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Quotes Archive, 2019

"New Year's resolutions are astonishingly silly--as if a new year, as if a changing of the date from 12/31 to 1/1, brings with it any magical change in the deeper emotional and attitudinal substructure that determines one's reality. Existential nip-tucks and cute commitments in January fade by spring (the time of year of peak depression and suicide), again revealing the same old personality framework that can only change by a rigorous, yearlong, year-after-year transformation process at foundational depths inside." (12/26)

"The mystery and paradox of trauma is that it is lethal kryptonite to some, but gives rise to Superman in others. How a person interprets, processes, and metamorphoses pain is the destiny-deciding matrix in all of us." (12/7)

"Communication in a relationship is not taking turns monologuing. That's taking turns monologuing. Communication, which has the same root word as communion, is entering the other person's universe and hearing their words from inside of them. This is impossible without listening patiently and with lasered interest, and this is impossible without truly loving them with the deepest of loves, and this is impossible without first and ongoingly having our own love hollow filled to overflowing with Love Himself." (11/30)

"A lot of Christians want to serve God, but not let God serve them. You see, I can largely control the when, how, and why of serving God, turning it into something that largely serves me, ironically. I cannot, however, control how God wants to serve me. That requires sustained prayer, looking, listening, perceiving, submitting, accepting, responding. Trying to serve God without letting Him serve you is medication religion, performance-based religion, a pious form of humanism that is ultimately aimed at appeasing a deity or simply making you feel better." (11/23)

"We do not always reap where we sow, but we always reap what we sow." (11/18)

"Don't talk faster, talk less." (11/9)

"Everyone has a chronoception, a perception of time within which they execute their life. Linear timers perceive life as a straight line; they (try to) go from goal to goal to goal and struggle enormously with detours, reroutes, roundabouts, and roadblocks. Circular timers perceive life as a continuous loop, as structures, circumstances, and redundancies that never or rarely change. Cyclical timers perceive life as recurring opportunities and threats with forward-moving potential. Opportunities successfully actualized or threats successfully defeated lead to an ascending (positive) forward movement, while the opposite leads to a descending (negative) forward movement. Comprehensive timers perceive life as a machinery of all three and discern which is at work in a given situation. The quality of a person's life is partly determined by their chronoception (perception of time) and chronocommand (discernment and mastery of the trilateral machinery of time across situations)." (11/1)

"Loving correctly means loving multidimensionally. Loving with mercy and compassion only is incomplete, as is loving with truth and toughness only, as is loving with benevolence only, as is loving with consequences only, or loving with any other specialization only. All these and other dimensions of love are right at certain moments, yet all of them are incomplete, disparate specializations in what we might call "the fullness of love". Knowing the width, length, depth, and height of the love of Jesus does not mean feeling love more intensely so that you cry or legalistically camping out in your preferred version of love. It means perceiving and actualizing the multidimensional, multidirectional nature of that love, a love that right-fits to any and every situation with tactical wisdom and lifechanging relevance." (10/24)

"Many Christians do not realize God creates voids before He fills them. He creates capacity or container first, then, in a second act, He fills it. First the sky, then the lights. First the land, then the plants and animals. First the waters, then the fish. First the body, then the breath of life. First the need or desire, then the fulfillment. First the calling, then the commissioning. Any empty space or place is not an enemy, but awaiting a commensurate Act Two of God." (10/17)

"People tend to make same-level or nearby comparisons to infer what they deserve (like with like), but tend to make different-level or distant comparisons to idealize what they wish (like with unlike). These cross-references and crosschecks are deceptive. They imply a lack of individuation and independent trajectory." (10/10)

"The internet positively undermined institutions the way gunpowder undermined bows and arrows. Institutions have their place and benefit, but they become (1) graveyards when they stop improving, adapting, and updating and (2) feudal systems when their upward mobility pathways are too narrow or practically impenetrable." (10/3)

"In the story of the prodigal son, we almost always focus on the father's love and second chances. This is not Jesus' only point, however. At the beginning of the story the prodigal son said, "Give me...", at the turning point of the story he said, "I will..."
    Many of our problems come from a give me inner philosophy. I am not referring to socialism or communism, but a callow demand for promise lands and blessings we have not prepared for or matured for with an I will philosophy of initiative and industriousness.
    Paul, illuminating this more subtle message in Jesus' story, said this, " long as an heir is underage [not ready, immature], he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate" (Gal 4:1). Then he gives the solution to an unready heir, "The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father" (v2).
    This illuminates yet another message in Jesus' story that is almost always missed: the father's indiscretion in agreeing to a premature inheritance payout. By staying on the surface of this story and only seeing love and second chances, we miss the pragmatic nuances about how Father God does and does not do things. Scripture consistently tells us the Father does not dispense inheritance (significant personal blessings) without a developmental trajectory. Do you see the irony and pattern-break, then, in the father agreeing to his son's premature payout?
    Like the parable of the unjust judge not much later (Lk 18:1-8), Jesus is contrasting how imperfect people do things to illustrate and magnify what a perfect God would do in the same situation. If an unjust judge grants justice, imagine what a perfect Judge would do. If an imperfect father agrees to a foolish premature payout, imagine what a perfect Father would do. He would not agree to it, He would, like Paul said, subject the heir to developmental guardians and trustees until the time He Himself set. Jesus' first century Hebrew audience would have perceived the irony and pattern-break in the father's capitulation.
    See friend, the story of the prodigal son is not merely about love and second chances. As with many of Jesus' words, there is a labyrinth of depth and nuance. It is equally about one's inner philosophy, about give me vs I will, about developmental trajectory and cultivated readiness, about managing and oversight, about when to give and when to withhold, about second chances even for the father...all things the truest Father does perfectly." (9/17)


"Many people are intriguing prospects, but woefully unfinished products. The uncertain, pitch black chasm between a promising starter-kit person and a phenomenal ready-to-be-deployed person is learning what you don't want to, facing what you don't want to, changing what you don't want to, going where you don't want to, and killing the sacred cows in your personality that keep you nothing more than a starter kit, or a half-assembled one." (9/6)

"The emotional will always lose to the intelligent, but the intelligent will always lose to the clever." (8/31)

"Most people view their life episodically, not pan-historically. They keep replaying their greatest hits and greatest pits, instead of the entire anthology that reveals important nuance obvious events cannot. While the Word exhorts us to move forward with a visionary dynamic, this is functionally impossible with episodic emotional anchors (positive and negative). Anticipating this, the Word equally exhorts us to panoramically ponder, accurately interpret, learn from, and heal where necessary, the full anthology of our life. The lesser-appreciated tracks and mere instrumentals are often the smallest hinges that swing the biggest doors of revelation and transformation." (8/22)

"Perceive a person's shield. Some make it of candy. Some, of thorns. Some, of accomplishments. Some, of busyness. Some, of beauty. Some, of injustices. Some, of charm. Some, of family. Some, of religion. Some, of politics. Intercourse of the soul is one of humanity's primal, preeminent, and often least recognized, fears." (8/14)

"One of the greatest signs of maturity is the ability to live the nonreactive life." (8/7)

"The next transformer, creative genius, or master of sorts is often an ambitious individual at the margins of a society or in the uncontrollable fault lines between institutional spheres." (7/28)

"Our thymia (spiritedness, deep passion, instinctive gusto) is a fire needing a fireplace. Without inspired vision, without a sense of providential calling to a specific fireplace, thymia flares beyond isothymia (the itch for basic social dignity, recognition) and ignites megalothymia (the itch to be superior to others or someone)." (7/11)

"God is a communicating being. Wonder why everything in nature expresses itself? Dogs bark. Dolphins squeal. Stars twinkle. Clouds pour. DNA programs. Even flowers speak to pollinating insects and birds with strategically color-coded blossoms. The nature of nature illustrates the nature of God (Job 12:7,8, Ro 1:20).
    If you think the Father has gone silent on you, He has not. You either (1) do not recognize how He is speaking, or (2) have more to unpack on things He has already spoken, or (3) ignored or disobeyed a previous communication He sent." (7/3)


"If you decide to reengage a previously unhealthy, but now seemingly repentant, person, watch out for misleading camera angles and false frames. Jesus regularly called out the coy frames of those around Him (Mt 16:22,23, 22:15-18, Mk 2:8). With those on 'relationship probation', you control the construct, not them. In dealing with people He did not fully trust (Jn 2:24,25), Jesus commandeered the frame, albeit through skill, not force (Lk 7:39-49, Mt 10:16). If you choose to reengage, depending on the nature and extent of the previous toxicity, you may have to monitor and control the construct a long time." (6/21)

"Generating leverage and converting leverage are very different functions. Generating leverage is a function of observation and keen perception; converting that leverage into sustainable results is a function of profound social skill and organizational wisdom." (6/13)

"Poverty is not the absence of money, and wealth is not the presence of it. Poverty and wealth are deeper personalities, 'who I am' identities with generational, emotional, social, even spiritual, drivers. As long as you view money as numerical, instead of ontological (what you think you are deep down), you will continue perpetually in the same financial reality." (6/5)

"Truth and salience are not always equivalent or intersectional. What is salient is obvious, demanding, seemingly urgent, seemingly important, but it may not be true or lead to truth. Most people live by what is salient, only to realize in a later season their reality is artificial, superficial, or interstitial." (5/25)

"Most people do not recognize their own 'tracker beacons', or behavioral subtleties and microexpressions, that blink constantly like small red lights revealing where they are as a person and in life." (5/20)

"Disidentification is just as important as identification. Know when to disidentify from values, goals, activities, individuals, and groups that are not compatible with the truer, healthier, godlier you emerging. We try to be so nice in our transformation process that we nice ourselves right back into bondage." (5/11)

"Relationship narratives run on two tracks. Lesser narratives are immediate events, storylines, and issues. Most people focus on these. Greater narratives are the larger dynamics or culture or status quo that is being formed in the relationship, often unknowingly and gradually. People focus far less on these until later down the road, when the frog suddenly realizes he is boiling." (5/2)

"There are healthy, ethical ways to persuade, a social art Aristotle organized and popularized in his book, Rhetoric. One important lever is the disposition of the other you are trying to persuade. Some people are sensitive to evidence and facts, some are sensitive to ad hominem or human interest narratives, some are sensitive to the ethos or overall credibility of the persuader. Winning their soul means matching your approach to their disposition." (4/25)

"Many Bible-believing Christians have become zealots of right-wing politics rather than zealous seekers and obeyers of the Lord Jesus Christ and His core purposes. They neglect the prayer closet but idolize the voting booth. They skip prayer meetings but show up at political rallies. They do not take up their cross to die daily but demonstrate carrying heavy signs. They do not love and battle alongside their virtuous pastor but are sword-wielding guardcherubs for a leader with the moral and emotional maturity of Commodus. Like the caesaropapist monstrosity of the Holy Roman Empire, they have sought political power over spiritual anointing, political victories over kingdom fruit, changing the political landscape over changing lives." (4/15)

"Your family does not always have your best interest in mind. Be keen: they are human beings with emotional structures and agendas of their own, some more sinister than others. While Scripture presents family ideals, it is also surprisingly realistic that often those ideals will not be met. Realize this, and do not hesitate to take unilateral action for your spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, even financial, well-being." (4/9)

"To be calm, observant, forethoughtful, and actionally measured is far better than struggling, striving, forcing, and overexerting. The hard worker will always earn a paycheck, but the intelligent worker will always be the one writing it." (3/31)

"Relational conflicts occasionally become 'irreconcilable differences', not necessarily because the differences are truly irreconcilable, but because the feuding individuals are on very different communication tracks. One cannot talk about feelings while the other talks about facts or logic. One cannot talk philosophically or idealistically while the other talks procedure or action-plans. The possible mismatches in what we are actually talking about are endless. Many relational conflicts can become solvent if the individuals stay communicationally congruent, or talk about the same thing at the same time from room to room." (3/22)

"How a war ends is just as important as how it began and how it was conducted. Not understanding and aggressively addressing how and why your last _____ ended will only lead to a bellum interruptum, a misleading pause before the war resumes at a much worse, catastrophic level." (3/15)

"Beware of your mind's ability to retcon. Whether revising the past or filling in gaps in your current perceptions, the mind's ability to manufacture storylines in obedience to emotion, need, or status injury is stealthy and powerful." (3/7)

"The seeker-sensitive church industry (yes, industry) is actually a passive-aggressive grievance industry against God's holiness." (2/25)

"We depend too much on favorable winds, variables, even luck, to succeed. Every hand is a winner and every hand is a loser, how you play the hand you have determines your outcome. The inkblots of life are polysemic, they can have whatever meaning and potentiality you assign to them." (2/19)

"Scrutinize the stories around you: myths, legends, conspiracies, daily happenings, retellings, this-happened-to-me, etc. What theme pulsates, overtly or subtly? How, or why, are they telling this story? A random story here and there might be funny or interesting and nothing more, but continual storytelling is a proven soft power tactic. People, even groups, project their desired reality, or enforce their existing one, through stories. Whenever someone starts narrating or retelling, consider carefully to what end this soft power is serving." (2/12)

"Notice the information surrounding the information. What is salient is betrayed by what is subtle." (2/6)

"Humanity hungers for the wild unknown. This often translates into copious traveling, experience seeking, linking with unique individuals or groups, a nondescript restlessness, a nag for the anticipated More and a place called There. While these are not inherently or entirely wrong, they persistently bypass the greatest wild unknown to ever exist: inside. Inside exists every paradise lost, every mythical creature ever storied, every treasure undiscovered, every new land never explored. But people are afraid of this wild unknown because of the truth it will reveal about themselves, about others, about God. Black holes in outer space distract us from black holes in our inner space. New lovers distract us from old self-hatreds. Strong chemicals distract us from deep feelings. Road trips distract us from spiritual journeys. On and on goes the faux adventurism of the civilized artificial person. Explore the wild unknown that matters the most and scares you the most: you." (1/28)

"We change for five or so reasons: authority, embarrassment, desperation, reason, or the hope of something we value. The Lord knows exactly which one, at which time, best fits our personality, maturity level, and unique sin complex." (1/22)

"Consistently, proactively violate the boxes people (try to) put you in, even decent people and loved ones. By not doing so you become a hostage to their projections, vortexes, and emotional myths. Better to disappoint and lovingly offend them, testing the purity of their affection, than to become a domesticated show-animal in their zoo." (1/14)

"As World War II increasingly turned against the Axis powers, Nazi soldiers developed a saying: 'Enjoy the war, for the peace will be savage.' In personal life, discern quickly who enjoys war more than peace. A histrionic person who needs theater, needs conflict, needs to disagree, needs persistent debate, needs to one-up others...enjoys the war. Discern the person unsettled by peace." (1/8)

"Isolation is merely an unhealthy way of seeking refuge." (1/1)

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