I follow quite a few blogs and have started noting posts that stand out to me for the Linking Back post each week. What I am noticing is that a number of the blogs I follow are written by people who have been influenced by Christianity or Buddhism. This presents me with a dilemma, as I am not aiming to promote any particular religion. If I had to fill out religion on an emergency room admittance form, I would probably put Nil or Not Applicable. However these two traditions have both been a big influence on my life and my thinking, and continue to influence me through the blogs I am reading.
What strikes me about the blogs I follow is that very different religious and philosophical starting points can lead people to hold similar social values or come to similar conclusions about what is important in life. This is certainly the case with simplicity and minimalism, which attracts people from humanist, christian and buddhist traditions, among others. It seems like intentional living and the desire to live more simply can be the fruit of any many different belief systems if thoughtfully applied. I like to think that the things which unite us are stronger than our differences and try to remain open to learning from people writing from different perspectives.
So in this spirit, I am going to mention a blog on which I find a lot of thought provoking material, which is Storyline Blog. This is the most overtly Christian blog that I follow; however much of the focus of the posts is on how we choose to live our lives. I can’t comment on the theology of the Storyline crew, because that’s not my department, but I do find some of the fruit of their thinking valuable. I like the respectful and thoughtful tone that the host Donald Miller adopts, and I feel like although we might be on different sides of some debates, we could have a respectful and rewarding conversation.
A post by Donald Miller that I enjoyed is 2 Things I do that Increase My Creative Output the Most. He describes creative work as a dance, and adopts an approach he calls “write where the wind is blowing”. His description of working on what wants to be written, rather than forcing himself to stick to a scheduled topic, is a lot like the way that I prefer to work. I feels more effective for me to go with the flow than force myself to do something when I am in the wrong frame of mind. I must admit I like it when I come across other people flying the flag for this more flexible approach.
Also on Storyline Blog was a post called The Question That Changed Everything for Me by Allison Vesterfelt. Allison writes about the impact of conversation where a friend asks her “What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money.” This question prompted Allison to challenge her worries about money and embark on a road trip across the USA. Of course money is a significant factor in our life decisions, and not everyone is in a position to quit their job and take off in their car for an adventure. But I think we can limit ourselves unnecessarily in a quest for ironclad financial security, I know that’s what I used to do. I admire Allison’s willingness to challenge those self-limiting beliefs.
Finally, I want to mention an inspiring talk which I found in the post Sunday Morning Sermon: Caitlin Crosby “Love is the Key”. Caitlin has been able to generate work and hope for homeless people by starting a business manufacturing keys engraved with hopeful messages. I was struck by her message about helping the people in front of you. I also liked the description of how the business evolved, particularly the fact that she waited six months for the right solution for manufacturing the keys to present itself, rather than just leaping in with her first idea. In the song at the end Caitlin has a line about being “Too safe to feel”. That certainly struck a chord with me. As I choose less safety and certainty, I find I am more open to feeling connected with other people.
I have started going on Sunshine Walks after lunch. Late autumn and early winter still supply a fair share of sunshine most days, but unfortunately it does not reach into my south facing unit (ie facing Antarctica). When I get the chance I take an afternoon stroll and seek out the sun. Here it is, backing up a poinsettia tree.
For those of you interested in photography I have put up a few photos of Sydney Harbour in Lights on the ImageChest Photography website.