Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Come and See

My wife recently returned home from an extended weekend in Salt Lake and brought back with her a packet prepared by the Relief Society designed to be used as a study guide over 40 days. The theme of the packet is "A Journey with Christ" and it guides the reader basically through the New Testament. We decided to go through this as a couple and we had our first session tonight.

In it, there's a talk from Ezra Taft Benson with this rather profound quote:

"We are meeting the adversary every day. The challenges of this ear will rival any of the past, and these challenges will increase both spiritually and temporally. We must be close to Christ, we must daily take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments."

When I read the word "challenges", my radar picked up because for me that word has some depth. Let me explain. If you didn't know, I currently work in the software industry, and one of the constant themes as I talk with my colleagues at work is the need to seek new "challenges" and opportunities to grow. We want interesting "problems" to solve. Engineering is fundamentally a career where you seek out problems and find new cool and exciting ways to solve them. We want to solve puzzles essentially, we want to get better, we want to hone our craft.

So, when I see the word challenge, it triggers something positive in me where others might see a negative. I feel compelled to offer an alternative interpretation of this passage different from the more common default one.

In so many ways, the world has shifted drastically. It used to be that we could be content finding a factory job working with the same company for thirty years, retire with a pension and be taking care of all of our lives. Most of the time, these jobs were somewhat deadend, with few opportunities to really grow, but we had security. That world, for many reasons is gone.

Instead, we have many, many more opportunities. For a programmer in between jobs, they can now bid for work over the intenert. Not to mention the many, many businesses being run out of someone's home using ebay, amazon, or etsy.

I'm not saying any of this is easy. It's a harder world, it requires a certain amount of fearlessness and engagement that they don't teach you in school. But it's also a more exciting world, a more empowering world, and yes, a more challenging world.

I love Seth Godin's blog because in it, he acts like a cheerleader encouraging you to embrace this new reality. I'm a Mormon. I'm a software developer. We home school. And of course, I love politics. I strive to remain a political independent, but I find I have most in common with those on the left side of the political spectrum, at least for now. On this blog you'll find mostly political posts, but a variety of other stuff as well. Thanks for coming.