Knowledge That Matters

Knowledge That Matters

Scott Adams on the limits and benefits of others assessing our abilities, from his own experience with the cartoon, Dilbert:

The two opinions about your abilities that you should never trust are your own opinions, and the majority’s opinions. But if a handful of people who have a good track record of identifying talent think you have something, you just might.

Justin Taylor’s rewording for Christians:

Callings…should not discerned by the individual alone (autonomy) or everyone (democracy) but rather by good counselors (a trusted community).

A Story Culture

A Story Culture

Interesting article about attention to the hierarchy of information, data, knowledge, and wisdom at Rands in Repose titled, A Story Culture. The point: people like stories, and synthesis-ability (wisdom) produces the best stories.

The construction of a story has very little to do with writing. It has to do with the semi-magical process of you taking disparate pieces of information, combining them into something new, which includes your experience and understanding, and then giving them to someone else.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot: why write if the people I know/who know me aren’t reading? In other words, what would make someone who doesn’t know me want to read what I wrote? Friends and family are often satisfied at the information and data levels. The shared facts, even if nugatory, fit into an already informed narrative, so need to connect the dots is a low bar. Students may get by with data and knowledge. And if not, we can pass the blame by telling them it’s their fault for not being interested. But the stranger/distance reader wants wisdom or he’s gone.

The value of the idea is one part that it is yours and one part that you gave it to someone else. It’s you and something new.

The closing line was good, too.

In this digitally distant world full of information that appears to only be moving faster and faster, you get to choose: how much will I consume and how much will I create?

My take-away: in order to create more (interesting things/stories), I need more work and more wisdom.

Stop the World

Stop the World

Last week, George Packer wrote an article titled, Stop the World, for The New Yorker. Though I use Twitter, I still enjoyed his old-media world cynicism, as well as his unwritten call to consider how much we imbibe.

The notion of sending and getting brief updates to and from dozens or thousands of people every few minutes is an image from information hell. I’m told that Twitter is a river into which I can dip my cup whenever I want. But that supposes we’re all kneeling on the banks. In fact, if you’re at all like me, you’re trying to keep your footing out in midstream, with the water level always dangerously close to your nostrils. Twitter sounds less like sipping than drowning.

And though the following is perhaps alarmist, maybe there is reason for some alarm after all. If Twitter (or Facebook or anything) keeps us from living on unseen things, it’s no longer good craic.

Who doesn’t want to be taken out of the boredom or sameness or pain of the present at any given moment? That’s what drugs are for, and that’s why people become addicted to them. Twitter is crack for media addicts. It scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.

Dangerous Calling

Dangerous Calling

Two messages by Paul Tripp at the 2010 Desiring God Pastor’s pre-conference seminar.

The Pastor: Who Do We Think He Is Anyway?

Ministry is war. That war is not fought in programs or finances. It is fought on the turf of your heart.

The greatest danger to the church of Christ…rests in the heart of the person that stands in the pulpit.

The Pastor: Not Yet Perfect, Still Under Attack.

If you are aware that there are incongruities in your public and personal life, then seek help. You are not designed to do this thing by yourself. Your ministry is a community project.

If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule your life.

Pray for Your Elders

Pray for Your Elders

You see: what if all those lousy elders out there had an army of people like you praying for them daily, crying out to heaven, “God: you have him/them to this church full of your people, and now you have to either give him the gifts to lead them and the love to lead them and the power in your Spirit to lead them, or you need to convict him to move on. Please God: teach this man to be a shepherd and a brother to those whom you have given under his position. They are your people, and for their sake, and the sake of Christ who bought them, make him worthy.”

Ten Questions

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

  1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In Honor of Tethered Preaching

In Honor of Tethered Preaching

The Bible-oriented preacher wants the congregation to know that his words, if they have any abiding worth, are in accord with God’s words. He wants this to be obvious to them. That is part of his humility and his authority. Therefore, he constantly tries to show the people that his ideas are coming from the Bible. He is hesitant to go too far toward points that are not demonstrable from the Bible.

Something Has to Die

Something Has to Die

When we are not getting along with others, the pressing temptation is always to believe that you are just as you have always been, and that they have somehow changed. This is often not true at all, but even if it were true, that does not put you in the right. Perhaps they have changed in that they have decided to stop putting up with your rudeness.

The Holy Spirit does not just come along and fill you with benevolent thoughts. He is a Person, not a shot of joy juice. And the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the death of Jesus to the areas of your life that need mortifying.

It turns out that in order for you get along with others, something has to die.