Faith

So perfect no one will need to be good

So much for futurism?

They constantly try to escape

From the darkness outside and within

By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.

But the man that is shall shadow

The man that pretends to be.

T.S. Eliot

Character first

I’ve thought about this sermon a lot over the past month. During stressful times it’s good to remember that the real goal is not success in work or even personal life, but rather building character to be more loving, more honest, more holy. Not your circumstances but how you grow in them to those ends.

When we see a brand new baby, part of what we love about that baby is that little baby when it first arrives in this world is just innocent. How long does that baby’s innocence last? Twenty years? Twenty minutes? Innocence is the absence of sin, but it’s not yet the presence of character. Character is that pattern, those habitual patterns of…How do I think? What do I want? What will I choose?…That’s what life is about. – John Ortberg

Oh wow oh wow oh wow

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times. Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW. – Mona Simpson

Finding vs having

Are you trying to find the answer, or are you trying to have the answer? Similar statements; vastly different philosophies.

Doubt and certainty

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. – Voltaire

Kevin Kelly’s faith

Some pretty unique ideas, mixed with very traditional creeds. As might be expected from one of the world’s foremost technology philosophers.

God has given us free will—true free will, not a phantom free will—and he wants us to surprise him. We are here to surprise God…

I seek to find those technologies that assist me in my mission to express love and reflect God in the world, and then disregard the rest. But at the same time, I want to maximize the pool of technologies that people can choose from, so that they can find those tools that maximize their options and minimize the rest…

When we make these virtual worlds in the future—worlds whose virtual beings will have autonomy to commit evil, murder, hurt, and destroy options—it’s not unthinkable that the game creator would go in to try to fix the world from the inside. That’s the story of Jesus’ redemption to me. We have an unbounded God who enters this world in the same way that you would go into virtual reality and bind yourself to a limited being and try to redeem the actions of the other beings since they are your creations.

Doing new things

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I guess all sorts of design feel the same way.

Knowing what you care about

Merlin Mann‘s writing around this time last year was very influential in my thinking during my sabbatical. Specifically:

Before you sweat the logistics of focus: first, care. Care intensely.

I think understanding what you care about is vastly underestimated. Mostly, we subscribe to the myth that we care about whatever we’re doing. But when you have to drag yourself to the table every day for more, maybe you don’t actually care.

And that’s ok. You can’t force yourself to care about something any more than you can force yourself to grow another ear. Care is something that comes from the combination of what’s inside you and what you encounter.

You can, certainly, put yourself in situations that give you the chance to care about things–for instance, visiting an AIDS hospice center, or meeting with immigrants from another country, or going on a missions trip to a suffering community–and hopefully in some of those situations you will realize that you really do care, about important things. Some people say that great innovation just comes from trying lots of things and finding what works, and I think understanding your passions works the same way. But you can’t force yourself to care about something that you just don’t…care about.

The bit that really stuck with me was Merlin’s earlier application of this philosophy to “priorities” (which I noted at the time):

A priority is observed, not manufactured or assigned. Otherwise, it’s necessarily not a priority…

When my daughter falls down and screams, I don’t ask her to wait while I grab a list to determine which of seven notional levels of “priority” I should assign to her need for instantaneous care and affection. Everything stops, and she gets taken care of. Conversely – and this is really the important part – everything else in the universe can wait.

Priorities are a reflection of what you really care about, because they are the things you actually do. And since you can’t force yourself to care about something, your priorities are a reflection of who you really are.

How do you apply this? First, understand what it is that you really do care about, by observing what you actually do. If you’re not satisfied with that, go out and seek new opportunities to discover something else you care about. And then, once you realize you care deeply, sacrifice other things for that and you can do truly great work and be happier in life.

I’m still discovering more about the things I truly care about, but this philosophy has already led to a greater focus on relationships and health, and a tremendous reduction in stress about the things I thought I cared about but that I really didn’t. Know what you really care about, and don’t pretend you care about things you don’t.

Playtime 101

Sometimes adults need help with this:

This week thirty of us have promised to keep a daily crayon journal, build a fort or play with bubbles, and go out of our way to notice and welcome any children we see.

I love ReIMAGINE.

Your life’s metric

“Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.” – Clayton Christensen.

Another excerpt:

“It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates have done, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”