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Showing posts with the label faith

The Internet is the Dunning-Kruger effect in perpetual motion.

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"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."  --  Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park
The Dunning-Kruger effect can be summed up by saying that the less knowledgeable and skilled you are at something, the more likely you think you're pretty great at it.

Don't know what you're talking about? You're pretty sure you do.

Think you have a really smart comment to add? You really don't.

This cognitive bias in which someone who is ignorant thinks they are incredibly skilled and smart shows up on social media and in blog comments sections.

Perhaps the flip side of this is impostor syndrome, which I've seen crop up in a lot of writers and actual skilled people. In this, you feel pretty sure someone is going to find out that you're not that good and see you for who you really are, an impostor. No matter what you achieve, you're always waiting for the day when someone points to you and says "you…

Obedience to God vs. my motivation.

My mom, sisters, and I have a tendency to try to make and sell things. None of us have gotten rich, but we've sure made lots of stuff.

I'm pretty sure, after working three or so years in online marketing, that the world has some tips for us. Market more, market better, gather data, hone in on your audience, tighten up your branding, stay on message, etc. etc. etc. I have a friend who owns a business who loathes the game privately--the fakey upbeat and motivational Instagram stuff, the requirement to play nice in the local startup/young business scene and spout the same platitudes (bootstrapping! intentional! dogfooding! long-tail! venture capital! growth! community! puke!), the local speaker circuit and participation at highly branded events--but play the game the business owner does, because that's how you sell, how you succeed, how you get mentioned in magazines, how you get more business, and how you succeed some more.

It's the oldest occupation, for the digital mar…

Girl, Trust In God.

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For months I've been seeing friends, family, fellow churchgoers--an endless list--gushing about one book: Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be, by Rachel Hollis.


This isn't the type of book I read much anymore, but because so many people I knew were talking about it, I thought I ought to check it out so I had a better understanding of what they were reading.

Tim Challies wrote a review of the book that I thought was decent, so I'll let him do the direct blow-by-blow. Admittedly, Challies and I are on different theological pages, what with me being raised in a Pentecostal church and thinking women can have a significant role in church. Nevertheless, much of what he says is similar to my reaction. [UPDATE: Here is another specific review of the book worth reading.]

Instead of a book review, then, I want to do a kind of general approach to these kinds of books in a way that reveals the wariness I have with t…

Why it's good for you to clean toilets.

Kill your pride as soon as you can.

Don’t ever be too good for any job.
An acquaintance of mine left a job over the feeling that she wasn’t given the proper respect that her education deserved. She would tell me that she was certain the management was jealous and felt threatened, and so she left on very bad terms only to discover she couldn’t find another job.
The idea that she was above certain kinds of jobs made it difficult to find employment. She continues to take college classes and spends money after money on more education, believing that she will, at some point, be guaranteed a high-wage job because more education is the ticket to wealth and what she is worth.
I want to tell her the truth.
She needs to get a job cleaning toilets, ASAP.
She needs to stop racking up student loan debt.
She needs to learn to live on less, in her finances and her pride, and in her opinion of herself.
I can’t say I loved most of my jobs. Nigh shifts at the post office loading dock, working in a kitc…

Not every day.

So this might be heaven, telling the dental hygienist that you don't floss every day, telling the chiropractor that you don't do the three pages of stretches every day or the neck roll every other day, telling the dietitian that you don't start every day with warm lemon water and take a pro-biotic and a fish oil pill, telling your doctor that you don't get vigorous exercise every day...

...the day is so full of ways I should be taking care of my physical body for optimal health that I fear I'm going to live quite long in this joyless state of concerned maintenance. Ever step or non-step, ever fork of food or skipped meal, every moment seated or walking -- they all come with a price tag of pride or guilt. There is no agnostic eating or moving these days; it's all quite religious in one form or another.

It is hard to be still and know that He is God, to rest in his presence, to meditate on His word, when my FitBit keeps sending me cheerful reminders on my wrist t…

The Bread of Life

This morning, the church sermon was on The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

Towards the end, the pastor pointed out how the two men finally recognized Jesus because he broke bread with them. He then went on to reference the many times bread was associated with Jesus. The bread of life, breaking of bread, miracle of the five loaves and two fish, the symbol of bread during communion--Jesus was even born in Bethlehem, which means "house of bread."
A faint though crept into my head, and though I've not worked it out too far, or even decided if I have the energy to think on it much, I did share it with my friend after church was over.
"Isn't it interesting how important bread is in Christianity," I said, "and how our current health consciousness, by Christian people even, has vilified bread."
Our obsession with "clean food" and "clean eating" and low carbs has targeted grains and bread as bad for the body. Jesus is the Bread of Life, …

All our little gods.

The food we do or do not eat.

The exercise we do or do not get.

The injustices we do or do not care about.

The outrage we do or do not have.

It is an endless list, the little gods we make in our life. They creep into our lives, starting first as an innocent concern, grounded not in the bad but in good intentions. Then they settle in and we start to see them first and foremost in all we do and say. Soon they occupy our mind in every waking moment.

Perhaps in an attempt to combat this, we turn to "mindfulness" and believe that if we are simply more aware of what we are doing, if we force consciousness onto our actions, we will strip the thing of its power and make it benign again.

Until mindfulness, and the pursuit of simpleness, becomes its own god.

We can't add a day to our life or an hour to our day, but we careen from one extreme to another, all in or all out. The simple pleasures of what life offers are smoothed down, the highs and lows made equal by guilt or self-rig…

I used to, but not so much now.

I used to be more unsettled, but not so much now.

I used to be more anxious about what my life would amount to, but not so much now.
I used to be be frantic about whether people were aware of what I was doing and cared, but not so much now.
I used to agonize over things like artistic purity and selling out and pursuing passionate creative dreams, but not so much now.
I used to be in a constant state of chasing after more, bigger, and better, but not so much now.
I used to fret about whether or not I'd change the world, but not so much now.
I used to be wrapped up in finding ways to make my life meaningful, but not so much now.

I used to struggle against people and ideas and injustices, wearing myself out and making no change because I did not bother to change myself, but not so much now.
It's not that I gave up, but more that I looked up.

Fading into the background, with peanut butter.

Fading into the background is sorely underrated.

There's a great deal of freedom in between the vertical seams of the wallpaper. I've written about this concept in great masses of words elsewhere, never one to say a few words when I can write many.

The oil pipeline protest in North Dakota, which has lasted nearly a year, has made me sit in some kind of awe as I watch people from all angles jockeying for position as personal celebrities. Live feeds on Facebook, inflammatory posts of dubious truth, and other species of drama all served to gather a back-slapping chorus of fans who chime in with comments of true love and devotion no matter what the person is saying.

We're apparently a world desperate to be worshiped, or to worship. Social media abounds in golden calves as people are frantically searching for lives that seem significant and others are trying to latch onto their contrails to maybe get a whiff of relevance.

The protest, as ugly and tiring as it has been to have t…