When your world changes

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This Sunday we continue the Jesus story beyond his crucifixion. At first glance, it’s easy for us to think that we’d somehow perform more admirably than Jesus’ disciples. Surely we would have caught on to Jesus’ identity as Messiah and his mission to save a people for God. In truth, we’re not different from those earliest Christians, they learned to trust God when the world around them changed, and we need to do that too.

Let your people grieve

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Leaders and employers, I’d encourage you to do your best to treat those you lead as grieving people.

They are.

While I understand that the business must go on, it’s also critical that you realize that this is not business as usual (albeit from a different location).

Be careful–at least in these earliest of days–to do all you can to avoid adding to the stress and grief they’re already experiencing. This investment in the near term will pay off in the long term.

Read more from Harvard Business Review.

Let your people grieve

Read in < 1 min

Leaders and employers, I’d encourage you to do your best to treat those you lead as grieving people.

They are.

While I understand that the business must go on, it’s also critical that you realize that this is not business as usual (albeit from a different location).

Be careful–at least in these earliest of days–to do all you can to avoid adding to the stress and grief they’re already experiencing. This investment in the near term will pay off in the long term.

Read more from Harvard Business Review.

Be still

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Our economy is built on distraction. Built as it is on services, it relies on a widespread sense of busyness–a feeling that there is too much to do and not time enough to do it.

When we take this presupposition as true there follows a line of successive consequences.

We begin to calculate the cost of our time against the cost of our tasks to be done.

Once this is habit takes root we struggle with a perpetual calculus over whether we are engaged in the right task. And we find ourselves tempted put aside things that seem to not measure up.

Our economy offers us services that will help us overcome the limits of time and effortlessly get things done.

A yard service.

A maid.

A meal service.

Dry-cleaning and laundry services.

A handyman.

There’s nothing wrong with engaging the services of any or all of these.

At the same time, there is something degrading in the belief that moving the yard, cleaning the toilet, preparing a meal, ironing a shirt, or painting a door is somehow either a poor use of time or, worse, beneath us.

When we believe that the only memories or moments that count are those experienced on a scenic shore on the far side of the world, we believe a lie.

When we believe that anything short of effortless perfection–in keeping house, in raising kids, in tending to our health–is the only sign of a good life, we believe a lie.

Our culture lauds the big, the loud, the flashy, and the extreme. The Kingdom of Heaven is rarely made of such things.

Let’s resolve to look search for the good in ordinary things and ordinary people. Let’s find God in the ordinary things of life. And let’s live life to its fullest.

In search of a simple life

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I have loved The Lord of the Rings since I was a tween (a word that didn’t exist then). I was introduced to The Hobbit when I was around ten.

By eleven a friend and I had read and discussed The Lord of the Rings over the span of a school year.

On average I reread it every other year. In other words, I’ve read it at least twenty times.

The formative power of Tolkien

To say that Tolkien has had a strong formative influence on me would be an understatement.

Apart from the brief period of time in which I worried that “fantasy literature” was somehow antithetical to the Christian faith (a phase that mercifully ended quickly), Middle Earth has been a constant influence.

I was recently chatting with a friend about our favorite volumes in the book. I have always gravitated to the first volume The Fellowship of the Ring–ever since I first read it.

For some reason, I assumed that the rest of the world probably liked it the least.

To my surprise, my friend agreed with me. He named for me some things that hitherto had lain beneath my conscious mind.

In praise of the ordinary

The Fellowship of the Ring, he noted, is the most ordinary of the three volumes of LOTR.

With The Two Towers, the narrative begins to pick up speed. It also picks up an epic tone.

The language becomes more lofty, more indicative of the epic nature of this final battle between the free world and the power of the Ring.

That’s not true in the first book.

Instead, we encounter the tale of simple people whose life is interrupted by an adventure they never anticipated and they only partially understand.

That’s me. I’m no wizard, monarch, or even warlord. I’m more a peasant.

Really.

I celebrate that my forefathers worked the Suffolk landscape.

I celebrate that they made their living harvesting apples and other soft fruit.

That the sweat of their brow and the ache of their back brought food to the table and shelter for their families.

My lineage includes soldiers, brewers, laborers, and gamekeepers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m immensely grateful that I am literate and well-educated.

At the same time, I’m ordinary and I’m growing to be fine with that.

The little folk of the Shire are right. The finest things in life are simple pleasures.