Fear Of Whales

Archive for October, 2015


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passionfruitI think the word "Passion" is misused on our circles to the detriment of people who are trying to follow advice about engaging one’s passion. Someone approached me the other day and wanted advice because he did not feel like he had any passion. No job he really loved, No idea what to do with his life, just a bachelors degree and a need to feed himself. He wanted help finding his passion. This is what I told him:

We pretend like it’s something you really really enjoy doing, something that fills you with glee that you would do in your spare time just for fun. That’s not what a passion is.

It is actually a religious reference. The Passion is the crucifixion of Jesus. That doesn’t mean that Jesus loved getting crucified, that means that he cared enough about what was going on in that story (the perceived will of God) that he was willing to suffer, and suffer mightily in exchange for it.

So the adage holds true "do something as a career, you would do for free" but not because you enjoy it so much. Do it because you care about the results of it being done so much that you would endure it even for no money. Do it because it is your passion. Your crucifixion.

You may hear people who say their passion is video games, or ponies. You may hear businessmen joke that their true passion is Golf. Those people are idiots…. Unless of course the businessman means that he loves golf so much that he would do it every day, in the snow and the rain, that he would neglect his marriage and his children and spend long hours on the course until the blisters on his hand become unbearable because he has not yet perfected that dogleg shot. That is very rare.

More likely you care about something that matters more than golf. Something like human progress, or justice, or cross-cultural engagement. Maybe you hate it whenever animals are mistreated, when children are neglected, or whenever the truth is hidden from the masses. Maybe you would be willing to sacrifice to make one of those situations better. Do that.

Or, on the off chance that there really is nothing you care about, nothing that matters to you, nothing that grabs your attention because of it’s intrinsic value rather than what it pays, then you need to spend some time growing as a person. Get an easy job that pays enough to live on, don’t work more than half time, and spend the rest of your time learning to love deeply and analyzing with a professional what mechanism is broken inside you that previously prevented you. Because living without any passion is no way to live.

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October 28th, 2015 at 10:40 am

Pithy Remark Mondays

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61dFrQct9PL._UL1500_Maybe you have noticed that I am trying to step up my social media game. New blogs are coming out every Wednesday again, promoted on Twitter and  Facebook every Thursday. I have an Instagram account finally and a youTube Channel where I post sermon videos. The Plan is to have a full Digital portfolio and hundreds of committed followers who will impress the pants off and potential churches thinking about hiring me.

Since you are my faithful blog readers(, or at least since you clicked through today). I want to let you in on a little secret. There is another prong to my social media attack, which I call “Pithy Remark Mondays”. In PRM I schedule one pithy tweet to be sent automatically every Monday to keep my activity up on all the relevant sites.

It started back in Kansas when I would get home from a weekend training event just chock full of witty one-liners and would spread them out for gradual consumption until the next retreat. I left Kansas, hat no more pithy sayings and it died, but I’ve been wanting to bring it back and I have a plan: Mine my old blogs for content.

I’ve thought about rewriting my old blogs because it’s been years and years and I’ve changed since then, but this is better. The content is mine, and the problem with most of everything is that it’s too wordy. This gives me a chance to revisit or fix old content in a new way and solve a problem of my empty Mondays. I have 200 article up as of next week, so that should keep me in PRM for the next 4 years or so, and If I keep up with my blog, It could keep up forever!

But Shhhh!!! Everyone else should just think they are normal interesting tweets I thought of that morning.

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October 21st, 2015 at 11:59 pm

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Two Hundred Posts!

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Seven and a half years ago I put pen to paper on my first article having no idea what I was doing. Luckily I knew I had no idea what I was doing and set an achievable goal.

The blog then has to be the daily stuff. The stuff that hasn’t been combed out perfectly. The ideas that I haven’t thought through all the way yet.

With this post I celebrate my 200th half-baked idea!

bloggingdemotivatorSome of the posts from over the years make me cringe to look back on. Sometimes I surprise myself with how insightful I was. Sometimes I forgot to post for months at a time, sometimes I got long winded. Usually my spelling and grammar has been off.

Through it all I have had the opportunity to process my ideas onto paper, give myself an outlet for creative thought. I’ve had people from homes I left follow me through my wandering thoughts, and I have been able to practice crafting the written word in a way people might actually want to read. What an incredible collection of punched keys I have racked in over the years!

Thank you all for your participation in my personal development through this blog. And thank you for your patience when it falls short of standards set for things it’s not. Here’s to 200 more!

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October 14th, 2015 at 9:27 pm

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Inspiration as Interpretive test

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This is a follow-up to my previous post In that post I said nothing which is original, only explained a school of thought I belong to in my own words. Here I take it further into uncharted territory.

tumblr_mg4hiodmvi1r46py4o1_1280When we have multiple plausible interpretations available to a biblical text, how do we determine which one is correct? I submit to you it will be the best one. What I mean by that is that the interpretation which is more beautiful, more inspirational, more challenging, is more likely to be the actual intent of the author than one which is less of those things assuming all other evidence equals out.

You may think that is cheating, an excuse to interpret passages in ways I’m confortable with. You may be right, but here is my justification:

We believe that the Bible is inspired by God. That is a part of our core confession of faith and is true of the way the Bible talks about itself. Consistently however that confession has been used as a justification for the authority of the text, and forgotten as a simple descriptor of the text.

”What’s the Bible like?”
”It’s inspired”

If we really believe that we should use that as an exegetical litmus test to derive a more correct interpretation. We know Hemmingway is grumpy, we know Carroll is punny, and we use that to make sense of their writings and choose interpretations. We know the books that became part of the bible were chosen by community after community as texts which were inspirational to faith and bore indication of authorial participation with the very hand of God. That too should inform our reading!

If a interpretation fits with the historical context but is boring or uninteresting, unproductive to faith, or functionally meaningless it’s wrong. An interpretation like that conflicts with our confession that has built up over time which tells us what the scripture is like. If we can find an alternative reading with the same evidentiary weight that is inspiring or interesting, it is more likely that that is the true literal sense of the text.

Inspiration-true-writers-31646608-1280-853This gets really interesting with problematic passages, because they’re much harder to get out of with this standard in place.

Ephesians 6:5 “Slaves obey your masters” for instance seems to justify slavery. We can find an innocuous reading of that by doing something like translating the Greek word “δοῦλοι” to “servants” instead of slaves. But we haven’t found an inspiring reading so we don’t have justification to leave the challenging problematic reading for the one that doesn’t do anything. We need something that is not only safe, but interesting. Something we can squeeze exegetical juice out of that feels like Jesus before we can move on (Maybe the answer is in 6:9 somewhere)

I admit that this is problematic from a hermeneutical perspective. One of the key tenants of liberal theology is that the bible should be read like any other document and here I am denying that. But Isn’t this what we do anyway? If we are being honest with ourselves don’t we already employ this method in a less systematic and justified way and then pretend we didn’t? Let’s be honest.

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October 7th, 2015 at 7:56 pm

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