Russell and Duenes

More Musings

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We hear a lot today about “following your passion.” And usually we take this to mean that we must find our passion before we can begin following it. The result is too often a sense that we “just can’t see” what our passion is, with a concommitant paralysis due to being in such a fog. But my wife passed along to me a very helpful and practical piece called: What Top Performers Know About Passion, by Ramit Sethi. This dude is gold! The whole article is worth semi-memorizing, but two bits of advice really stand out and confirm my own experience: First, learn to do something really, really well, and it doesn’t much matter what it is. As Ramit says, “If you’re not good at your day job, what gives you the right to think you deserve to find your life’s passion when you haven’t even put the time in to become good at something?” Second, begin doing some things on a small scale before you try to figure out the whole big “passion” picture. In practical terms, Ramit urges people to enroll in community college classes on whatever strikes your curiosity, or find someone to tutor you in something, anything. He writes: “The point is that instead of sitting in your room and trying to “think” your way to your passions, the micro-steps of testing your assumptions can radically change your approach to finding your passion.” This is phenomenal stuff, even if you’re locked into a career right now.

It is often easy to forget, while studying judicial rulings, that all these court cases are dealing with human beings. The cop who has to enter a domestic violence situation is a human being, with certain biases and experiences shaping his attitudes as he enters, with certain sentiments about right and wrong, with certain values placed on his own life and the lives of those he encounters in the situation, with a certain idea about how life should work, with a certain emotional makeup, with certain family and friends. Same with the contractor who is suing the homeowner who fails to pay for the contractor’s services, or the employee who thinks she was wrongfully terminated, or the two neighbors who are suing each other over a disputed property line, or the black youth who distrusts the police, or the professional athlete that wants to get out of his contract…and on and on it goes. Each statement of facts in each case we read deals with these complex human beings and the web of relationships and connections their lives involve.

Writing about the out-of-control statism endemic to our nation in After America, Mark Steyn had me belly-laughing with this one, “Kodak, which actually invented some of the first digital camera technology in 1975, failed to foresee how fast things were changing, and eventually would up laying off 60 percent of its workforce. Had the statists been in charge of that sector as they now are of so many others, we’d still be snapping with Kodak Instamatics, and it would take you two weeks to get your holiday pics and cost you $800, because the government had intervened to protect the jobs of Instastatistmatic film developers in the unionized Kodacrony lab.” (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2011, p.48).

“If a plaintiff files an answer in a particular state, she impliedly consents to that state’s jurisdiction over her”…”In order to be liable for voluntary manslaughter, a defendant must have killed her victim in the sudden heat of passion with adequate provocation”…”Where she has intentionally created an apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive conduct, she will be liable for the tort of assault”…”In today’s world, a lawyer is likely to find herself thinking about ethical issues on a daily basis”…and on and on it goes in virtually all of the legal literature I read. I’m not sure what the social engineering goal is behind using feminine pronouns, and only feminine pronouns, in almost all casebooks and other legal documents, but I have a feeling that such political correctness is rather strictly enforced among the ranks.

Several weeks ago my pastor spoke about King Asa, who “did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord.” Asa’s righteousness consisted mainly in the fact that Asa sought the Lord. And because Asa sought the Lord, the Lord prospered the kingdom of Judah under Asa and gave Asa peace with his enemies on all sides. Most people know the command, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” but I thought I’d remind you of a few other biblical references to that vital labor of “seeking the Lord.”

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chron. 16:11); “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever” (1 Chron. 28:9); “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14); ” [King] Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there…And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord” (2 Chron. 12:13-14); “As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause” (Job 5:8); “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”(Ps.10:4); “You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Ps. 27:8); “Those who seek the LORD lack no good thing (Ps.34:10); “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near” (Isa.55:6); “Seek and you will find” (Mt.7:7); “God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27); “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col.3:1)…And this is but a small sampling. Let us consider what it is that we “seek” each day. May we take God’s Word to heart, and consider the reward for those who seek Him. To find the presence of God in Christ is to find the highest and most satisfying treasure.



Written by Michael Duenes

February 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

One Response

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  1. His Testing your assumptions post reminded me of acting despite fear. Fear is usually based on an assumption, and often a false one.


    March 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

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