Bono, Grace, Barna, Mornings, and JSF #links

  1. Bono on why he is banking on Grace over Karma
  2. Speaking of Grace, here’s a great post/resource on the best of gifts
  3. Barna continues to pump out fascinating information on the Hispanic population
  4. I’ve never been a morning person, but this article on the power of mornings is right on. Not always up early by choice, but I find it is now my most productive time by far!
  5. “Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat” by my favorite writer

The Gospel According To Brady Quinn

Before reading this post, click here and watch the video on the page (also read the quote by William Deresiewicz, it is excellent).

It is rare to see a professional athlete (or any public figure) quite this candid. And I think what Brady Quinn has to say is important as well as profound.

I ride public transportation every day and there are times, more often than not, where every single person in my train car is flipping their way through a phone or an iPad.

I am not anti-tech, I am not anti-iphones, I’m not anti-facebook. I think these are mainly presenting issues of a deeper problem.

More and more I realize how profoundly messed up most people’s experience of family has been, and how poor we are as a culture at understanding community.

We live in a me-first, achievement driven, I-get-the-last-word-on-my-life world. Families, healthy ones anyway, don’t work like that. Healthy families work on a group first, team focused, someone-else-gets-the-last-word ethos.

Which brings me back to Quinn’s thoughts. We need to be better at actually caring for people…at asking hard questions of each other…at expecting hard questions to be asked of us (and looking for someone to do so if we don’t have that in place)…at submitting…at being a part of a group (at the expense of our own personal gain or comfort)…at considering others more important than ourselves.

I will never forget a conversation I once had with a student. They told me they needed me to give them 1,000,000 bits of positive feedback for every 1 bit of “criticism.” There’s a truth there: we need more positive affirmation than negative.

But there is an underlying current of avoidance of hard stuff in our culture: hard conversations, hard truth, hard work. I know this makes me sound like an old man, but I think it is true, and I think this lies at the heart of Quinn’s post-game thoughts.

Which leads me to a final thought: the best things in life always come through working through something hard. Grace is a free gift, and that is beautiful, but the working out of our salvation is not an easy job. It is a worthwhile fight…a difficult effort, a long obedience, that is truly good in every sense of the word.

I’ll end with this from Norman MacLean (author of “A River Runs Through It”): “All good things come by grace and grace comes through art and art does not come easy.”

A Lousy Tool for a Good Story

I’ve been thinking a lot about this article this past week. Twitter is such a great source of information, but when we start to think of our life as a series of tweets the question really becomes: does twitter help me tell a good story? Ed Cyzewski says no!

“Twitter is great for quickly spreading a good idea. I use it every day. It’s the Big Bird of networking tools. However, Twitter is a lousy living tool. In fact, Twitter can become a distracting obstacle to deep thought, art, or relationships…

It would seem to me that the first step in living a good story is to stop telling everyone about the mundane details of life and to focus on real life.”

Letters From the Past and Future, Questions of Science and Progress, and Other Notables

  1. Gary Molander on “what I would tell my 20-something self.” Interesting stuff…I wonder if I would say similar things?
  2. Michael Ruse claims that science can answer many questions, but it cannot answer this one: “Why is there something rather than nothing?
  3. Interesting letter from Ronald Regan to his son. Love the line: “how really great is the challenge of proving your masculinity and charm with one woman for the rest of your life.”
  4. Tyler Braun on the 5 shadows of leadership.
  5. Steven Johnson (one of my favorite social commentators) wondering if Facebook will turn out to be its own worst enemy.

Reads and Links (Technology Themed)

  1. Brett McCracken on the beauty of being “out of the loop”
  2. Is texting good for relationships?
  3. Nadia Weber on the spiritual practice of saying “No”
  4. Scot McKnight has been doing an excellent review of a book by John Knapp called “How the Church Fails Business People“. Here’s a link to pt 5 and the rest of the series.
  5. Amy’s college pastor, Rhett Smith, published a book recently called “The Anxious Christian.” I’m about 3/4 of the way through it and it is fantastic. Pick up a copy!