Thursday, June 18, 2015

Good Bias

Bias is typically understood as a negative thing. Bias determines our reactions, our natural inclinations towards one option over another.

Whether we like it or not, all of us have bias.

But not all bias is bad.

For example, training ourselves in faith or discipleship is about becoming biased...towards hope and love and patience.

So when we are angry with someone, our bias changes from "I need to get even with them" to "I need to reconcile with them." When we see someone in trouble, our bias changes from "Too bad for them" to "How can I help carry your burden?"

Not all bias is bad. It's just a matter of perspective.

What's your bias?

From the Gray,
Pastor Ari

“There’s no insult like the truth.” -Charlie Peacock, “Insult Like the Truth”

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to Build Your Eulogy

David Brooks of the New York Times recently released a new book titled "The Road to Character" in which he explores stories of people whose moral traits he admires. The seed for the book, he says, came when...
It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. 
We are masters of building our resumé virtues, Brooks says, but are largely clueless about building our eulogy virtues. So he set out on a quest to fill his "moral bucket list."

I find his distinction between resumé and eulogy virtues to be very powerful because it strikes me as a secular way of stating what Jesus mentioned several times. In Matthew, Jesus tells a crowd to "store up treasures in heaven." And in Luke, Jesus warns about the troubles that come to those who store up riches for themselves, but "are not rich toward God."

Jesus invited people into a new way of life by talking about and demonstrating a life that wasn't defined by economic or political success, but instead led people to use words like hope and light and joy and love and freedom. God's interest in our lives, he said, leads us to prioritize the eulogy virtues and puts the resumé virtues in a proper (limited) perspective.

For most of my life, I've heard people lament that we work too much, are focused on the wrong priorities, etc., but it seems to me that more people are starting to publicly do something about it. There seem to be a growing number of stories about people taking less pay for jobs with "greater meaning" or arranging their lives for more time with family. Brooks seems to be one of those. And I hope that in the coming years, more of us will, too. How powerful would it be if our world was filled with people whose lives led others to use words like hope and light and joy?

From the Gray,
Pastor Ari

“Am I a part of the cure or am I part of the disease?” -Coldplay, “Clocks”