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DarwinYesterday I had a fantastic meeting with a local CEO of a company. He’s quickly becoming a mentor and friend. He’s also a devout Christian. I’m a Christian as well… but before you click out of here, please let me explain. I believe in Jesus and I use Him as a mentor for how I treat others. At 39, I’ve not done too great a job at this but I do strive to improve. Here’s where I struggle:

  • I find it hard to reach out to mean people. As I get older in life, I want to open my arms to mean people – but I’d rather not even give them the time of day. In a company with politics (is that every company?), I don’t play well with others. I simply don’t play. I hate the game – I just want to get the job done. I also hate being played. Nothing angers me more.
  • I struggle with how much is enough. I rent because I don’t want to own a home. I drive a nice car. I don’t buy a lot of toys. In comparison to the rest of the world, I’m wealthy. In comparison to the United States, I’m middle class, perhaps a little under. Is it okay to be comfortable when others in the world are not? How comfortable can you be? Is it a sin to be wealthy? I don’t know.
  • Should I be anti-war even if that means people will live in an oppressive dictatorship? Should I only worry about my country and our soldiers? Is it Christian to ‘mind your own business’ when others are suffering? If you see someone trying to kill another person and your only option to stop them is to kill them – is that Christian? The Ten Commandments state that we should not murder – common with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  • To be a great Christian, is it how you live your life, your relationship with God, or how you interpret the Bible? I’ve read a couple fantastic books on Biblical translation that provide absolute proof that errors have been made in translation. Some Christians might say I’m being blasphemous by even mentioning that. I just think it’s arrogant on our part to believe that in the translation from Aramaic, to Greek, to Latin (twice), to Queen’s English, to Modern English that we’ve not lost something in translation. It’s not that I don’t revere the Word, it’s just that I use it as a guide and not a literal set of directions.
  • I like to laugh. I don’t like to laugh ‘at people’, but I do love to laugh ‘about people’. I’m a fat guy and I love jokes about fat guys. I’m a white guy and love to hear a great joke about white people. I laugh at all the politically incorrect jokes on South Park and have made quite a few myself. I think it’s okay to laugh about ourselves as long as it’s in good spirit, not mean-spirited. It’s our unique differences that make this world so colorful. Recognizing them instead of trying to hide them is key to us respecting one another.

I know this is more of a philosophical post than what you’re used to but I think it really comes down to ‘knowing’ versus ‘faith’ in everything we do. Having faith in people is a tremendous gift – but it’s a difficult one to foster given that people let us down so often. Only the greatest of leaders have had that type of faith.

Knowing is one of those terms that often contradicts itself and requires some hubris, doesn’t it? We say things like:

  • “I know how you feel” – no, you really don’t.
  • “I know what clients want” – we always find out different
  • “We know that we’ve evolved” – but we can’t even cure the common cold
  • “I know there is a God” – you have an undiminished faith that there is a God. Someday you will know, though!

On Friday I had drinks with a quite a few folks. We discussed all the things to avoid – including Politics and Religion. I was surprised to find that a few of my friends were Atheists. I really found that amazing. I think it takes great faith to be an Atheist and I look forward to speaking to them more about how they came to their decision and why. I definitely don’t look down on Atheists – since they are people, I believe I should treat them with as much respect and love as anyone else.

Our world likes to herd us into believers and non-believers with no tolerance nor respect in between. Knowing is black and white, faith is a little more forgiving and allows for things like respect, appreciation, and courage. As I do get older, my faith gets stronger. And with that faith is more patience for people that ‘know’.

I hope I can continue in my faith and become more accepting of others.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the post that drove me to write more about this. Thanks Nathan!


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    Not to slam your other post (far from it), but this has to by far be your best.

    Very well thought out and nice. I recently blogged about lame preacher blogs, and if more blogged like this… I’d be a happy man.

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    this post is one of the reasons you will always have a permanent place in my feed reader. sure is may not be tech or marketing based but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to let folks know that there is a human side to us geeks.


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    I love having a good religious debate. I consider myself an atheist, but it’s been an interesting slide from christianity over the past five years or so. I just can’t get over the fact that if you believe in one religion, you condone the eternal suffering of the rest of society, regardless of how good of a life they led.

    Definitely a good discussion, though…

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    It’s definitely not a sin to be wealthy. But I understand your struggle. When I was in college, I went on a mission trip to India where we worked with orphans and lepers (yes, they still exist). I struggled for months upon coming home with how people spend $$ on “stupid” things.

    Then I took a job at a Hallmark store during Christmas break because I needed $ for books the next semester. During that time, I realized that even though things like Swarovski crystal don’t have any eternal value – it still gave people jobs.

    Nice pens may be extravagant – but there’s a pen maker who’s family is happy he has a job.

    I think the key is – whether you have wealth or you don’t – who do you put your trust in? And how does that reflect on how you spend your money?

    As for the comments you made about humor – I’ve been haphazardly reading The Humor of Christ. And it’s such a different look at the New Testament. But it talks about – and i’m going to butcher this – how humor can be used to address the human condition – as long as we’re willing to laugh at ourselves.

    Anyway, thanks for a refreshingly different post!

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    The text and tenor of this post are fantastic. The coversational “things to avoid” are the very things we should be talking about, right along with web 2.0 and marketing technology, etc. If we don’t discuss the foundations – the predispositions – that inform their manifestation through action, then we don’t fully understand our action.

    As a Christian (both in name and faith), i am predisposed (if i am a principled person) to approach the entire world in a certain way – as are atheists, agnostics, etc. (if they are similarly principled). It is therefore important for us to constantly seek to understand and question those predispositions and the resulting principles – both collectively and individually. I fear that many of my friends and colleagues in the U.S. avoid religion and politics not because the topics are too personal, but because we as a society have forgotten the importance and the importance of understanding predispositions and principles (christian, atheist, jewish et al.), and instead can only discuss these things in a Jerry Springer sort of surface manner, which is extremely counter-productive.

    I think blog posts like this are a great step in the right direction.

    Keep up the great work, brother.

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    Great post. It’s nice to hear that there are still people who spend some time to talk about this. A lot of business minded people just think about their business and most of them even forget about their family..

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    Great post. It’s nice to hear that there are still people who spend some time to talk about this. A lot of business minded people just think about their business and most of them even forget about their family.

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    First, why do christians always have to identify themselves? And really, why does anyone need to identify themselves by any religion at all?

    I simply detest the word “faith” simply because it is the mindless act of belief. The great thing about “belief” is that it is purely driven by understanding – as your understandings change, so do your beliefs. The challenge with faith is that there is very little room for change (or updating!) and new information that contradicts or challenges faith is typically immediately rejected.

    For me, I have ‘beliefs’ – I believe things about things, and they are subject to change based on understanding. I am free to change my understandings, which means I have choice, and with choice I am responsible for my destiny.

    I’ve had a post sitting in ‘draft’ for a couple months now, and simply putting in my $0.02 worth here has helped me work out the rest of the concept (now if I can just ready my scribblings here on the pad).

    Doug, this is a great post and I thank you.

    (side technology note: any thoughts as to why I have to disable coComment in FireFox to be able to post here?)

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