement is made that “the God of the Bible is all about “new.”” Do you agree? Explain your answer.If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Ezekiel 36:26-27; Colossians 3:9-10; Hebrews 8:1-13; Revelation 21:1-4

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