Mar 31, 2011

One Head is Better than a Thousand

Remember sporks? Remember how they were really popular for like 7 hours after they were invented? What happened to them?

They sucked, that's what happened.

Everyone knows how to use a spoon, and everyone knows how to use a fork. They are perfect at completing their tasks; so perfect, in fact, that it is totally worth the effort of having one of each utensil to accomplish their respective goals. Combining them into a genetically-altered hybrid-species simply to save oneself from carrying two utensils instead of one is not worth the frustration of dealing with the fact that a spork can't really do anything except poke the tip of your tongue when you're eating peas.

Ever heard of the Flip camcorder? It's this ingenious product that is about as simple to operate as an iPod, but it's a camcorder. It's the size of an iPod, too, and has a built-in rechargeable battery, and it holds and hour or two of video. That's it.

But that's the amazing part: That's it. No features, no menus, nothing to distract you from what's really important. (Oh, and it's in 720p HD, which makes your Youtube videos look fantastic.)

Everything you need; nothing you don't. Just like spoons and forks. Sometimes, it's what something doesn't do that makes it awesome.

And sometimes, it's what a person doesn't do that makes her good at what she does.

Mar 24, 2011


I've been going through a major transition in my life in the last 2 years. But mainly in just the last few months. I'm not necessarily talking about my recent career changes, my getting married, or even my new custom-length George L cables on my pedalboard (although, rest assured, those cables have changed my life). I'm talking about my definition of one little word:


Usually at this point in a writing, the author will begin h/er expose with a Webster's definition, and build from there. But I, quite frankly, am a little scared to read the "correct" definition of this word, because I've been having such a blast discovering it for myself. Or at least what it means for me.

I used to define work as something I did to make income. I clock in, I clock out. I'm at work, then I'm not. Someone's looking over my shoulder, then I'm free.

Now I define work a little differently: Work is ministry. And by "ministry" I don't mean that I'm walking around the world in sandals preachin' the good news and eating grasshoppers. Ministry is simply the opportunity I've been given to work.

An opportunity. A gift. A grace.

We all have this gift. According to Seth Godin, when you realize this gift, you become a linchpin--The third group of workers who are slowly overtaking the traditional commercial worldview of managers and laborers. You also become a good reason for Seth Godin to write a new book (case in point).*

Whatever it's called, it's seriously challenged my way of life. I no longer have the ability to simply not be at work. My work is almost always on my mind. There's no more clocking out; no more leaving work at work. I can no longer blame my stress on my uptight boss or my snotty coworkers. Everything (e.g., success, happiness) falls on me.

But on the bright side, I'm doing something (actually multiple things) that I really enjoy. It's like I'm just "being myself" and getting paid for it--joyfully. Suddenly, work is no longer work. It's ministry.

Which brings me to Sabbath, which has also taken on a new meaning in light of my new view of "the world of work." I never used to take Sabbath particularly seriously. As long as I scraped up some free time to (a) not be on the clock and (b) not be tired from previously being on the clock, I figured that was good. But now, there is no clock. I have to intentionally create a sacred time. Just like removing my shoes when I'm on sacred ground, I need to remove my productivity when I'm in this sacred time.

Why is this so important? Because now that I give a crap about what I do, I want it to matter. Which is great, but also dangerous, because it means I want to do it all the time. Which means I'm going to get burned out. But I'm just going to keep on truckin', because in my blind ambition I'm going to start thinking that what I do matters a little more than it actually does, and that I matter a little more than I actually do.

In his song Perfect Desires, Aaron Niequist puts it perfectly:

Perfect are
the good desires
You have given me
Be their end
as You have been
their beginning
Our desires are a gift. We're created to enjoy them, and when we do, we discover the difference between worldly happiness and everlasting joy. But the truth is, whether we act upon them or not, the world is still going to turn. God is still going to love me. But God has bigger things on his plate than whether or not I feel important. And "importance" is exactly what I feel when I work non-stop.

That's where Sabbath comes in. It reminds us that even though we have this awesome God-given thing to do, that thing doesn't control us, give us value, or define us. It's simply there for our enjoyment... Much like the Sabbath itself.


*If you read any Seth Godin and also read anything on the postmodern movement of the Christian church, there are some weird parallels. Um... I hope I didn't just give away an idea I should be writing a book about.