Scary Answers

I teach a class called “Imagination” as part of the core curriculum for Entrepreneurship at OSU.  The OKSU OSU.  I teach and assign projects in an “Open Ended” manner, on purpose.  Even when I explain, “If I tell you how to do a journal entry, and what topics to cover, I would not have seen the 20+ formats I have seen work creatively for  so many students.”

Three students will drop the class immediately when we leave the room.

One bright eyed, intent student will ask, “How many words do you want in an entry?”

We have taught students in years of schooling that there is one correct answer, the teacher’s way of doing things, and no matter what the teacher says, she is absolutely looking for one answer in the discussion.  She will smile through all the other answers, but she ends the discussion when we arrive at the right answer.

In creativity, and in innovation, we can find hundreds of answers, and all might work. — with work.

Christianity seems similar.  Many people accept that we are a mess, in need of saving, and God did this elaborate, astonishing thing in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that we only have to accept.  One answer.  Does not demand too much to accept.

Craig Groeschel preached this morning in his Selfless series.  He described how to see God in the moment (even in the grind) and develop new answers, new growth, see the tough things through to the end.

Crickets.  Twenty people applaud, and the rest sit in super quiet mode, eyes a little glazed over.  Millions of correct answers — with work.  Too much for some people.

The on”oanswer fits all” is a great way to build audiences, to increase church attendance.  The millions of possible answers, the kind we must work out not knowing if we are right, trusting through the falling on your face times, and trusting God is guiding — builds Christ followers.

Graduate from the answers Someone else constructed, so you only have to answer “I accept” or “I am afraid” to the answers that mutate, grow, stretch us, slap us into next week, and force us to depend on God to follow God.

It is scarier, more demanding, and full of pitfalls, like all good adventures.

What Things Come Together

None of us live in a world where only one thing happens in a week.  Things come together in time.  They may not share any logical connection, or any choice of ours, but in Time — they come together.

Ten years ago Jill and I walked one night and aired our “list of things that had deluged us”.  Suicides, deaths, divorces, sickness of a very young child: the usual culprits.  We finished.  Walked in silence, and I started laughing.  We had omitted that my sister was to have a needle biopsy the following morning for breast cancer.  Too many things came together, and I forgot to put her on “the list of 65”.

I know, laughing now seems grim, but it helped that night.

Right now I am leveraging our last funds to install our oil field technology on the last well we can afford.  Jill’s brother, Steve, drove into Oregon’s hills to try out his new living arrangement — a Ford Expedition — and paint.  No one has heard from him in over a week.  He who is meticulous about paying everything on time has allowed some things to lapse.  A huge norther is blowing in.  Jill is finishing the biggest and best art project she has attempted in years.  Colt and Claire are expecting baby number two, and pushing out further, so many friends are facing their “First” holidays — without people who died naturally or by their own hand. And OSU stands to beat OU this weekend. 

Everything colors everything else. 

For Lincoln, the closing days of the war saw him accept Chase’s fourth or fifth resignation, be blue again about his own son’s death in the War, and actually tour the stunning, industrialized devastation of Richmond.  Those events colored his days alongside the looming end to the war and defeat of Lee — his first candidate for commander of the Union Army!

We think that becoming a billionaire, marriage, birth, purchase of an opulent house or boat makes someone happy.  Everything else in their lives colors those events. 

I am nervous and thrilled about being so close to proving the technology and new investor help.  My best friend is taking prayer walks in the woods.  She fears that she’s saying goodbye to her brother.  These came at the same time, strange bedfellows on our calendar, unasked, uninvited, and profoundly antithetical to the other.  Yet linked now.

I must remember that what comes linked together in friends’ hearts and calendars all too often inexplicably color their moods, hopes, and thinking.

I can’t take it for granted that a success comes without alien, antithetical mates.  Just when I thought Sensitivity for Dummies would make a great book.