Meanderings, Practices

Practiced habits speak

I’m trying to write a book right now of memoirs of coming to New York in the 1980s and what that was all like. And one of the things that occurred to me is that — I was in the art world in those years. I was hanging out, getting a degree in art history, God help me, and all that. And the weird thing about it is that I realized then that understanding modern art really was like a religion, inasmuch as it was a practice before it was a dogma: that you could never really get it by understanding the way one picture had changed another, how Cubism had created Expressionism, which created Surrealism, and so on; that it was a practice of interpretation.

And I think that that’s something that is still insufficiently well understood, that what religion brings us is not a dogma but a practice. That’s the rich thing it brings us. That’s the significant thing that it brings us, and that the idea of having a spiritual practice is one that’s completely compatible with the idea of being extremely skeptical of dogma; that those two things are not at war. They may be in tension, the way so many rich things in our life are in tension, but they’re not at war.

Adam Gropnik in an extended conversation at On Being with Krista Tippett.

Meanderings

Read more blogs!

Seth Godin reminds us to focus on reading … good stuff, not that filtered by Google and Facebook. Ponder Seth’s advice and then get an RSS reader (I use Digg and Feedly):

Other than writing a daily blog (a practice that’s free, and priceless), reading more blogs is one of the best ways to become smarter, more effective and more engaged in what’s going on. The last great online bargain.

Good blogs aren’t focused on the vapid race for clicks that other forms of social media encourage. Instead, they patiently inform and challenge, using your time with respect.

Here’s the thing: Google doesn’t want you to read blogs. They shut down their RSS reader and they’re dumping many blog subscriptions into the gmail promo folder, where they languish unread.

And Facebook doesn’t want you to read blogs either. They have cut back the organic sharing some blogs benefitted from so that those bloggers will pay to ‘boost’ their traffic to what it used to be.

BUT!

RSS still works. It’s still free. It’s still unfiltered, uncensored and spam-free.

Church, Culture, Meanderings, Practices

Tell the story to the ones who will listen …

The market isn’t always ‘right’, if right means that it knows how to get what it wants in the long run. Too often, we are confused, or misled, or part of a herd headed in the wrong direction.

It’s almost impossible to bring the mass market to its senses, to insist that you know better. What you can do, though, is find discerning and alert individuals who will take the time to understand. And then, if you’re good and patient and lucky, they’ll tell the others.

Which is why, over the last thirty years, farmers markets and other entities have slowly grown in influence. Because happy customers tell stories about remarkable products and services.

When you see the corn paradox, label it and act accordingly. Tell stories for the few, help them to spread.

via Seth Godin’s post “The Naked Corn Paradox

Church, Meanderings

Seth Godin Asks a Crucial Institutional Question

At the congregation down the street, they’re doing things the way they’ve done them for the last few hundred years. Every week, people come, attracted by familiarity, by the family and friends around them, part of a tribe.

And just past that building is another one, a different tribe, where the tradition is more than a thousand years old.

This is not so different from that big company that used to be an internet startup, but all the original team members have long left the building. Work tomorrow has a lot in common with work yesterday, and the safety of it all is comforting.

Che, Jefferson, Edison, Ford… most of these radicals would not recognize the institutions that have been built over time.

The question each of us has to answer about the institution we care about is: Does this place exist to maintain and perpetuate the status quo, or am I here to do the work that the radical founder had in mind when we started?

via Seth Godin’s post “(re)Radical

Gospel, Quotes

Collecting our hearts into one prayer …

With a favorable eye, O gracious Comforter, behold all that are in affliction; let the sighing of the prisoners, the groans of the sick, the prayers of the oppressed, the desire of the poor and needy, come before you.

Give unto my enemies grace and pardon, charity to me and love to you; remove the cloud from their eyes, the stone from their hearts, that they may know and feel what it is to love their neighbor as themselves.

And may it please you to enable me to love all mine enemies, to bless them that now curse me, to do good to them that hate me, and to pray for those who spitefully use me and persecute me.

Be pleased, O Lord, of your goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of your elect, and to hasten your kingdom; that we, with all your whole Church, may have our perfect consummation of bliss, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honor and glory be unto you, O Father Almighty, now and forever.

John Wesley (1703-1791)

Gospel, Quotes

Where are you giving yourself away?

We have greater work here to do than mere securing our own salvation. We are members of the world and church, and we must labor to do good to many. We are trusted with our Master’s talents for his service, in our places to do our best to propagate his truth, and grace, and church; and to bring home souls, and honor his cause, and edify his flock, and further the salvation of as many as we can. All this is to be done on earth, if we will secure the end of all in heaven.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691)