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.
American culture rages like a sounding cataract, but the Sampler goes ever on.
Matthew Crawford, contrarian in residence, wrote “The Danger of Safetyism“ before the recent surge of protests around the country. One quote:
At the level of sentiment, there appears to be a feedback loop wherein the safer we become, the more intolerable any remaining risk appears. At the level of bureaucratic grasping, we can note that emergency powers are seldom relinquished once the emergency has passed. Together, these dynamics make up a kind of ratchet mechanism that moves in only one direction, tightening against the human spirit.
Crawford usually sounds like someone who chafes at being told what to do. I suppose that makes us kindred spirits. But I think he’s onto something. I was going to share an excerpt from his newest book on driving (and why self-driving cars may not be the greatest), but this is the Sampler, so we’re sampling, not feasting.
Cal Newport wrote recently on the Lost Satisfactions of Manuel Competence. People are discovering that making things and fixing your own stuff can make you quiet and easy.
Alright, so here’s a sermon. It’s over twenty years old, and I’m aware that nothing good ever came out of the 90’s. Jim Cymbala has been the senior pastor at the Brooklyn Tabernacle since 1971. Several things on prayer clicked into place for me after listening to this. If your heart needs crackin’, I heartily recommend it.
I have some posts on a few new books in the queue, so I’ll just mention a short one, Ploductivity by Douglas Wilson. I’ve read seven or eight books on time management and productivity and this was the first that appears to have been written by a human. David Allen’s Getting Things Done is undoubtedly the best, but I’m confident that Allen is actually a robot. Wilson brings a much needed sense of humor to the subject.
It’s also great that Wilson is approaching his work as a Christian. The theology of Work and Theology of Wealth sections are worth the price of admission. Here’s a snippet:
So if technology is wealth, then we are all surrounded with astounding amounts of it. This is what I refer to as tangible grace. If you have a smartphone, you have more wealth in your pocket than Nebuchadnezzar accumulated over the course of his lifetime. We have a responsibility to turn a profit on these astounding resources—and that is what is meant by productivity. We have a responsibility to do this methodically, deliberately, and intentionally. This is what I mean by ploductivity. This is deliberate faithfulness: working in the same direction over an extended period of time. Our electronic servants may be super fast, but we should be as deliberate as ever.Ploductivity: A Practical Theology of Work and Wealth, Location 129, Kindle Edition
Oh, and look who we picked up this weekend…
Whenever I find them, I will try to watch or listen to roundtable discussions composed of my favorite authors or speakers. I sometimes find these attached to larger conferences, variously described as Q & A or open forums. At the best of times, I’ll find a relaxed and serendipitous conversation, where thinkers will address a range of topics they haven’t necessarily covered in their writing and speaking.
I’d like to share two such talks in this post. The first is a round-table discussion between the notorious Four Horsemen of the New Atheism movement, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. Apparently the title of the video, “The Four Horsemen” was its inaugural use. While I like these guys quite a bit more than they would like me, what I appreciated about this video was the opportunity to see these men interacting on areas of agreement and, most interesting to me, areas of disagreement. I have read quite a bit of Dawkins and have always found him more enjoyable in print that in person. I admire the late Christopher Hitchens the most of the lot, primarily because of his candor and interest in granting fair representation of those whom he (sometimes vehemently) disagrees with. Though their rhetoric can occasionally be taxing to this pious Christian, I find interacting with their challenges to be mostly enjoyable.
The second video is a discussion between pastors and theologians, John Piper, Doug Wilson, Sam Storms, and Jim Hamilton. The two hour session was called An Evening of Eschatology. The four men interact on various views regarding what Scripture says about things to come. The discussion is situated around the various positions on the millennium referenced in Revelation 20 (Wilson- postmillennial, Storms- amillennial, Hamilton- premillennial, with Piper serving as moderator), so you have a unique opportunity to see how the positions compare in the context of a passionate yet irenic debate.
If you’re in to this sort of thing, drop a line into the comments of any talks you’d recommend. I’ve enjoyed these discussions across a variety of subjects including history, theology, politics, science, ethical issues, etc. I’ll try to share more as time allows.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear:
[T]here will be others (many others) who will adapt to the prospect of a Trump administration with remarkable flexibility. Where there is money, where there is power, powerful rationalizations will necessarily follow. The throne rooms of history have more than once been occupied by miscreants and demagogues, and whenever that happens, the number of flattering courtiers does not go down.