Who Can (and Should) We Learn From?

A few weeks ago I spoke at a church and closed with a quote from Sarah Bessey. One of the volunteers in that church loved the quote and was talking about it with others when she decided to Google Sarah’s name to find out more about her. She then had a few questions after realizing Sarah’s theology may be more different from her own than she realized (and was a bit uncomfortable with it).

The pastor of the church relayed this story to me and we had a great discussion that anyone who communicates publicly for a living understands. Every person you quote comes with a risk. I know pastors who don’t share their personal reading list of books to avoid comments from others. Or just watch what happens if a pastor mentions the name Rob Bell (I once got reprimanded by a church member for simply following him on Twitter).

The safest way is to never quote anyone. But this comes at a loss for the community itself. The church then becomes an echo chamber of repeating ideas and reinforcing what is already believed. It’s essentially the same formula for a cult.

The question behind this discussion boils down to this: Who can (and should) we learn from?

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The Weird People at Disneyland

The Weird People at Disneyland

Michelle and I have spent the last few days around the wonder that is Disneyland. I’m a trustee with Hope International University and we have a board meeting today and a fundraising dinner tonight. Both of those are happening at the Disneyland Resort so Michelle and I decided to add a night to the trip and do a park hopper ticket yesterday. Our hotel is within walking distance of the parks and connects to Downtown Disney.

This means… we’ve seen a lot of weird Disney people.

You know what I’m talking about. People who buy things and wear things they’ll likely never bring out again until their next park visit. Giant mouse ears, lightsabers, helmets, and all sorts of other accessories you tend not to see adults wearing. Many people bemoan Disneyland for this effect on people.

I think it’s a good thing.

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What Our Superheroes Say About Us (And Why We Probably Don’t Need Another Batman)

You’ve probably imagined which superpower you’d choose if ever the option presented itself. For me it would be flying. I can’t even imagine how cool that would be to experience, let alone how efficient it would make travel.

You may not know that Superman originally could NOT fly. When he was created in 1938 this wasn’t on his original roster of skills. Evidently he wasn’t even all that good at jumping.

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2021 Reading List – 3/4

2021 Reading List – 3/4

Fall is in the air… finally. If you live somewhere that has seasons, you’re likely enjoying the beauty of the leaves changing all around you. Where I live in Arizona I can finally walk my dog in the morning and not die of sweat.

Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2021 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.

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Useless Space

Useless Space

Our family is back in Arizona after spending the last few weeks in Oregon. Before we left we stopped by a Starbucks that had a path into the forest behind it. Naturally, I had to take the kids on a little exploration walk to find out where the path went. Much to our enjoyment, we got to walk across a super cool bridge over a river and through a meandering forest. There were a few signs along the way and one of them caught my attention.

On it I read these words:

“Sweek Pond is one of several small wetlands nestled within Tualatin’s urbanized landscape. Often dismissed as ‘useless’ lands, these pockets of natural vegetation provide critical habitat for many animal species.”

The phrase “useless lands” stood out to me after the beauty I had just walked through. Who on earth would call this beauty useless? Yet the more I thought of it, the more I realized why someone would say that. There isn’t a lot you can do in the middle of wetlands.

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The Enrichment of Time

When I was younger I remember clearly thinking that people who spent a lot on vacations were wasting their money. The reason for my thinking was that after a vacation, you had nothing to ‘show’ for the money spent. You may have the memories—and likely photos—but nothing else to show for the vast amounts of money spent. It seemed better to spend that money on physical items that would be around long after the vacation.

But I’ve noticed a shift in my thinking in this area over the years. Now I’m far less interested in physical items and far more interested in making memories and creating moments with the people in my life. I think part of this is the result of getting older and raising kids (even though some people seem to have never struggled with this type of thinking no matter their age). I think in different terms now: I have six more summers until my oldest is an adult. This causes me to view the time I have with them with a sense of focus.

The Psychologist Tim Kasser has argued that the enrichment of time will lead directly to happiness. Conversely, he suggests that the enrichment of material objects will not.

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