Freedom of Information

I love sharing novel and obscure information with people. Information about how Daylight Saving Time works internationally, the history behind why a certain thing is the way it is, or what things were like before the upgrades and changes that have been made to the iPhone or computers.

The unintentional drawback of wanting to share this information is I sometimes am not helping with the information I am sharing. People do not always want to know or they do not care. And sometime, sharing extra information even causes extra stress or anxiety because they are overwhelmed with the excess information.

What is a small way you like to add value to other peoples’ lives? How can this cause people stress? How can it add value? How can you better assess when to add value and when to keep it in?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

EXCITE

When I’m texting, I will add in exclamation points more often than I would for pretty much anything else I write. I am especially fond of the emoji exclamation points (‼️❗️⁉️). I know I’m not the only one, many other people I text will do the same thing.

I will add in exclamation points to indicate extra positivity or emphasis even when I do not think I would normally. It is always a struggle to decide whether or not I should even add them in.

EXCITE.jpg

The reality is though, they do not matter or count anymore.

When there is an exclamation point in a text. It does not really matter. I will get a 100 or more text messages a day and if a few of them have an exclamation point. No. Big. Deal.

Contrast my text messages with longer form writing, there are almost no exclamation points. There are periods, commas, occasionally a semicolon, almost never a colon, and even fewer exclamation points.

Exclamation points in a text message do not have the same purpose. They do not perform the same function. They most certainly are not as rare. And they are as common as sand in the desert.

The exclamation point is a tool for communicating excitement and we are frivolously using it as if it hardly means anything at all. The only difference is long form and text messages. Text messages happen all the time. Rarely do we sit down to write a long form letter.

Sitting down to do more long form writing we could develop a better sense of value for the exclamation point. Whereas when throw this golden hammer around so easily, we lose perspective on the true power it can posses.

Similarly, if we sat and watched a road crew pave a road, we might be more patient with the small pothole on the highway. The crew has an immense power and it is incredibly labor intensive to fix one pot hole much less an entire neighborhood of boulevard of them.

Spend a day watching your barista, you might be more forgiving that they used soy milk instead of almond milk in your drink this morning.

Follow around your mayor or senator for a day and you might be a little bit more patient with them as they tend to their jobs.

These modern marvels surround us every day and they have a face behind them.

What luxuries have you become too familiar with? What valuables are you taking for granted? Whose work are you taking for granted? Who are you being too critical of? How can you give value to the people you are taking for granted?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

The Customer's No

When you have an idea. Take a shot at it.

Why are you the negative force in your life? Let someone else tell you, ‘No.’

Where are you stopping before you start? What ideas do you have that you can act on? Where can you add value to other people’s life? What significant work can you do? What excites you? What meaningful work can you do and let other people tell you, ‘No’? Where are you telling yourself, ‘No’ because you are afraid?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

No Way

NOWAY.png

In improvisational theater they have a rule of thumb. When another player on stage does something, you always say, ‘Yes.’

Occasionally the new idea is at odds with the direction of the improvisational scene and then the players have to act on the Rule of Yes. Their tool of action is to say, ‘Yes and...’ With ‘yes and’ they can move the scene forward in a meaningful, often hilarious way, and engage one another. The scene becomes more because the players on stage are saying, ‘Yes and...’ and the scene is moving forward. Constantly being added to.

The scene grows with each passing action, line, and move. The players deftly navigate a scene about deep sea fishing to battling an ancient leviathan with QTip swords and armor made of canned tuna.

At work, how much more limited are you? Can you really not participate in that new project or are you saying, ‘No’ because you don’t like the project? Can you be a part of the project and add meaning to it rather than nay say and shame it? When your family wants to go on a crazy vacation, do you shoot it down because it is out of the ordinary? When a friend calls you about a new project, do you say ‘yes and...’ or make excuses for why you cant?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Picking Winners

March Madness. Fantasy Football. Fantasy Baseball. Fantasy Basketball.

They are all systems of picking winners. Picking winners based on statistics and biases developed by the “experts” who spend a bunch of time with the statistics and biases that we all have access to.

They then use those numbers to quantify a player or team’s value summed up in a number of points they might profit your team or bracket as you play against another team. This is purely speculative based on people’s opinions and how high or low profile the given team or player is.

When choosing a player or team for any given matchup, we choose based on our own hopes and dreams of what we hope the player will do. We choose based on our own biases. We choose because we think based on the commentary we like from the “experts” we agree with.

We choose not because we have any hard and fast data. We choose because we are hopeful.

We choose because we are biased to like our own opinion and listen to the people we agree with most.

Unfortunately, this is also how we choose our political views, financial views, family views, and spiritual views. We find the thing that sounds the best coming from an expert and go along with it. We do not spend the time challenging the assumptions and research made by the “experts” we agree with.

Picking Winners.jpg

What “experts” are you listening to? What does the other side say about your “expert”? When was the last time you reviewed your values and beliefs based on what the expert thinks and believes? Who are the experts in your life helping you along?

BONUS EXERCISE: Take a minute with one of your values or beliefs and assume that you are wrong. Now look up some articles proving you are wrong. What do they say? What valid points do they make? How can you improve yourself using one of these valid points?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Grownups

When I was a little kid, I always looked up to adults. Literally, I haven’t always been six feet tall. Really though, they were the grownups. They were so much taller and smarter than I was. I wanted to be just like them when I was grownup. Tall and smart, that’s what it meant to me to be a grownup, tall and smart.

Here I am all these years later and I’m still waiting for someone to give me a badge. To let me know, I am an adult. I’m 32, a father, and I still wonder when I’ll be a grownup. Reflecting on what’s so different now from that little kid who sat in the room while his parents and their friends sat around talking and chatting about adult things. Most of which in my memory sounds exactly like the adults from Charlie Brown. I think I’m about as tall as I’ll ever be, unfortunately.

The more I reflect on what a grownup is, the more I have realized, grownups are a process not a destination. I’ll never be grownup. I will continue to grow up and develop and learn and improve and become more adult. I am definitely much taller today than I was then, but that does not seem to make me an adult. It only seems to cause others to assume I am an adult. We will see how the smart part plays out, but I like to think I am smarter today than I was then.

A grownup is a participant in the process of growing up.

I have to choose to be a participant in this process, and that is all it means to be a grownup. To keep participating in the process and never stop. To believe I have arrived at the destination of being a grownup will mean, I cannot grow any more and my potential will then have peaked.

How are you participating in the process of growing up? How are you intentionally participating in the process of growing up? What would it look like fo you to stop participating? (The best way to avoid failure is to know what it looks like.) What would it look like for you to start participating? Who can help hold you to your word to participate in the process of growing up?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Resistance

Resistance.jpg

When I go to the gym, I expect to push myself. I expect to have to choose to increase the weight for the bench press (especially for my weak flimsy arms.) I expect to increase the weight I use when I am squatting. I choose to increase the weight I use when I do curls.

I also choose to increase the slope of the treadmill or elliptical to continue to maintain my size and weight. Sometimes I think I will fall over dead afterwards or there is no way I can finish my time.

As I push myself to make these increases, I also increase the amount of resistance each one of these exercises has on my body. And ideally the increased resistance leads to the desired results of weight loss/maintenance, toned muscles, chiseled abs (it is harder to chisel a keg than a six pack. It is really insurance against dying a death too young.)

Increasing the resistance is important. I have to increase the resistance in order to continue to develop and maintain physical health.

Then there is creativity and productivity. I have to focus on developing my creativity too. It comes with its own resistances.

Tiredness: I’ve been up too long and I have already done so much.

Boredom: this part of the project is lame and I don’t like it. I should something that doesn’t take so long or is more entertaining.

Distractions: I know I need to come up with some ideas, but I would rather check my email, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, or listen to a podcast. Those are easier and quicker than making myself be creative.

Excuses: It can wait.

At the end of the day, there are all these resistances I am pushing against when it comes to focusing on doing work that matters. Making a difference in the long term projects and getting real work done. Whether or not I will do anything worthwhile is directly related to my ability to lean into these resistances in the face of excuses.

What are your excuses for not doing something that matters? What are your resistances? How can you lean into them to do work that really matters to you and to others? How can your friends know what you are capable of if you never lean into your resistances?

“Resistance is futile.” - Ancient Borg Proverb

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Internet Time Machine

Think about this. Once upon a time, so long ago, approximately during the 1990’s, I would have an idea, and then think about it for a while. My idea would ruminate inside my own head, then I would tell my friends about it.

On a good day, I would have several friends readily available to me the same day. It might have to be later that week before my friends would be available to talk. I would then tell my friends about the idea and they would weigh in. If they like the idea, they might tell some of their friends about it and get some feedback on my behalf. And then those friends would share with their friends, so on and so forth.

My friends and I would continue to talk about the idea on occasion. They might even remember to give me some of the feedback they received and share it back with me. I would be encouraged or discouraged to act on my idea. All in all, it might take a few weeks before I am really able to say whether or not my idea is going to take root.

Today, I can post on Facebook and Twitter, get the simultaneous feedback of everyone the algorithm allows within minutes.

I very-well might be able to get more feedback on more ideas faster than I can come up with ideas.

At this rate of ideation I could actually get more feedback on more ideas in a single day than I could have potentially gotten within a month during the 1990’s. And more feedback than I might have been able to get in a year in before the 1950’s.

Given the ability of so many people being able to weigh in so quickly. We are now able to iterate faster than ever before.

How are you using your friends and family connections on Facebook? What thoughts and ideas are you sharing on Twitter? How are you weighing in on the ideas you see others sharing on social media?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Snowflakes

I hear a lot about the Millenial generation and they are usually this way and that way. I hear quite a bit about Generation X and how they are the other way and do this thing normally. Then there are those who don’t fit into either category and they are this hybrid generation called Millenial Xer’s. And then I hear about the Baby Boomers and what it means for them to fade from majority to minority. Then everyone has an opinion on the statistics and history of the Silent Generation and how they did this right or that wrong and how it has left us all better or worse off than before.

The more we talk about it, the more we measure it, the more we press into classifying the generations, the more different we all seem.

When I talk to anyone identifying with any of these generations, they don’t carry enough of the identifiers for me to classify them. They might be born in 1991 but carry the opinions and ideas of someone born in 1967. The more I get to know people who fall into all these labels, the more I see people.

Sure these people use a smartphone more and those people do not use a smartphone very much. But they are still people. They breath air, eat food, and sleep, just like I do. The more of them I treat them like people. The fewer differences I have with them.

The less I focus on our supposed differences and classifications, the better I feel and the more friends I make.

Who are you classifying before you get to know them? Where are you making assumptions about people you do not know? Where are you meeting a stereotype, not meeting a person? Where else are you classifying and measuring the differences of people before you meet the people?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Mundane

Every morning, my alarm goes off. I get up out of bed and get dressed to go to the gym to work out. I go to the gym and follow the workout on my phone. I finish my workout between 7:30 and 7:35. Afterwards I shower, sometimes shave, get dressed, and go to work. I take the same route to work every day.

When I get to work, I make myself coffee. While my coffee is brewing, I finish my breakfast of two hard boiled eggs, a sliced apple with almond butter, and a banana.

At this point, I have made no decisions nor have I had to apply myself. I have followed the road I laid out for myself, relied on the habits I have and the planning I already put into place. I have spent no mental energy to get to where I am by 8:30 every morning.

MUNDANE.jpg

My outfit is pretty standard and unremarkable.

My breakfast is the same.

My workout is preplanned.

As mundane as this sounds, it is incredibly freeing. I am set free to execute predetermined systems and processes while I pay attention to the things that really matter to me. I stew on the ideas of the podcasts I am listening to while I work out. I am pondering the items on my schedule while I “pump iron”.

Even when I get to work, putting together my coffee and eating my breakfast is as much a part of my mental boot up process as it is a habit.

Oh, and did I mention I am significantly physically healthier now than I was 2 years ago?

My entire process has freed me to make more decisions about things that matter while I have systematized the mundane. The mundane no longer has the power to steal from me while I pour my energy into what really matters to me.

Where are you spending energy making mundane decisions? How can you better systematize these mundane decisions? What can you make more reflex based than decision based so you can focus on what really matters?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Easy as...1...2...3

Shoulders back, head up, and a soft smile.

It has been amazing to see how much it changes my life to walk around with my shoulders back, head up, and a soft smile.

My shoulders being back, does not jut chest out like an arrogant pride-man.

My head being up keeps it out of my phone and focused on the people and objects around me.

My smile is not an intense smile like I won the lottery. That smile would be a lie.

That smile would be a lie.

My shoulders are back, where they should be. My head is up, like an adult. My smile is gentle, as if to say, “I am ok and so are you.”

The more I focus on doing these three things as I walk around, the brighter each day is and the happier the people I cross paths with seem to be.

Every time you get up from your chair, give it a try. Roll your shoulders back. Give a gentle exhale and let the tension out. Pick your chin up off your chest. You have a neck for a reason, let it show. Curl the edges of your mouth upwards, smile because you can. The world needs your smile.

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Death & Taxes

Two guarantees in life.

Death & Taxes

Unless you are Santa Claus.

I mean, I have not heard of Santa’s elves filling out any 1099’s for their consulting. Filing any injury reports for elves who hurt themselves on the job. Or maybe there is an underperforming elf and, the organization decides to make a change and performance manage the poor little elf into a new life role outside of the Santa’s Workshop™.

What would you tax him on? Assuming he does not have an income and his toys are made from naturally occurring products at the North Pole, do we tax him on his gift output and assume he is interrupting the market because he is providing a free service on products that other companies charge for?

Or is Santa financed by playing the market and we should tax the capital gains of his investment portfolio and he uses the proceeds from his investment portfolio to finance Santa’s Workshop™.

How about death? Does Santa live forever?

This is a thought experiment, applying the mundane to the fantasy. What else can you experiment with today?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Self Acceptance

Every day I wake up in the same set of skin and bones I was born with. I can change and develop who I am through work, both intentional and unintentional. But at the end of the day, I am always me.

One of the the many jobs I have is to appreciate me for who I am. In a reasonable way, be comfortable in the set of skin and bones I have. Accepting me for who I am, not over accentuating my flaws and strengths.

I know I can find the right point of appreciating myself for who I am. Not too confident and not too self-deprecating.

Not too many puns.

Not too nerdy.

Not too quiet.

Not too self conscience.

When I reach that point, what happens next?

I know I will reach the island of Perfect Self Acceptance. But what happens when it starts raining on my island? Or worse, I run out of food.

When I get to my Island, am I ready for the negative comment I hear, meant as a friendly joke? Am I prepared to let it roll off my back?

I know proper self acceptance is possible, but am I preparing for the next step of keeping healthy perspective on myself despite (un)expected negative circumstances?

What does your island of self acceptance look like? Are you ready for what it takes to maintain life on your island in the face of (un)expected negative circumstances?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Classified

Meyers Briggs. Race. Gender. Marital Status. Political Affiliation. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Height. Weight. Body Type. Face Shape.

We do not lack for different ways to classify ourselves and each other. I would say I have barely scratched the surface really. These are the few things that came to mind for me off the top of my head.

Having so many different ways to be different and to assess and classify each other. We have tests for everything. Moreover we have plenty of different ways to put a context around who we all are. And yet, I still barely feel like I understand myself, much less anyone else understands me.

The reality is, I do not need more ways to classify myself and others. I need to see other people for who they are and meet them where they are at.

I need to talk with people.

I do not need to talk with a classification.

Addressing the person I am talking with on Twitter as a person, not a classification.

What classifications do you naturally jump to? How can you better address the person you are talking to? Who can help you see people as people and help you catch yourself before you launch into that Facebook tirade?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Right Weather

When Space X goes to launch a rocket, they have to wait for the right weather. Too windy, and the mission is pushed off until the next forecasted opportunity. Too much rain or too overcast, rescheduled.

There are a variety of reasons one of their launch dates for rockets headed to space will get scrapped. After all, they have to be careful. One of those things tips over or launches wrong, all of a sudden peoples’ lives are at risk. Not just a few people, probably a lot of people.

Can you imagine that much rocket fuel igniting all at once?

I am sure the reason you have not started your next project is equally as difficult. You need the right weather. Probably need better work conditions before you can start that next project at work. The house, garage, yard, and car all need to be cleaned before you can start the side project you have been dreaming about.

Definitely keep rescheduling, I mean you did not start publishing on YouTube five years ago, so you are behind anyways. You did not start writing your blog or book or short story when you first had the idea, you might as well put it off again.

Right.jpg

Then again, if you started today, who knows where you will be in five years. The house, garage, yard, and car will all need to be cleaned no matter what. Why not do something you are excited about now and work on that stuff when you are tired. If you wait, you will be too tired anyways.

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Down and Dirty

Down.jpg

My closest friends are the people who are people who are covered in the same crap I am.

When I am down in the dumps, they get right down there with me and join me in it. Whether I am covered in mud, grease, dirt, manure, blood, sweat, or tears. They join me in the crap I am in and they are on my level.

This is how I know they are my friends, they are covered in the same thing I am.

It is hard to judge or feel judged when you are covered in the same crap the person next to you is covered in. But when someone stands at the top of a chasm tossing down a rope to a me and says, “Climb out.” It is hard to feel like they are my friend. It feels more like they want to be my savior.

Who are your friends covered in the same crap you are? Who are you getting dirty with when they are in the middle of their crap?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Accessibility Settings

Apple continually works to make their products more accessible to more and more people who would not normally be able to access their products. One way they have done so is their accessibility settings.

These settings can do a ton of different things from reading the screen to you if you are visually impaired or give you a button to perform commonly used functions or commands. You can even hook the iPhone up to hearing aids, zoom the screen/magnify or just plain make the text larger and/or bolder, to name a few.

These amazing settings make the phone easier to use for people who want to use a smartphone but they might need additional consideration.

AccessibilitySettings.png

In contrast, getting ahold of a company when I need product support, is almost impossible. For instance I was trying to call my cell phone provider recently and it took me multiple attempts and waiting on hold for a representative because they were experiencing ‘longer than normal wait times due to an increased volume of calls.’ Of course, I can give them my phone number and they will call me back later. And of course when they call later, I am in the middle of something and physically unable of answering my phone.

I am now left to call back again and wait. This time spending more time on hold and waiting for a representative despite the ‘longer than normal wait times due to an increase volume of calls’ ... again.

Which way have you positioned yourself? Are you more accessible or less accessible? Are you trying to find better ways for your customers and friends to be able to work and engage with you? Do you push your business and office to be more accessible to your customers?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Referee For Dummies

In listening to the podcast Men In Blazers where they interview Mark Clattenburg , arguably one of the best referee’s to ever ref the game of football (soccer.)

In his interview, Mark discussed with Rog his methods for being a great referee. The most striking method he mentioned is how he would watch team’s game tape in order to gain insights into their strategies. He would watch to see how they would position themselves and break the rules behind the back of the referees.

Watching game tape, he would watch to see not only the calls made by the ref’s in the game but also the calls they missed because they did not have eyes in the back of their heads. Mark was not there to watch his colleagues’ backs and cover them as the players broke the rule, but he could prepare for the players to do the same thing to him.

As we go to work each day, who covers your back? Who is watching out for you when you are not looking at work? Who is covering the things you cannot?

PS: Do these people know how much you need them? Do these people know what it means to you and the organization to have them covering your blind spots?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Judas

Judas. In a lot of ways, he is synonymous with Brutus betraying Caesar and Benedict Arnold betraying colonial America. Judas betrayed Jesus according to four of the four gospels. Throughout my growing up years, Judas was always, "...the one who betrayed him." (Matt 10:4b). I don’t know that I have ever heard a positive word about Judas. Everything I heard about, was always about how evil he was.

In general, the Bible has very limited references to Judas Iscariot, about twenty or so. And the majority of them are references to how he betrayed Jesus, him in the act of betraying Jesus, or Jesus’ affirmation that he would betray Jesus. The author’s of the gospels did not give spend much time discussing Judas as a person. They did give us a few hints into Judas though, they gave us some real bread crumbs to understand him and they had a pretty strong understanding of Judas’ actions to then also vilify him throughout the gospels.

Not everyone vilified him. The gnostics glorified him as a great man to be idolized because he triggered the process for Jesus to be killed.  The reality is, Jesus couldn’t have risen from the dead without dying. So, yeah, they weren’t far off, but the betrayal part still gets in the way. Western culture has a hard time with betrayal, for reference Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning (no relation.) We don’t deal well with betrayal. We tend to hold a strong grudge for a long time.

Then again, the _Gospel of Judas_ is a recently discovered and hotly contested document discussing the virtues of Judas and the secret teachings between Judas and Jesus. Given the gospel being dated to approximately 220, at the most liberal earliest assessment, I think it is safe to say it was written much later as a document to support the gnostic traditions and falls down in giving us any perspective on who Judas actually was.

We do know Judas was a zealot for one. One of those guys who were passionate! One of the guys from Galilee who would gladly kill a Roman centurion given the chance. The Romans were a blight to the zealots. We are able to deduce his roots from his last name, Iscariot, being sourced from the Galilee specifically, his last name potentially joins him to be a part of some of the most passionate and violent zealots. Jesus was in the Galilee when he called Judas, and the Galilee is mostly populated by Pharisees (pious individuals passionate about following the letter of the law.) and other zealots like Judas.

After being a zealot disciple, Judas was also the money manager for the group. Which is odd. Why wasn’t Matthew? Matthew was a tax collector. He was pretty experienced with money. You think they would put the money guy in charge of the money. What do you think his relationship with Matthew was like? He being a zealot and Matthew having sold out to the Roman authority to collect taxes, (which was a shady way to live because Matthew being a Jew had to force other Jews to give him more money than the government asked for. He took the extra money from the people to pay for his own food, travel, lodging, his house payment, maybe his boat payment, and a little extra for that condo he was saving up for on the coast in Herodium.)

 The Betrayal of Jesus, Giotto di Bondone, 1304

The Betrayal of Jesus, Giotto di Bondone, 1304

Then there is James and John, the "Sons of Thunder" (Matt 5.) You would think having a nickname like that, they would probably be some sort of zealot too. I mean, "Sons of Thunder" don’t really give me a vision of peaceful, gentle, understanding people. Or Simon, who was eventually renamed Peter. How do you think these three were with Judas? They were all in the same vicinity of the Galilee. They were all from the same area. Would Jesus’ inner circle get along with Judas Iscariot the money managing hyper-zealot? Simon-Peter eventually cuts off the ear of a temple servant. Maybe Simon-Peter and Judas were actually buddy-buddy. We have no way of knowing for sure, but they both seem pretty zealous.

 How about Thomas, Andrew, Phillip, Bartholomew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus. These guys all have very Greek names. The kind of names you might be given after your Jewish parents decide to  adopt some of the ways of Roman culture. They might give you a Roman name. They still give to the temple and take care of the poor. They are also probably hanging out around bath houses. Giving aid and lodging to Roman soldiers. They are a little too comfortable. How do you think a Zealot might interact with those guys? The zealot who is bent on purging the promised land of the Romans. And these people accept Roman names from their parents. Their parents also have adopted the Roman culture enought to name their children Roman names.
 
 Our last disciple is Simon the Zealot. Now, there is a name of a guy Judas can get along with. Another zealot friend. Not a faux zealot friend. A zealot proper. Simon. The Zealot. Do you think Simon and Judas were sitting around the camp fire listening to Jesus and nudging each other with ideas on how they might maim a centurion? Were they chatting about the pious Pharisees and how they are too focused on following the letter of the law not focused enough on taking out the Romans and the mafioso Sadducees. Maybe Simon-Peter might’ve been trying to tone them down or would he join in?
 
Any way we slice this apple, Judas was still selected to be one of the twelve. He was there at the  commissioning of the 12 when Jesus empowered them in Matthew 10.
    "And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him."
Afterward, Jesus even told them to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay."

Judas was called to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons.

How about that for perspective? The guy was given every empowerment and teaching all the other disciples were given. Besides this moment, we have very little about Judas outside of the last supper and Judas’ actions thereafter.

At the last supper, eating and passing the bread and after drinking and passing the cup, according to John 13,  Jesus is troubled and tells the disciples one of them would betray him. And they all have the same reaction, "NO! Who?"  And Jesus replies telling them he is going to dip and hand the morsels of bread in his hand to his betrayer. Then Jesus hands it to Judas, and Satan entered into Judas.

Next thing, everyone assumes, oh, Judas. Yeah, he needs to buy us more food/donate food to the poor. Good ole Judas.

But wait a second.

Why are we ok with Satan entering into Judas?

Satan is, *literally* the worst.

Why do we gloss over it?

Also, why would John say that? I mean, Judas betrayed Jesus. Satan didn’t betray Jesus. Do you think John meant anything by it? It is a pretty weird comment. I don’t usually see people being possessed by Satan in the Bible. There were plenty of demons possessions, but not many Satan possessions in the gospels.

Do you think Satan entering into Judas is anything like that one time when Satan entered into David? You know, in 1 Chronicles 21 when Satan enters into David and incites him to perform a census of all Israel after God specifically told him not to. So because David performed the census anyways, God then sends an angel with a plague across Israel and a lot of people die. Then David knowing the angel’s  heads into the angel’s path, buys a field, and makes sacrifices to the Lord.

Which is all pretty weird when we get right down to it. Because there is also 2 Samuel 24. A telling of the same story. 2 Chronicles is a telling of the same story looking back on history. 2 Samuel is a telling of the story as it happened. And 2 Samuel 24 says the Lord was mad at Israel and **HE** told David to do a census. And after the census, the Lord sent a plague on the people.

Both of these tellings of this story end in David buying a field and then making sacrifices in the field to atone for sins. Eventually, this site becomes the site of the Jewish Temple at the time of Jesus and today it is the site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Either way, David buys a field from a man to save the nation of Israel and then makes sacrifices in the field for the purpose of staying the plague that was sweeping through the land. Very much like the money given to Judas was returned to the temple because he decided what he had done was wrong and it was blood money. But the priests in the temple couldn’t add it to the treasury because they agreed it was blood money. So instead, they used it to buy a field.

Judas gave the money back to the priests saying it was blood money (Matthew 27). Judas specifically says he had shed "innocent blood." As a good Jewish boy, he would’ve memorized the first five books of the Bible. I would guess, as a zealot, he would’ve had a particular focus on verses having to do with shedding blood or innocent blood. Afterall, the Romans had spilled quite a bit of innocent Jewish blood.

"... but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.” Deuteronomy 19:27.

I am guessing Judas might’be really appreciated this verse. It allowed him to seek vengeance against the Romans. Might it also have led him hang himself?

Killing himself with this law in mind would mean he followed the letter of the law even into death. He paid for his guilt of innocent blood. He couldn’t go home, he had sent another Jew to be crucified by the Romans **AND** he collaborated with the High Priests who had sold out to the Roman oppressors. Oh, and he collaborated with the Sadducee High Priests. A zealot, sworn enemy of those who would sell the promised land to the Romans and oppress the Jews, collaborated with the very people who he hated most.

Judas turned away from the last three years he spent with Jesus and the every year before that where he was raised as a zealot child!

Even though we have no record of Judas’ intentions or his commentary on his own life. He seems like he returned to his convictions. He carried out the letter of the law despite the cost of his own life. I do not argue he was a moral giant in his life. He sold out his family, friends, the disciples, and Jesus. But I do think we need to recognize him returning to his convictions even after his mistakes. He didn’t die a traitor. He returned to his roots and carried out the letter of the law on himself despite the Sadducees turning him away knowing the same scriptures Judas had memorized.

I can think of other people in my own life whom I have known and not given the benefit of the doubt because of preconceived notions formed from other people’s opinions much like I developed my opinion of Judas based on the opinions other people shared with me. I can think of other people who I have been disappointed or hurt by and then tainted other people’s relationships because of my hurt. I too am no moral giant.

Judas made mistakes. He betrayed the people he had spent years with and sold out Jesus. Judas is also dead. We can’t talk to him to find out what he was thinking or ask him about his reasoning. We can talk to the people we know that live around us and get to know them. Find out why they would do things that hurt or annoy us. We can repair relationships with people who have much less nobler reasons than Judas to do what they do and treat them like God’s prized possession before we demonize them like Judas and write them off to be vilified by history.

Who do you know that you are assuming the worst in? Who can you get to know so you might forgive them for past hurts? Who are the Sadducees and Romans in your life that are selling your promised land? Who sits on the other side of aisle from you that is trying to degrade your homeland? Who is too zealous for the wrong things? What are the things you are too passionate for, dare we say too _zealous_ for?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Do or Do Not

DO.jpg

“I, I don’t believe it.”

“That is why you fail.”

The scene quoted above is between Luke Skywalker and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda levitates Luke’s X-Wing out of the swamp it sank into and that is the exchange following Yoda gently setting it on the ground of the swamp.

Moments before, Luke had tried the same feat. He had that strained look of angst on his face as he tried to levitate this massive spacecraft out of the quicksand like bog it was mostly submerged in.

Luke’s success was limited by his belief in himself.

Now, I am not advocating we all go out and try to levitate our cars using the mind power we have in our heads from the mystical force.

How often is it that you do not try something because you believe it will fail before you try or start? Or worse, you give it a half try and call it, ‘good enough’? What are you not trying because you are afraid? What are the little thing you are not trying because of fear? What are the big things you need help to do that you are not trying?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon