Friday, November 13, 2009


Bill Hybels wrote a book called Holy Discontent. It was one of those books I shouldn't have bothered to buy. Having heard an explanation of the title I totally got it and reading more didn't help.

His point was that personal vision always arises out of being dissatisfied. You've got to find the effort involved in change less demanding than the effort involved in tolerating the thing that needs changing. On a small scale it is why I can cope with undecorated rooms for longer than my wife. On a large it is why most churches never really go from big to very big. Big church's buildings are usually pretty comfortable places. Who'd want to cram more people in so some have to stand?

I was dreaming last night and a guy was sitting with me at a table and he asked me what my personal values were. I gave him my first two:

1. I'm liberal.
2. I'm open and straight with people.

To clarify (which I didn't do in the dream), I believe in giving people as much freedom as I believe God gives me and prefer life with fewer rules.

I believe confidentiality should be assumed not to exist unless requested. I try to give honest and unambiguous answers to questions. Exaggeration, secrets, silence, diplomacy, tact and spin are the understudies of lies.

Thing is, I was woken from this not unpleasant dream by the woman next to me asking if I thought her finger was infected (yes, I did) and I couldn't get back to sleep. Can anyone do that? What would I have said third?

So I reckoned a useful thing to do today would be to write down some more personal values. It's been a tough think. Because of the next one, I don't have many.

3. I believe in the value of intuition.

Often I simply know what to do without knowing how I know. In the past I have struggled to follow this up by 'showing my working.' I like arguments because they help me get there.

4. Let go and let God.

In the context of a conversation about everything with everybody all the time I find it best not to be rushing in to fix everything that isn't perfect. Or to get back to the beginning, wait for the holy discontent to get there.

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