The 36 Questions That Lead to Love

September 3, 2017

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The 36 Questions That Lead to Love Based upon The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness, A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings. Set I Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Would you like to be famous? In what way? Before making a telephone call, do you ever […]

Posted in: love, psychology

Justice IS the Gospel.

August 13, 2017

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It is common for Christians in my circles to respond to our church’s justice and racial reconciliation efforts as “too political.” It’s difficult at times to discern whether they are disagreeing with the way we voice our convictions, or simply dismissing the issue all together as unimportant or irrelevant to their faith. Honestly, I don’t […]

Posted in: faith, justice

…let us live and love without labels.

August 12, 2017

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Married, divorced and single here, it’s one family that mingles here. Conservative and liberal here, we’ve all gotta give a little here. Big and small here, there’s room for all of us here. Doubt and believe here, we call can receive here. LGBTQ and straight here, there’s no hate here. Woman and man here, everyone […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Truth does not begin with a question and end in an answer. Truth begins with wonder and ends in a mystery.

August 9, 2017

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Perhaps stated another way, epistemology is not so much a process by which a problem is resolved, or a puzzle is solved. Rather, epistemology is an exercise in grasping, reaching, and yearning for the unknowable. It also involves a concession to subjectivity, a defeat of absolutism.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Your Solution Is Not My Problem

July 29, 2017

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From Dave McClure’s post, Your SOLUTION Is Not My PROBLEM. Ok folks… if there’s ONE thing i can help you with tonight, it’s how to pitch.  it’s very simple, and i can teach you in about 5 minutes. Here’s the secret: PITCH THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION. That’s it. done! that’s all there is… just tell me the problem FIRST, […]

Posted in: communication

You only have two options, the past or the future, because “now” does not exist.

July 10, 2017

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The dimension of time is by its nature a transition from the past into the future. As such, according to physics, “now” does not exist. There is no “now.” You are either stopping and reflecting on the past, or you are considering, imagining, and dreaming, of what new realities could come in the future. Pushed […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Reading is about a becoming, a transformation of personhood.

July 10, 2017

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Yes, reading is a good discipline, and it expands your mind, broadens your horizons, and allows you to escape to imaginative worlds. Reading does make you “smart,” and while the connotations of that word are often elitist, the word “smart” really should be seen simply as a positive trait and skill that can be acquired […]

Most problems are actually solutions to other problems. Therefore, don’t deal with problems, deal with finding better solutions.

March 31, 2017

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Consider the problem of procrastination. Procrastination is not the problem. Procrastination is the solution to a bigger problem, be that fear of accomplishment, or the absence of discipline. Consider the problem of arguing with a loved one. Arguing is not the problem. Arguing is the solution to the problem of a failure to communicate, or of deep pain […]

Posted in: behavior, leadership

Understanding the difference between “problems” and “symptoms” is the most pervasive and pernicious of human challenges, and the pathway toward finding solutions.

February 3, 2017

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You’ve heard many people say, “We have a problem.” But what they are really pointing to is a “symptom.” If you continue to do that, you’ll never understand “the problem,” and you’ll deploy “solutions” that are a waste, and actually make the problem worse. To understand the difference between “problems” and “symptoms” requires leveraging wisdom […]

Stress is experienced when demands exceed resources.

February 3, 2017

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Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that “demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” In less formal terms, we feel stressed when we feel that “things are out of control”. A healthy response to stress, then, is to focus on decreasing demands, or increasing […]

Posted in: behavior, psychology

A mature person is someone who is not easily offended.

February 3, 2017

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offended |əˈfendəd| : “resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.” mature |məˈCHo͝or| : something has “fully developed” or has “reached an advanced stage of mental or emotional development.” Therefore, someone who is easily offended means that they have not reached a level of mental or emotional development capable of understanding that […]

Posted in: discourse, psychology

Love is safer than fear.

February 1, 2017

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Throughout history, humanity has dealt with one big daunting question, What do I do with the “other?” Given that the fear center of our brain (the limbic system) is designed to protect us and keep us safe, and that it is the most primitive of our faculties, humans’ first — and seemingly reasonable — impulse, […]

Posted in: psychology

Leadership is not about stating the facts. Leadership is responsible for shaping the conversation around facts.

January 31, 2017

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Facts are not beliefs. Facts are merely objective data points that reflect reality. It is a common misconception that people in positions of power have a responsibility to report the facts. In reality, everyone has a responsibility to report the facts, and submit to them, regardless of your “title” or “position.” That’s just the nature […]

Most of us are incompetent at most things.

November 3, 2016

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It is important to recognize and then realize this truth when deciding who you are, and what work you should be doing; your personal vision, and your core commitments. It is human nature to be insecure and ultimately fearful of the many things of which we are incapable. We then instinctively admire (envy?) others who […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

“The Gap” by Ira Glass

June 18, 2016

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“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, […]

Posted in: creativity

The plan is less important than the planning.

March 3, 2016

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A team with a plan is less effective than a team that has gone through the rigorous and involved process of putting that plan together. The process of planning is what builds knowledge, understanding, insight, and inspiration to execute. For this reason, outsourcing the “planning” to a third-party is detrimental to an organization’s success. The […]

In God we trust. All others bring data.

March 3, 2016

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One of my favorite Edward Deming quotes.

Posted in: leadership

Spend more time introducing change than implementing change.

March 3, 2016

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Everybody loves and hates change. Instinctively, people know that change is good. Change means growth, development, innovation, and adventure. Change means improvement, and challenge. Emotionally, however, change is threatening. Change also means the loss of familiarity and the uncertainty of what is to come. Change can be subtly insulting to the way we’ve done things […]

Don’t be afraid to dig in the conflict quarry.

March 3, 2016

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Many managers take issue with employees/constituents who argue. They feel it is threatening, or disrespectful. In addition, many leaders really wish they could move on from the arguments to “the real work” of making deals, or completing projects as they have an aversion to friction. What they miss is that conflict is evidence of people’s […]

Don’t confuse or conflate a “tactical victory” with a “strategic success.”

March 3, 2016

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Tactical victories are particular battles you fight and win. Strategic successes, however, are the end results of all the battles you fight and whether or not they realize the ultimate aims, goals, and objectives of an organization. It is possible to win the tactical fight, and lose the strategic goal. It is just as possible […]

Prioritize caring for your people and they will prioritize caring for your organization.

February 29, 2016

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There is a direct relationship between how much you prioritize the care of the people in your organization with how much they prioritize the organization over their own selfish desires and ambitions. The more willing you are to prioritize your people, the more willing your people are to prioritize the organization over themselves. Consequently, if […]

Posted in: leadership

I am not an expert.

October 10, 2015

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Too many people in this world avoid personal or professional development because the unstated implication of growth and maturation is that there is some level of incompetency or immaturity that exists in your current state of understanding. This is known as being “insecure,” “feeling threatened,” or “being vulnerable.” This dynamic frequently sabotages and thwarts human […]

Posted in: leadership

Inspect what you expect.

September 26, 2015

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Inspection, done well, communicates care, that you’re invested, and value, that the work is important. Inspection can also allow someone to “brag” and “show off” their work, instilling a sense of accomplishment or pride — a positive sense dignity and worth. Inspection also provides accountability, and can spurn inspiration when lulls of motivation sets in. […]

Posted in: leadership

Groupthink makes the mind stink.

September 26, 2015

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Irving Janis, author of Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes, has defined group think as, the deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures. (p.9) There are several common characteristics that emerge from groupthink: The Illusion of Invulnerability. Group members collectively believe they are […]

Leadership is about significance, not about prominence.

September 24, 2015

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The great myth of leadership is that leadership is a positional category; that it is rank, order, tier, power. Leadership is more about meaning, purpose, and significance. How one makes an impact in this world, not where one stands in the world. The value of one’s work, not the power of one’s position. The difference […]

Posted in: leadership

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

September 24, 2015

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Never be an expert. Always be a novice. Never be certain of a solution. Always embrace the next problem. Fail frequently. Do not run from discomfort. Run to it. This is the way of success. This is the way of an entrepreneur. This is the way of an adventurer.

We only judge in areas where we are deeply vulnerable to shame.

September 24, 2015

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When someone passes judgment on another, it is often done to “rank order” the other person against oneself. It is a measurement we make to position ourselves. And we do so, not necessarily because we think so low of the other, but because we are vulnerable to shame in that very area in which we […]

Posted in: faith, psychology

Labels are a distancing phenomena. Don’t use them.

August 12, 2015

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Labels can be descriptors, but never identifiers. Labels tell you what you perceive, not what is truly there. Labels don’t tell stories, and people are stories in motion. Labels halt listening, the fundamental act of humanizing our species. Let us set aside labels and do more listening.

Show up before things blow up.

July 18, 2015

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Also known as “anticipation,” showing up before things blow up is a philosophy of proactive and disciplined leadership which saves time, money, and most of all, heartache. The posture of anticipation is also not predicated on needing the skill of prediction, the ability to tell the future. The posture of anticipation is the skill of […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

July 18, 2015

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As a leader, your job is not to be the one who is most creative, most intelligent, or most important. A leader’s job is to create the environments and conditions in which the most creative, most intelligent, and most important ideas and people live and thrive within the organization. And by creating that kind of […]

Posted in: leadership

Invest power, do not just wield it.

July 8, 2015

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The people around a great leader are not just governed, they’re empowered. They’re made to feel larger than themselves, and integral to the organization. A great leader invests power and authority into the people that leader serves, and entrusts that everyone will be as responsible with that power as the leader has been. One catch. […]

Posted in: leadership

“Abusus non tollit usum.” Misuse does not remove use.

February 26, 2015

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Leadership: Just because effective leadership practices and principles are often misapplied, taken advantage of, or leveraged for one’s own selfish agenda, does not mean those leadership principles are invalid. Religion: Just because religious institutions have abused power, misappropriated theological concepts, and ignored rationalism, reason, and proper philosophy, does not mean that religion itself is vapid […]

The leadership desert. Everyone leads, not everyone leads well.

February 13, 2015

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Principle 1. Everyone on the face of the planet is a leader. Everyone lives in some kind of organization. Everyone influences other human beings in that organization. Everyone causes life to progress or digress in one or more of an infinite number of possibilities. Everyone makes a difference in outcomes. In this sense, everyone leads. […]

Posted in: leadership

It’s called, “the freedom of speech,” not “the freedom of slander.”

February 13, 2015

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Stated anecdotally, I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Evelyn Beatrice Hall It is the difference between what we want to say (impulsively, individually, with self-righteous justification) and what we ought to say (what is necessary and proper in accordance with good judgment, […]

Posted in: discourse, ethics

Don’t be a bibliophile. Be an ideophile.

February 11, 2015

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Don’t love books. Love ideas. Crave them. Soak in them. Leverage them. Manipulate them. Collect them. Smash them together like a particle accelerator and see what they’re made of. Track them down like Sherlock Holmes. Perform forensic dissections on them. Release them into the wild to see what they devour, and what devours them. Serve […]

Use the phrase, “I decided…”

February 11, 2015

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There is a choice in every choice. This choice could make a radical difference in life outcomes. That choice is to view your activity as a matter of consequence or as a matter of free will. This is not about the thing itself, but rather how one describes the thing. This is also the difference […]

Be ridiculously optimistic. We have a glass.

March 22, 2014

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In the great debate between “half-empty” vs. “half-full,” we seem to have missed the fact that we have a glass. Checkmate, pessimists. #optimistswin

Posted in: philosophy, psychology

Fill the communication gap with love.

March 22, 2014

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Because of the inadequacies of human connection, there are a variety of ways in which communication is missed leaving a gap between you and the other. Because of the insecurities of the human spirit, most often that obscurity leads to worry at what the other was intending to say to us. And because of the […]

David Foster Wallace on Leadership

March 2, 2014

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It is just about impossible to talk about the really important stuff in politics without using terms that have become such awful clichés they make your eyes glaze over and are hard to even hear. One such term is “leader,” which all the big candidates use all the time — as in e.g. “providing leadership,” […]

Posted in: leadership

Evaluate a leader’s character and integrity by those who see them most and know them best.

February 19, 2014

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In our celebrity culture, it is almost instinctual to evaluate a leader on their “product,” the thing they offer to the world that is consumed by their patrons, and thus evaluated by the rubrics of “customer satisfaction.” This is great for capitalism, but lethal for leadership. A “customer service” evaluation of leadership is necessarily done […]

Posted in: leadership

Great leaders say, “I’m sorry.”

February 3, 2014

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Too often an apology is seen as an admission of fault or an acceptance of liability. This is a low view of the word “sorry.” Leaders who only see an apology as somehow undermining their position or authority not only completely miss the point, their abdication of this critical skill increases distrust, disillusionment, and disintegration […]

Posted in: leadership

The three occupations of an effective leader: curator, librarian, and tour guide.

January 30, 2014

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While our interconnected world will always need experts, experts by definition are not people of influence but rather people of ownership, people who “possess” what they know. Leadership requires an interpretation and deployment of that expertise in ways that are useful, through avenues that are accessible, and in language that is understandable. Thus, the future […]

Posted in: leadership

When elephants fight it’s the grass that suffers.

January 18, 2014

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If elephants=leaders, and grass=people under those leaders, what is most painful about this African proverb is that the elephants neither know nor care about the pain they cause to the grass. The warring elephants are too distracted with winning the battle than tending to the ground underneath. Their concern is in their power and position, […]

Posted in: leadership

Mentor yourself.

January 17, 2014

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It is frequently asked of high profile people, “Will you be my mentor?” Why? A mentoring relationship subconsciously offers promises it may not be able to keep; the promise of climbing a corporate ladder, the promise of gaining “secret intelligence,” the promise of being “on the inside” with a person of prominence. Perhaps, the most […]

Posted in: leadership

Most debates around atheism (and Christianity) are not about God. They’re about epistemology. Don’t be an apologist. Be an epistemologist.

January 2, 2014

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And what is discouraging is that most Christian apologists are focused and adept at dogma, rhetoric, and dogmatic rhetoric, and not so good at critical thinking skills, objectivity, logic, and reason. Popular audiences do not help with this problem as confirmation bias is pandemic. In order to have epistemological acumen, and thus debate competency, we […]

Posted in: epistemology, faith

I’d rather be in the arena marred and spent, than be a critic who is cold, timid, and ignorant of victory and defeat.

January 1, 2014

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At least, that is how I feel after reading quotes like this: It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is […]

Posted in: inspiration

Abstinence is not merely the avoidance of an activity. It is the discipline to not be mastered by the temptation.

December 6, 2013

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Too often the term “abstinence” refers only to the external physical behavior. We must elevate this term and its cognates to something much richer, much deeper, and much more empowering. Mere avoidant passivity is incomplete and uninspiring. True abstinence requires an active self-regulatory grit, an inner strength … guts.

Posted in: ethics, psychology

The difference between optimists and pessimists is how one perceives the space between here and there.

November 26, 2013

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Pessimists and Optimists both can see and understand the conclusion, the goal, or the end result. Both can apprehend its value and importance. Both can even desire it. What makes one a pessimist vs. an optimists is now how one perceives the end, but the space between the self and the end. Optimists see the […]

Posted in: existentialism

Why it might be helpful to apologize for something that’s not your fault.

October 30, 2013

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An apology for something beyond anyone’s control, such as the weather, has the effect of making others trust the apologizer. For example, when a young man approached strangers in a train station on a rainy day and said, “I’m so sorry about the rain! Can I borrow your phone?” he was successful 47% of the […]

Posted in: leadership

If you understand less, then learn. If you understand more, then teach.

October 28, 2013

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But do not be an ass, an imbecile, or a recluse. This is the way of human progression.

What leaders won’t do? Endure emotional discomfort at work.

August 27, 2013

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[The following is a truncated version of Patrick Lencioni’s POV (point of view) article, June 2013.] In the course of my career, I’ve always been amazed at what leaders will do for their organizations. So many founders and CEOs will spend countless late nights in the office, endure long and grueling business trips, even sacrifice […]

Posted in: leadership

Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom.

July 23, 2013

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What I would call an “epistemological hierarchy,” each level attains not simply more truth, but completely different categories of truth which must be fully embraced to captivate the fullness of “truth.” Data is the category of facts. Information adds the category of context. Knowledge re-contextualizes in relationship. Understanding adds empathy. Wisdom binds them all together […]

Posted in: epistemology

The opposite of a covenant is compliance.

July 3, 2013

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When you lead people, through positional or moral authority, it is easy to equate people’s level of compliance with your level of effectiveness. Compliance, however, is not about how inspired people are, or how engaged they happen to be. Compliance illustrates how obedient people are to rules, how fearful they are of consequences, and/or how […]

Posted in: leadership

How can you tell if your church/social organization is about products, or about people? How you think about “growth.”

June 30, 2013

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For social sector servants. If you’re goal is growth, most likely you’re into products and not into service, you’re in business, not in benevolence, you’re into capital, not in the cause. And you probably think of your services, your preaching, your teaching, as a commodity. Growth, as a primary goal and key marker for “success,” […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Don’t ask, “What should I say?” Ask, “Which story shall I tell?”

June 23, 2013

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Giving talks, messages, sermons, etc., is a complicated and daunting task that is made such by the paucity of original ideas and the taunting plainness of a blank page. It is therefore perhaps better to replace the common, “come up with something to say” with “choose which story to tell.” What does this require? 80% […]

Posted in: discourse

How to cultivate curiosity.

May 12, 2013

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Craft A Great Story. Very little competes with a great story, especially one with drama, complicated tensions, conflicting ideas and ideals, the greatness and darkness of humanity, victory and tragedy, accomplishments and failures, and most of all, personal transparency. Pose A Great Problem. One that has no answer, one that has no boundaries, and one […]

Posted in: existentialism

The first question any consultant should ask is, “Who is my client?”

May 2, 2013

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This is also the first question for any teacher, minister, and doctor; anyone with a vision or passion to do something great in this world. Perhaps another way to frame the question is “Who do I serve?” Identifying the right client is a key step in providing the right service. The second question is to […]

Posted in: leadership

Why must the nation grieve withOUT God?

January 10, 2013

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On December 26, 2012, Lawrence Krauss (Arizona State theoretical physicist and author of several books) published an article in CNN’s belief blog on the tragedy in Newton, CT entitled “Why must the nation grieve with God?” His basic premise is that the invocation of God is unnecessary, and even damaging. While I have great respect […]

Posted in: faith

Red & Blue, and Purple. Why primary colors are inadequate to describe us.

November 8, 2012

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Obama’s acceptance speech ended with… I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We […]

Posted in: politics

Letting go can mean holding on.

November 1, 2012

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Letting go does not mean to stop caring; it means I cannot do it for someone else. Letting go is not to cut myself off; it is the realization that I cannot control another. Letting go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. Letting go is to admit powerlessness, which means […]

Posted in: redemption

A debate is suppose to be clarifying, not caustic.

July 26, 2012

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In listening to many debates, it appears that the vast majority of them platform conflict and argument. In the most innocuous form, the debate format attempts “fairness” giving equal ground to opposing sides. Ultimately, the goal is to argue these sides whoever is more persuasive (or loudest) “wins.” This “win” is a “lose” in my […]

Posted in: discourse

Don’t review books you haven’t read.

July 26, 2012

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Don’t review books you haven’t read. Don’t review books if you’ve only read reviews of books. Don’t judge people you haven’t met. Don’t confuse good “judgment” with “condemnation.” Don’t debate theology on Facebook. Don’t tweet revenge. Don’t yell. Don’t demonize. Don’t use Hitler in an argument. Don’t claim to know the truth until you’ve declared […]

Posted in: discourse

Dictionaries do not make definitions. Definitions make dictionaries.

July 21, 2012

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A dictionary is not the standard for definitions. A dictionary is a compiled catalog of cultural meanings. When someone tells you to “look it up in the dictionary,” it is merely as a reference point so that you can have common ground in which to interact and operate in your cultural context. But it (the […]

Posted in: culture, epistemology

Compassion and mercy are downstream. Justice is upstream.

July 7, 2012

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If you were saving people out of a river — abuse, abduction, trafficking, poverty, injustice — this necessary work is commendable, laudable, and heaven sent. We call this “compassion.” Sometimes we call it “mercy.” Justice, however, is a far more difficult and challenging task. Justice has to hike through the jungle on the banks of […]

Posted in: justice

Technological amnesia and our absent identity.

July 6, 2012

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Have you ever said something like, “I don’t even remember how we operated without computers?” Or, “What did we ever do before the Internet?” Or, “I’d be a wreck without my smart phone.” If you have said anything like this, then you have technological amnesia, the forgotten ways in which life use to operate before […]

Posted in: culture

What is a thought?

July 6, 2012

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A muse (not amuse)? A meme? A truth? A fact? The beginning? The end? Or is it merely evidence of life, a soul, neurons and synapses properly working? Is it powerful or impotent? Is it fact or fiction? Is it science or art? Is it natural or metaphysical? Is it mundane or sublime? What is […]

Posted in: epistemology