Motives

So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.

― Norton JusterThe Phantom Tollbooth

When secularized or nominally religious people don’t understand religious motivation, then they are going to assume that, behind a concern for religious exercise, is some sinister agenda: usually one involving power or money.

– Russell Moore ‘What opposition to religious freedom really means

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.

– Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

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Fateless

Therefore we are not in a closed system. We do not have a destiny that dictates events. There is no fate controlling all of life. Our situation is not totally constraining. We live in a context of reality, in which past choices have produced inevitable consequences. But we also live in a reality in which people can create alternatives, invent new ways, get on top of circumstances, and repent. We are not completely caught in a chain of cause and effect. Christianity and Judaism do not produce cultures and attitudes of endless chains of ‘again and gain.’

God is innocent of what people have done or continue to do every day. He is Lord, but not a sovereign puppeteer. The God of the Bible is not ‘in control’ in any kind of deterministic understanding. The God of the Bible is not a mechanism. He treats people the way he made them to act: by choice, creatively and responsibly.

People in our cultural past saw themselves caught in some fateful program. Today, people easily see themselves as part of a more mechanical or genetic program and have returned to this view. The intervening years of Jewish and Christian thought are all but forgotten , as if nothing has changed. In both cases real human freedom and significant actions by he creature are excluded. These views are held when we seek to recognize causation. It offers us both security and innocence. It is then convenient to blame God for all evil, but this is not in any way the Bible’s view. Nor is it logical. Only when freedom to act is affirmed can moral judgements be made. If everything is part of a flow of causations, nothing could finally be different and all complaint is without justification.

– Udo Middelmann The Innocence of God

To act is human

A good clerk besieged his bosses’ emotions the way he did customers—flattering them to the point of obsequiousness, until the bosses were assured that they had a good man on their hands. These personal abilities were part of the skill set of a clerk—something we know today as office politics—and though they couldn’t be notched on a résumé, they were the secret of the supposed illustriousness of business life.

The work might dehumanize you, but whatever part of you that remained human was your key to moving up in the job.

– Nikil Saval Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace Longreads

Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action.

You have a choice.

You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes. Learn what you can and move on. At the end of your days, you will be judged by your gallop, not by your stumble.

– Bradley Whitford ‘Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned on My Way to a Humiliating Audition‘ via Brainpickings

Controversy

A controversial lobbyist who claimed that the chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was safe for humans refused to drink his own words when a French television journalist offered him a glass.

– David Edwards Raw Story

Are you faithful to Jesus, or faithful to your ideas about Him?

– Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest

No apologies

But have you ever had to call somebody on the phone, somebody you wanted to get rid of, only you end up doing nothing but getting yourself in more deeply? Now that’s something about life that interests me. That’s incalculability, if on a small scale—how we cope with contingency in ourselves but try still to accept responsibility for our acts.

– Robert Ford, interview with Bonnie Lyons Paris Review

We tend to think of apologizing as a sign of weakness, but, Halvorson argues, in certain cases, it’s just as likely that it’s a signal of trustworthiness. In other words: If you want something from someone today, tell them you’re sorry about the weather.

– Melissa Dahl ‘Why you should apologize for the rain today‘ New York Magazine

Find a can of half-empty beer you forgot to finish last night? It could make a decent furniture polish. Put a little flat beer on a soft cloth and then rub it into your wooden coffee table.

– Emily Price ‘10 things you didn’t know you could do with beer’  Popular Mechanics