Oh, this old thing?

Words are immensely seductive, in ways we don’t often recognize. Their power can perhaps most clearly be seen in young children, who become fascinated by new words and look for every possible opportunity to use them. Now, in fact, adults are no different in this respect: we just have learned to do a better job than our younger counterparts of obscuring our fascination, of pretending that a phrase brand new to us has been part of our word hoard forever. Oh, this old thing? But we turn the shiny new phrases over and over in our minds, as a miser fondles the coins in his pockets.


~Alan Jacobs, How to Think, page 90.

Lewis on Growing Up

[I]f we are to use the words childish or infantile as terms of disapproval, we must make sure that they refer only to those characteristics of childhood which we become better and happier by outgrowing; not to those which every sane man would keep if he could and which some are fortunate for keeping.

On the bodily level this is sufficiently obvious. We are glad to have outgrown the muscular weakness of childhood; but we envy those who retain its energy, its well-thatched scalp, its easily won sleeps, and its power of rapid recuperation. But surely the same is true on another level? The sooner we cease to be as fickle, as boastful, as jealous, as cruel, as ignorant, and as easily frightened as most children are, the better for us and for our neighbours.

But who in his senses would not keep, if he could, that tireless curiosity, that intensity of imagination, that facility of suspending disbelief, that unspoiled appetite, that readiness to wonder, to pity, and to admire? The process of growing up is to be valued for what we gain, not for what we lose. Not to acquire a taste for the realistic is childish in the bad sense; to have lost the taste for marvels and adventures is no more a matter for congratulation than losing our teeth, our hair, our palate, and finally, our hopes. Why do we hear so much about the defects of immaturity and so little about those of senility?

C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

A Nation of Orthorexics

Michael Pollan says there is a paradox in the American diet. We’re “a notably unhealthy population preoccupied with nutrition and diet and the idea of eating healthy.” He calls us a nation of orthorexics, meaning we have an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Pollan suspects that there is “an inverse correlation between the amount of time people spend worrying about nutrition and their overall health and happiness.”

His solution isn’t to eat twinkies and be merry. Humans have lived well on an astonishing variety of diets, from vegan to straight up carnivore. Following this, Pollan argues for a common-sense approach to eating: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

~ 1 Timothy 4:4 ESV

Time, the Golden Standard

So as we will see in a number of texts from Proverbs, work has consequences. Laziness also has consequences, because God gave us the ultimate “gold standard” called time, and everyone has exactly the same amount of it. It is a resource that the government cannot print. This means that work over time matters, and no work over time matters. When I say that it matters, I mean that it matters in morally significant ways. You can, and should, draw conclusions about people based on their work. Our ability to evaluate the labor of others is not absolute because we are limited and finite. Our judgments should be made in all humility. But this does not alter the fact that we still need to evaluate others, and an important part of that evaluation includes the quality of their work.

Wilson, Douglas. Ploductivity: A Practical Theology of Work & Wealth . Canon Press. Kindle Edition.