Forgive

August 12, 2013

As Henri Nouwen wrote, “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly.” And because we love poorly, we must forgive frequently.

Job, Career, Calling

August 12, 2013

Should You Look for a Job You’re Passionate about?

Probably not, says one business writer. But if you stay long enough, you should be able to love the job you have.

In an article for Inc.com, Jeff Haden maintains that too often we are told to “find work we are passionate about,” without stopping to consider if we have relevant passions. Haden–building on the insights of Cal Newport, Georgetown professor and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search for Work You Love–argues that most often our passions are better suited as hobbies, and hobbies aren’t generally the things will pay us to accomplish. So the typical advice “to follow your dreams” leads a lot of well-intentioned adventurers into one dead end after another.

Does this mean we are destined to muddle through life, hating what we do for a living? Not all. According to Haden and Newport, the best way to be passionate about what we do is to get really good at what we do.

Roughly speaking, work can be broken down into a job, a career, or a calling. A job pays the bills; a career is a path towards increasingly better work; a calling is work that is an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity. (Clearly most people want their work to be a calling.)

According to research, what is the strongest predictor of a person seeing her work as a calling?

The number of years spent on the job. The more experience you have the more likely you are to love your work.

Why? The more experience you have the better your skills and the greater your satisfaction in having those skills. The more experience you have the more you can see how your work has benefited others. And you’ve had more time to develop strong professional and even personal relationships with some of your employees, vendors, and customers.

Where business success is concerned, passion is almost always the result of time and effort. It’s not a prerequisite.

Obviously, some people are blessed to have a passion, get a job that fulfills that passion, and keep on enjoying that job for a long time (I count myself among those so blessed). But for most people, passion is something we grow into (and my passion for ministry has grown the longer I’ve been in it). Passion is, in large part, the product of positive feedback over time after longevity, hard work, and improvement. Which is why working right often trumps finding the right work.

Want to love what you do? Pick something interesting. Pick something financially viable–something people will pay you to do or provide.

Then work hard. Improve your skills, whether at managing, selling, creating, implementing–whatever skills your business requires. Use the satisfaction and fulfillment of small victories as motivation to keep working hard.

And as you build your company, stay focused on creating a business that will eventually provide you with a sense of respect, autonomy, and impact.

“Don’t focus on the value your work offers you,” Newport says. “That’s the passion mindset. Instead focus on the value you produce through your work: how your actions are important, how you’re good at what you do, and how you’re connected to other people.”

When you do, the passion will follow–and if you work hard enough, someday you’ll be so good they can’t ignore you.

Christians will want to round out this advice with biblical principles about working as unto the Lord and being God’s image bearers in the world. But as a general piece of sanctified common sense, the article is on to something. Try something, work hard, get better, make a contribution–you may just find that you’ve found your passion after all.

Thanks to Dan Lohrmann, Michigan’s Chief Security Officer and one of our elders, for passing along this article.

DeYoung

Reasoning

August 9, 2013

Francis Schaeffer once described moral relativists as those “who have both feet firmly planted in mid-air.” (See Koukl and Beckwith’s helpful book built on that title.)

An even more vivid illustration is that of Cornelius Van Til who sought to describe the impossibility of unbelieving reasoning if their worldview is employed consistently:

Suppose we think of a man made of water in an infinitely extended and bottomless ocean of water.

Desiring to get out of water, he makes a ladder of water.

He sets this ladder upon the water and against the water and then attempts to climb out of the water.

So hopeless and senseless a picture must be drawn of the natural man’s methodology based as it is upon the assumption that time or chance is ultimate. On his assumption his own rationality is a product of chance. On his assumption even the laws of logic which he employs are products of chance. The rationality and purpose that he may be searching for are still bound to be products of chance.

—Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (P&R, 1972), p. 102. (The link is to the newer edition edited by K. Scott Oliphint, but the page number is from the original edition.)

For a similar argument from C.S. Lewis, see Victor Reppert’s C.S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason (IVP, 2003).

Justin Taylor

Stay or Go

August 8, 2013

In Acts 14:2, we see Paul and Barnabas facing great opposition to their gospel ministry in Iconium. “So,” the next verse tells us, “they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord.” Opposition leads to endurance.

In Acts 14:5-6, we hear of a clandestine plot by Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to kill Paul and Barnabas. When they learn of this plan, the apostolic tandem flees to Lystra and Derbe. The threat of persecution leads to leaving.

So which is it: when opposition grows, do Christians stay or go?

This is one of the real difficult questions that Christians on the mission field and in hostile lands have faced throughout church history. To what lengths can we go—or should we go—to avoid persecution? Can we press charges or go to court or claim our rights? (Didn’t Paul claim his Roman citizenship?) When is it cowardly to go? Is it always the right thing to stay? Why did Paul and Barnabas stay for a long time in Iconium in verse 3 but then flee to Lystra and Derbe in verse 6?

There is no simple answer to the question, and no obvious solution to the dangerous predicaments in which Christians find themselves. But John Calvin points us in the right direction.
And though they fly, lest they throw themselves headlong into death, yet their constancy in preaching the gospel does sufficiently declare that they feared not danger. For Luke says that they preached the gospel in other places also. This is the right kind of fear, when the servants of Christ do not run willfully into the hands of their enemies, of them to be murdered, and yet they do not abandon their duty; neither does fear hinder them from obeying God when he calls; and so, consequently, they can afford, if need be, to go even through death itself to do their duty. (Commentary on Acts of the Apostles)

In other words, we ought to pursue the course of action we think will best serve the cause of the gospel.

Of course, this biblical principle will not make all our decisions easy ones. It can be hard to discern when the cause of the gospel is best advance by living to preach another day and when, like Stephen, we might be called to give our finest sermon in the face of certain death. But it seems that Paul and Barnabas may have reasoned something like this: “If we have people who hate us, fine. If folks are getting agitated and stirred up, so be it. All the more reason to stay-this place needs the word of God. But to die by a secret plot here in Iconium doesn’t seem best for the mission God has given us. We have been here awhile; we have other cities to see. Let’s keep preaching the gospel elsewhere, and maybe we can come back later when things have cooled down.” They made their decisions not in aversion to risk, but in an effort to fulfill their duties.

As you think about hardships you may face as a Christian—in your school, in your business, in your neighborhood, in your country, on the field—you have to ask yourself and pray through this question: “How can I best serve the cause of the gospel?” Sometimes it is by moving on to the next thing. Often it is by staying in your hard situation.

DeYoung

Where’s the Media?

August 8, 2013

A viral video showing the beating of a 13-year-old white boy by three African-American youths in Florida has left hundreds of thousands of viewers horrified, but critics say the case doesn’t seem to be attracting much sympathy from self-styled civil rights activists.

In the chilling video, three 15-year-old boys repeatedly beat and kick a victim police said was left with a broken arm and two black eyes.

Although Florida came under fire in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and George Zimmerman’s acquittal by activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – who called it an “apartheid state” – neither has spoken publicly about the bus incident. But one reason the case has not become as racially charged as other attacks may be that many news outlets have either not shown the first few seconds, before the victim goes down behind a seat, and others blur out his face to the point his race is no longer apparent.

The bus driver, 64-year-old John Moody, can be heard frantically calling a radio dispatcher for help, although he was criticized in some quarters for not physically intervening.

“No, you’ve got to get somebody here quick, quick, quick,” Moody pleads on his phone as the assailants take turns landing windmill punches and vicious kicks on the cowering victim. “They about to beat this boy to death over here.”

“They about to beat this boy to death over here.”
– Florida bus driver John Moody

The attack took place July 9 in the St. Petersburg-area community of Gulfport. But the horrific cell phone and surveillance video only came out only recently. Police say the three youths, all African-American, attacked the boy after he told officials at their dropout prevention school that one of them had tried to sell him marijuana.

Most of the focus has so far been on Moody, who retired two weeks after the incident. Moody went on CNN earlier this week to defend himself.

“Me jumping in the middle of that fight with three boys, it would have been more dangerous for other students on the bus for as myself,” he told Morgan. “There’s just no telling what might have happened.”

Moody stopped the bus, and police said the suspects used the emergency exit of the bus to escape. Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and Lloyd Khemradj, all 15 years old, were arrested a short time later. All three were charged with aggravated battery and have since been released. Reddin is also charged with unarmed robbery.

Pinellas County school policy does not require a driver to intervene and prosecutors have said Moody will not face charges, but Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent told WFLA that Moody should have stepped in.

“There was clearly an opportunity for him to intervene and or check on the welfare of the children or the child in this case, and he didn’t make any effort to do so,” Vincent said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/07/florida-school-bus-beatdown-goes-unnoticed-by-self-styled-civil-rights/?test=latestnews#ixzz2bOUZ178u

Political Quotes

August 3, 2013

A-POLITICAL APHORISMS

The problem with political jokes is they get elected. ~ Henry Cate, VII

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~ Aesop

If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven. ~ Will Rogers

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even where there is no river. ~ Nikita Khrushchev

Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you. ~ Author unknown

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more land to tunnel. ~ John Quinton

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. ~ Tex Guinan

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. ~ Charles de Gaulle

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. ~ Doug Larson

Double Standards

August 3, 2013

Why does one get punished and the other doesn’t? I want an explanation. I want an apology. (Read both articles)

First

In an interview with the Daily Beast published Friday, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) suggested Tea Partiers are the “same group” who fought for segregation during the Civil Rights movement.

RELATED: The GOP and the Albatross of White Racial Panic

“It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked,” Rangel said.

Because of this, Rangel said the Tea Party could be defeated using the same tactics employed against Jim Crow.

“It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough. ‘I don’t want to see it and I am not a part of it.’ What the hell! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break,” said Rangel.

Second

The Eagles fined Cooper an undisclosed amount for his use of the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert in June. The receiver said Wednesday the fine was substantial.

Although Cooper was drinking alcohol when he used the slur, he is not being treated for alcohol use, league sources told ESPN’s Ed Werder. In addition, Cooper is expecting to eventually return to the Eagles, who are paying him during his absence and have dedicated a roster spot to him.

“There’s never been any question of cutting Riley,” coach Chip Kelly said Friday. “We talked on Day 1 when we met with Riley, [owner] Jeffrey [Lurie] and myself, Riley was in full agreement that he needed to get some assistance in this situation. It took us about 24 to 36 hours to kind of put a plan in place. It was really important, I thought, for Riley to be with us yesterday.

“We just didn’t want him sitting at home so, he was here with the team, and when we finally got plans in place, I met with him again this morning. He’ll be gone. I don’t have an exact timetable. That will get figured out, but his status with us is not in question.”

The mayor of Philadelphia, Michael A. Nutter, released a statement to ESPN in which he was highly critical of Cooper and Eagles management, saying in part, “As the Mayor of this City and an African-American man, I find the remarks made by Riley Cooper repugnant, insensitive and ignorant, and all of us, regardless of race or nationality, should be offended by these comments.

“In a year when we celebrated the great achievements of Jackie Robinson in the movie “42”, it is truly saddening that racial epithets are still being hurled like baseballs, or by a football player, at the human dignity of African-Americans and others. This incident is a disgrace, and cannot be excused by just paying a fine, as if it were a parking ticket.”

Quote of the Day

August 2, 2013

“Too many men want to change the world but aren’t willing to change diapers, but that’s precisely where changing the world begins, at home.”

-Parsons