On How to Write a Lede

I’m bad at ledes. Really bad, probably. That’s why I loved this advice from Grant Wahl on the recent Longform podcast. Wahl stole it from a writer and literary professor at Princeton named John McPhee.

“Write a lede section first. In going back through McPhee’s notes it was interesting because his whole thing was your lede should shine a light through the rest of the story which I thought was a cool turn of phrase.”

I like the way that sounds. It also helps provide purpose to the ledes I writer (which I feel are often purposeless). I don’t know that it will stick in the long run, but I’ve certainly been using it since I listened to that podcast.

The Best Reason To Run a Company Before College

There are innumerable reasons this idea of making your kids start a business before they start college is a great one, but one stood out to me. This Ray Sheen fellow made his two daughters start companies before college for a particular reason.

Perhaps most importantly, we thought it would help them figure out the perennial question — What do I want to do with my life? — before they had to choose the right college and declare a major.

The most valuable thing they gained, they now tell me, is the opportunity to figure out what they wanted to do. They got to try every aspect of running a business and see what they enjoyed.

I’ve always found it silly that we head into college without a clue as to how the world actually works outside of scoring in the high double digits on a piece of paper with questions on it. This solution, while mildly inconvenient and probably costly, is a great one.

The Two Best Parts From The Fault in Our Stars

I read The Fault in Our Stars over the weekend. It was really good. It had much better writing than I expected. I’m all in on John Green. Here were my two favorite clips, both dealt with pain and suffering which I suppose I’m dealing with right now.

And then he broke down, just for one moment, his sob roaring impotent like a clap of thunder unaccompanied by lightning, the terrible ferocity that amateurs in the field of suffering might mistake for weakness.

That’s just beautiful. This maybe even more so.

I missed the future. Obviously I knew even before his recurrence that I’d never grow old with Augustus Waters. But think about Lidewij and her boyfriend, I felt robbed.

I would probably never again see the ocean from thirty thousand feet above, so far up that you can’t make out the waves or any boats, so that the ocean is a great and endless monolith. I could imagine it. I could remember it. But I couldn’t see it again, and it never occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.

A Reason to Procrastinate

I have never thought of procrastination positively. Mostly because it has never been presented that way. I’m not sure I completely agree with this New York Times article on why you should procrastinate, but it at least got me thinking differently about it. Here’s Adam Grant:

Our first ideas, after all, are usually our most conventional. My senior thesis in college ended up replicating a bunch of existing ideas instead of introducing new ones. When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns. Nearly a century ago, the psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that people had a better memory for incomplete tasks than for complete ones. When we finish a project, we file it away. But when it’s in limbo, it stays active in our minds.

That’s true, but it also clutters the mind. I can’t properly operate with a mind that’s too cluttered. This next part is the piece I’ll probably take with me. To let bigger projects linger a little bit (not a lot) so that I’m able to connect other ideas and thoughts to them to strengthen their foundation.

What I discovered was that in every creative project, there are moments that require thinking more laterally and, yes, more slowly. My natural need to finish early was a way of shutting down complicating thoughts that sent me whirling in new directions. I was avoiding the pain of divergent thinking — but I was also missing out on its rewards.

The other thing I discovered while reading this article is that this site is brilliant.

[New York Times]

Why Does God Not Save All?

I was reading Follow Me by David Platt, and he was talking about the initiation of God’s saving grace towards us as a juxtaposition to the idea most of us grew up with. That is, that we “got God” by asking him into our hearts.

The idea that spills out of this one is of course why God doesn’t save everyone if salvation is His alone. And it’s this idea that has, as Tony Reinke once wrote, confounded minds much greater than mine in historical Christianity.

But how these two biblical truths (that seem to contradict) actually relate, has perplexed theologians and inquiring Christian minds for many centuries, sparking vigorous debates and (more recently) fiery comment threads on Facebook.

John Piper points to Romans 9:22-23 in his book on whether God desires all to be saved.

“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—.” (Romans 9:22-23)

I’m not sure if this makes me feel better about things, but it does provide an answer of sorts. Piper takes it further in this question on whether the Bible contradicts itself when it comes to God’s partiality.

So God’s choice is based on his own hidden wisdom (Ephesians 1:11). God works all things according to the counsel of his will, the counsel of his will. He does not base his choices in irrelevant considerations. He is free to choose whomever he will and his reasons are never owing to our goodness. How could they be? We are all sinners deserving of death. Yet he chooses freely to save some.

And the very meaning of grace in Romans 11:5, the very meaning of grace is that the reason he chooses us is not in ourselves. It is not in our own virtue or our own sinfulness. It is in his counsel and he is wise in all that he does because he is guided by the highest considerations. And what is that consideration? Well, it was hinted at in that text we reads from 1 Corinthians one. What choices will humble sinful men? What choices will keep men from boasting in themselves? And what choices will bring people to praise the glory of the grace of God?

It feels like the answer I always arrive at with this question is, “nobody knows” because all of these decisions God makes are based on the consel of his will.

Keller On Growth Through Suffering

I’m probably going be quoting a lot of Keller’s Walking Through Pain and Suffering in the near future. In turn, you’re going to be hearing a lot from Martin Luther because Keller draws from him quite often. This is on suffering like Christ suffered.

“‘Suffering produces growth in us only when we understand Christ’s suffering and work on our behalf. Luther taught, “Christians cannot suffer with Christ’ — that is, they cannot imitate his patience and love under pressure — ‘before they have embraced the full benefits of Christ’s suffering for them’ in their place.”