Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Determination and Persistence

Since the latter part of the 19th Century when  Friedrich Nietzshe went to war against virtues, character has increasingly been defined by individual choices, not absolute virtues.  The following is a quote from an article written by John Heenan that puts things in perspective...

"Just over one hundred years ago the German philosopher, Friedrich Vilhem Nietzsche began to speak of values in a new way. He used values not as a verb, meaning to value or esteem something; nor as a singular noun, meaning the measure of something (the economic value of money, labour or property); but in the plural, meaning the moral beliefs and attitudes of society.

      Neitzsche used the word consciously and repeatedly to signify what he believed to be the most profound event in human history. His invention of "values" was to be the final revolution against virtues. "Values" would be the death of morality and truth. There would be no good or evil, no virtue or vice. There would only be "values." His purpose was to degrade virtues into "values" and to create a new set of "values" for his "new man."     
John Heenan

But we are now left with a mess where virtues are almost forgotten, but not quite.  It appears that there is a universal movement back to character defined by virtues (Martin Seligman).  If you read this blog you will find more and more examples of virtues in action.  Examples and stories teach the heart more than truths that simply inform the mind.  Two very important virtues for the Christian life are determination and persistence.  Take a few moments and read about some really persistent people!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Context Gives Meaning

Words are potentially powerful means to motivation.  Jesus as the Word of Life has been a moving power for many of us.  As we seek to share the message of the Gospel we need to remember that words make sense only in context.  That is one reason why Jesus never taught except through the use of stories and parables.  Truth gains powers as it is seen in the context of application.  The same event presented within the context of a story carries more life change that any list of doctrines.  While doctrines are critical to our faith and growth, they must find their true meaning within the context of application.

My friend Jim Marino passed this little example on to me.  We see truth expressed as a statement and then see truth expressed within the context of experience and life.  Which has the greatest potential for moving people to action?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Disruptive Innovation

If I told you that I have found a disruptive innovation for Africa you would have good cause to wonder what I was talking about.  While the term disruptive gives a negative connotation, it has the potential to be very positive.  Some of us who are old enough saw this happen with the advent of the personal computer.  The typewriter,  Dictaphone etc. was soon put out of business.  We saw it again with the advent of the Internet.  Everything changed.  We saw it again with cell phones.  In essence disruptive innovation forces a paradigm shift concerning the tools we use and how we use them.  The downside for some is that they replace the way things were done with something different: cheaper, better, more efficient.

Over the past weekend I found a new, potentially Disruptive Innovation.  It has been developed by Biolite.  For a full explanation watch the video below.  Actually I would encourage you to watch and listen on two levels.  The first is about a camp/cook stove that produces almost no smoke and produces electricity as a side benefit.  But the other is to listen to what these folks have learned about introducing innovation into a community.  There are many great ideas that can help people, but many of them fail because they are not introduced in a culturally appropriate way.  Let me know what you think!

Watch and Learn!!