And the other message from this is, I think, to religious conservatives: Please calm down. Yes, the culture is against you and winning the debates you haven’t yet figured out how to engage. But you are not doomed or persecuted by the state. You have largely won the judiciary over to a strong defense of religious freedom. Your side keeps winning again and again in court. I can see how woke intolerance is real, but you have one branch of government still firmly on your side — and for the foreseeable future. Quit your whining about being persecuted, and figure out how to convey the truths of Christianity in a way that can win over the deeply troubled souls of your fellow Americans. There’s a spiritual void out there waiting to be filled, dangerous cults are filling it, and you’re wallowing in self-pity. Snap out of it.
So far so good with iPadOS 14. I mean, I’m handwriting this post so I guess its kind of awesome.
Installing iPadOS 14 beta on my iPad Pro. Surely I won’t regret this, right?
No betas on my Mac, though. Something has to hold things together…
I read this story the week it was posted on MacStories, and have thought back to it many time since. I keep passing it along to others in conversations about iPads, but never shared it here, so…here we are. I love my iPad Pro and if I didn’t do coding, I think I’d go almost full-time with an iPad anymore. This article shows why it is so versatile and powerful.
Usually my book posts are prefixed with “Recent Reading”. But I fell off that wagon about 3000 miles ago. Some books, just stick with me, though. And if that does’t merit a post, what does?
A few weeks ago, I decided to review my notes from So Good They Can’t Ignore You, because I just keep thinking back to it since I read it last year. This book isn't as well known as Cal Newport's more recent books…but it should be. It's older, but it seemed timely for this season of my life, and I want to re-capture some of Newport’s key points.
His core idea is that we need to make our pursuit of meaningful work to be craft-centric, rather than focused on pursing something we’re passionate about. When we focus on passion, we turn our ideal job into something that we are trying to consume. It’s all about what we can get out of the job — how can this job fulfill me or give me meaning. It’s an approach to your job or career that is oriented only on what you can get from it really for you own benefit. And when the passion isn’t there, then things start to fall apart.
His argument, instead, is that we should be ‘craft-centric’. We should base our work on what we can do well, and learn to do even better. When we know we are investing ourself in making something that is good, and of value to others, the focus turns to the value we bring others, rather than what we get out of the work. And ultimately, that becomes more fulfilling to us too.
In some of the final chapters, as he talked about putting this into practice, he talks about the trap of productivity. That’s a topic I’ve dabbled with a lot. My goal for productivity initially was to be so productive with the work that I have to do, that I can protect space for the work that I want to do. I still hold this idea, I think, and I wouldn’t dismiss it.
But his take is that the focus on productivity alone loses impact, because we start to measure all of our time merely based on what we can get done in that time. We see each block in the calendar as currency to invest in getting things done. And I can say this one is all the more true for me now as I’m working mostly hourly as a freelancer. Every hour not spent in work is missed opportunity to support my family. It’s both motivating and dangerous.
When we are craft-centric, there is a desire to keep improving that craft. Sometimes, the work of improving might feel in tension with being productive. There is a value from learning how to do that craft or work better that might not come when we just do the work in front of us. I know firsthand that in web development, there are new technologies or tools that I might not discover if I just keep doing the work I’ve been hired to do the same old way. And I certainly want to go to a doctor that is finding time to read medical journals of some kind and keep up with the latest discoveries in how to offer the best care for my family.
Of course there is more than this to the book, but that idea of craft-centric is central to the book, and my key takeaway.
I’m in a season of heavy reflection to determine my next steps. It’s helpful for me to think about what I already do well, but also can continue to improve how I do it, so that I can find the most fulfillment by offering that craft to others.
Haven’t been keeping up with recent reading here, but have been reviewing notes from some of the books I read in the last year or so. Realizing it might be more beneficial to circle back and post reflections of books that are still sitting with me months later.
Now there are at least three ways to consider establishment violence. First, it may be considered a procedure for maintaining societal equilibrium. This is the “law and order” view. Establishment violence emerges to maintain the status quo against criminals and sinners. Here laws (including God’s revealed laws) are made by those who benefit from the social order in order to maintain their privilege. From this perspective, Jerusalemites would have the criminal Jesus crucified, for example, in order to maintain order in their city and region, for their own benefit.
Late last week, we launched a new website for Mom’s Modern Mixes, a baking free of gluten and the top 8 allergens. I built this site in collaboration with The Label Collective, who did the design. Like most of my work, this one was built in WordPress. In this case, it is a mix of Beaver Builder as well as some custom coded page templates.
My favorite website projects usually involve two elements: 1) helping someone pursue a dream, and 2) building a brand new site from the ground up. All that to say, this one was one of my favorites because it checks those boxes. But it moved into a more meaningful level, since our family deals with allergies firsthand, and I recognize how valuable this product will be to many people.
I hope they have great success, and I’m glad I could play a small part in it.
Jesus tells us that we had the best practice hospitality now, as the day is coming when the messianic banquet is going to involve are sitting down with a bunch of unfamiliar dinner guests.
In order to resist cynicism and indifference in the face of the modern destructions of the life of the earth, we need to elaborate a new ecological spirituality. Those whoo begin to love life, the life that we share, and the life of the earth, because they love God, will resist the killing of human beings and the destruction of the earth. This new spirituality regards the earth as a sacrament, because it conceals in itself the mystery of the presence of God.
Last summer, I setup a subscription to Drink Trade for all my coffee enjoyment needs. I had previously subscribed to some roasters who sent me a new bag on schedule, but I usually didn't get to pick what it was. DrinkTrade gives me a variety of roasters and origins to choose from each time, and other than a letdown or two, all of them have been great. Bonus points for making it really easy to adjust my ship date as needed.
For the last few months, I've been working alongside The Label Collective as a WordPress developer. Evidity, my first project with them, launched last month.
I've always preferred writing code over using pre-built themes, but have seen that there are instances where a small site can be put together more efficiently using a builder theme. This was my first site using a Beaver Builder and it worked out well. As builders go, it seems to be the most lightweight and responsive, and most user friendly as I've trained clients to do updates.
Did a slight refresh of my site tonight, moving the focus back to blogging rather than my freelance work. Most of my work comes through referrals anyway.
The Artist’s Journey follows in the stream, while pulling concepts from Joseph Campbell’s heroes journey — another topic I have deep appreciation for. Put those pieces together, and it seems like this book should have hooked me. But, my attention span wasn’t having it. Either Pressfield has gone to the well one too many times in writing these books, or I’ve gone to the well way too many times in reading books about the creative process.
Since I also just posted my quick thoughts on Why We Sleep, this is the author’s TED talk on the subject. It certainly can’t capture all of the book’s content, but it hits the highlights and serves as a good teaser for what the book offers.
This stands right alongside Digitial Minimalism in the scuffle for most influential book I read this summer, and maybe year to date. Walker outlines a deep exploration of sleep, how it works, and how the quality of it impacts our health and flourishing as humans.
As he says late in the book, we teach kids about healthy eating, and the importance of exercise — and those are topics that are mainstream even beyond school. But when it comes to the importance of sleep, there’s not much to be found. Maybe that’s because we’ve long understood the muscular and digestive systems of the body, but are still unfolding how our brains work.
I’ve become more intentional around my sleep in the last three months since I’ve read it, with a focus on a consistent schedule and a goal of 8 hours a night. It doesn’t always happen, for various reasons, but when it does I feel like I have better focus, especially in my afternoon focused work time.
I had super high expectations going in to reading this. Crouch’s last book, Dark Matter, was one of my favorite fiction reads of the last few years.
Recursion was maybe only the slightest of notches below Dark Matter on the enjoyment scale. Crazy, out-there ideas that drive along a suspenseful story line. I kind of hope they never make these books into movies so that these stories can live only in the fullness of their prose.
I’ve read theology at different levels for all of my adult life, often pulled forward in them by the ideas they gave me to build upon for my own teaching of others. In this season, there’s not as much teaching, but I’m glad to say, I’m still enjoying reading theology. It’s never only been about teaching, but also my own growth and interest has been spurred on by stretching my understandings in new directions.
So, Romans Disarmed was one I was excited to stumble on. Many years ago, I was challenged by Keesmaat and Walsh’s prior collaboration, Colossians Remixed.
I was expecting more of the same, and that’s what I got. It’s a different take on writing about ancient Scriptures, but one that brings them to life in new ways. I find that I resonate even more when I agree with them, and when I disagree, it forces me to think through more deeply why that might be the case.
I always enjoy meeting with website clients in person when the opportunity is there. So, as part of our move (back) to the Phoenix area, I've been networking to make connections with local developers and agencies.
Those efforts paid off, as my first local client came as contract work for Skyhook Interactive — a busy and well-respected WordPress shop here in the Valley. They were asked by Virtuous CRM to convert their existing website into WordPress, and then combine into it their existing subdomain sites all running WordPress. Skyhook gave me the charge and I ran with it.
I've now seen every page of the Virtuous site multiple times. With a background in non-profit work, I appreciate what they do and it looks like a well designed product. I also enjoyed working with the team at Skyhook — I'm waiting for the final go ahead to get started on my next project with them.
I don't expect I probably need this. My own aeropress is holding up well and doesn't take crazy amounts of space in our cabinets.
And even when I've been in seasons where I traveled more, I've only occasionally packed my aeropress. Generally I was able to find coffee that was reasonable, other than those road trip motels between larger urban areas.
But golly, it's compact. And it's fun looking. And I think it might change my life to have one.