Leading a modern life while living the Gospel

It seems we have a choice to make: to live in a modern way, to live out our faith, or a little of each. Why not aim for both, to the max? To me, it's about two ideas co-existing, and in this I recognize the kind of Christianity that was intended from the start.

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What if the Gospel were my central thing?

March 7, 2016

In another article, I wrote that finding your central thing helps you achieve everything else that you care about. You can go deep on the central thing and the rest of your life will fall into place.

What is the central thing that I find most appealing? I’d say it would be the Gospel. I can go deep in living the Gospel, and I know things will have the right taste, the right orientation, the right tune.

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Free your beliefs

April 9, 2015

Ever feel uncomfortable with a belief you hold? You might have read about something science has discovered or talked to someone with different beliefs, and that came rubbing you the wrong way somehow. When that happens, it becomes evident that your beliefs have some hold on you. We’ll see where that comes from and how to put beliefs in the place they were always meant to be.

In Christianity, we have a tall stack of beliefs. Here are some examples of the foundational ones:

  • God exists
  • God created the universe
  • Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead
  • Jesus is the one who saves us from our sins
  • Jesus is present in the eucharist (the consecrated bread)
  • The Bible is God’s word.

The interesting part is that these beliefs engender other, more subtle ones. They’re in the back of one’s mind, and they usually appear when challenged:

  • Unless God exists, then my faith would mean nothing
  • Unless I keep teaching my kids about Jesus, they’ll lose their faith
  • Only the Bible is the source of truth
  • Only those who have called onto Jesus as their saviour will be saved
  • If I harbour a belief that’s not represented in the Bible, I’m on the wrong track
  • Only by faith are we saved, not by our actions
  • God is surely good because I prayed for a house and we got a good deal
  • Either evolution is true or the Bible says the truth.

See all those unless’s, those ifs and those only’s? They point to more than just a belief. They point that there are mental models at work. Let me explain.

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Find your deep values, (re)gain abundance

January 10, 2015

Recently, I’ve felt stuck. Although things were on the upswing in my personal life, I saw my professional options becoming scarce. I had big stuff in mind for the long-term, but from my perspective no immediate next step stood out as being really great. So I decided to look up the literature of companies I thought made good decisions.

In the circles of design agencies, Teehan+Lax was on the rise. They’ve been winning over some big clients and they were on a prosperous streak. And yet, some long-time team members were starting to leave. How can things go that well if your best people are quitting the company? It turns out, they were leaving because they felt Teehan+Lax no longer stood for anything.

Teehan+Lax turned to some friends for help to fix their employee attrition problem. They were recommended the exercise called Mountains and Valleys, which helps you find your deep values. So I followed it too, and here’s how it works.

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Go deep in everything

December 10, 2014

Modern life has us involved in a lot of stuff. For those of us who like to go deep in each of the things we do, taking on more things means doing less of each. To keep up with everything, the trick is to aim for balance, right? Hang on, maybe there’s a way to go deep and cover everything.

When it comes to working on something, I’m exhaustive, thorough and I like to do the right thing. I like to think it through, find the core, and act decisively from there. That means that adding something to my list ends up feeling like I’ve got to make room for a mountain. Are you like that too?

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Away from the family

August 1, 2014

Taking time away from the family can feel wrong, like you’re neglecting the ones you love. There’s no need to feel that way.

I used to feel spread out, like I had a lot on the go: the family, work, our involvement at church, our friends, the extended family too. Maybe you’re in that same situation, finding there are just too many mouths to feed, too many things to pursue.

When you have a lot on the go, it feels like going away from the family means neglecting it

It’s not fun feeling spread thin. And where do you have time for yourself in all of this? Taking time off means you need to say no to some stuff so that you can say yes to yourself. If you look at it that way, it seems as though you’re competing with your responsibilities. Yuck.

And what about your involvement in good causes? Those are important, but now that you have a family, you have to cut back on your involvement and that means you have to let some people down, people that you care for.

And then there’s work. The problem with it is that it can sometimes become more than just work. Sometimes it’s a whole separate universe, where you take on another personality and wear a role you need to get out of before coming back home. Or maybe it’s not that bad, and you can be the real you at work. Still, it’s hard to give work the best of you and still put your family first.

There’s no going around it though: you’re going to take time away from the family. Maybe we should keep those times at a minimum? Maybe. And maybe there’s a way to know when it’s a good idea to go out into the world.

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