Are you a fanatic?
This morning after church I got chatting to one of my favourite people (let’s call her Jen).
One of the reasons Jen is one of my favourite people is because she is passionate and fanatical about everything she puts her mind to. She is passionate and fanatical about Jesus, she is passionate and fanatical about her family, she is passionate and fanatical about teaching and she is passionate and fanatical about tennis.
A mutual friend (let’s call her Pauline) joined us. Pauline is also passionate and fantical about tennis.
I like watching tennis. Indeed, I have watched tennis in my pyjamas at Jen’s house – I believe it was Sam Stosur in the French Open – but I don’t understand all the rules of tennis and I especially do not understand how the David Cup works. Jen and Pauline do understand how the Davis Cup works. They are tennis fanatics.
And so the conversation began. What happens if this country won? Well then, the next phase will be held in Scotland. No, it can’t be held at Wimbledon because the ground isn’t big enough. But then if France(?) wins then the Belgium/Australia round will be held in Australia. And off they went, planning their tennis-viewing year (not forgetting that Lleyton will be playing his final Aussie Open so we need to watch that). We also got to discussing the fanatical supporters that follow the stars around the globe.
At the end of the conversation, in which I quickly moved from participant to observer, I remarked that “I now have a bit of an understanding of what it’s like for people when I start talking about quilts and quilting. I'm enjoying being with you; I love hearing the passion in your voices, but I really have no idea what you’re talking about”. I am as fanatical about quilting as they are about tennis. When I'm not making a quilt, I'm either working at a quilt shop, making notes about a quilt I want to make, talking to someone about a quilt or writing about something to do with quilting.
And so I started thinking further about the idea of fanaticism and passion. A couple of months ago on the radio I heard an interview with an insect expert. I have very little interest in insects and although I don’t remember the content of the interview I do remember being completely engaged in the interview at the time because the professor spoke with such passion. When someone talks with passion you can’t help but be engaged. Fanaticism and passion are infectious. When you’re around someone who is passionate, you can’t help but be engaged and share their passion.
I've recently discovered the Mind Over Movement podcast by Lauren Heys and Dave Nixon. In a recent episode, they also talk about doing things with passion. Their take on this is that when deciding on whether to do something if you can’t answer “HELL YES!!”, then the answer needs to be no. This makes prioritising and time-management so much easier. If you’re not passionate and fanatical about the outcome of the project, then say no.
A disclaimer. There are very few people who are passionate and fanatical about taking the bins out and bringing them in again. Don’t be telling your significant other/flatmate/parent that you don’t have to take the bins out any more because VineLines said. VineLines did not say that and you know it.
So, are you a fanatic? What can you be fanatical about and how can you share your passion with others today?
On a tangent, at our church we’re currently studying Romans 12, the beginning of which talks about giving our whole selves to God. In a world where fanaticism and fundamentalism is seen as a dirty word, I would venture to suggest that being a fanatical Christian is actually OK and is in fact what God calls Christians to do in Romans 12 and other places. What is definitely NOT OK, Dear Reader, is to say very nasty, discriminatory things and do very nasty discriminatory things in the name of Christianity to people simply because they believe something that is different to what you believe. That is not OK. Full Stop.