Why Did God Allow This to Happen?

The “this” part doesn’t much matter. For us, it’s a stillborn child. For others, something else. And there are not easy answers. Or they aren’t as easy and as simple as I want them to be. But I am drawn to Piper’s words after he had a stillborn granddaughter.

This seems so preventable. By God and by man. Yes. So easy. But neither man nor God prevented this. Man, because he did not know it was happening. God, because he has his wise and loving reasons that we wait to learn with tears and trust.

And these words in Ephesians.

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:11)

The counsel of his will. 

A thing I will never understand, nor should I be able to. I didn’t want my daughter to die, but I know that God is for his own glory more than he is for my own plans. He has received a lot of glory because of her death, and though that’s a deep angst in my heart, I do understand it. And I am for it too.

On homeschooling and the future

It wasn’t totally my experience with homeschooling but I still enjoyed this article on the future and homeschooling and the future of homeschooling.

“I’m feeling like something is brewing right now. The cost of starting a company has gone down because there are online tools you can use for free. I can see that happening with school. So much of that stuff is just up for grabs.”


My concern, I suppose, is whether it’s wise to say “I know this isn’t best for all of society but it’s best for me so I’m going to do it.” That feels self-centered. Or maybe it is best for all of society.

Why you should have goals

Not that it needs much logical pushing but here’s a reason I recently came up with for why you should set and strive to achieve goals.

If you believe that having goals that you strive for makes you more productive and effective than not having goals (and you shouldand if you believe what the Bible says about being effective with our time (Romans 14:12) (Philippians 3:14) then you should make goals.

A dedication to not skipping good content because of time

One of my least-favorite qualities about the way I consume information and subsequently blog about it is my slavishness to recently-written content.

As if something that was written a week ago is less desirable as a piece of content than something that was written an hour ago.

One blogger I’ve seen consume what he wants to consume regardless of its (or his) position in time is Tim Challies. I’ll see articles linked on his blog that I read about on Twitter a month ago.

That’s a fine thing and one I need to adhere to more as a blogger — we should be reading what we want to read, things that change us, not based on when these things were published but based on how good they are.

Why you read (the Bible)

Here’s why to read the Bible. Or anything, really.

The heart is hard, and the memory is slippery, and without meditation all is lost. (Gospel Coalition)

I’ve been ruminating about why I read books or longform pieces or articles or anything I lay my eyes on and I think this is a really good reason for it.

There are others, surely, but this might be one of the best I’ve ever seen.

The heart of Serial

This really struck a chord with me about Serial:

The real question at the heart of Serial, it turns out, was not “Who killed Hae Min Lee?” It was something more banal, more universal: How do we make decisions, particularly decisions about whom to trust? (Vox)

You can probably add “is it possible to really understand what makes a human being tick IF you spend enough time with them” to that (now) two-question list as well.

One thing Bill Simmons nailed in his career

Via CapitalNewYork.com

Via CapitalNewYork.com

I’m a homer, I have to admit. Everyone is, though. Whether you admit it or not everyone is biased (at least a tiny amount) towards one thing or another. It’s inevitable because we’re, you know, human.

So yeah, I’m biased towards Bill Simmons because without his side door entrance into sportswriting I’m not sure I would have fallen in love with it like I did and have the job(s) I have now.

With that out of the way I’d like to address the fact that you don’t have to look very far really ever to find criticism of Grantland’s editor-in-chief. It’s pervasive.

I saw this on Thursday.

That’s fine and probably fair. Simmons isn’t the best writer or the best analyst or the best anything other than the best at riding the right wave at the exact right time for an audience who would have followed someone both 100 percent better than him and probably 50 percent worse. He’s definitely the best at that.

Here’s what I love at Simmons, though — he gets that he’s not the best writer or thinker or analyst around. But he takes it a step further. He gets it and his ego is in check enough (I’m not saying it’s in check in full, just enough) to hire folks who 100 percent of people would say are smarter and better at writing and analyzing than him.

That’s a difficult spot and one he doesn’t get enough credit for.

When you go out and hire Zach Lowe, Brian Phillips, and Bill Barnwell to upstage you on the most culturally hip website this side of the invention of the Internet, that’s impressive both because he knows he’s going to get upstaged and because he’s okay with it.

For all the critiques of Simmons I’ve rarely seen him get the (deserved) accolades he gets for consistently doing this.

John Wooden once said “whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” I’m all in on that quote and it would appear Simmons is too.

Newsletters and maintaining shippability

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 3.08.10 PM

I started a newsletter for my Oklahoma State sports blog. I’ve never really believed in newsletters — I always thought they were a little trashy. Not trashy in a Miley Cyrus kind of way but trashy in a “I’m just going to send that straight to my digital wastebasket” kind of way.

I’ve legitimately enjoyed writing this one though. It feels like a secret society of sorts. I can send these superfans (of my blog or me or OSU or whatever they’re superfans of) some behind-the-scenes thoughts and idea. Extra links. Goodies. The best stuff.

It’s something I’ve come to look forward to.

Which is why it terrifies me.

Because I produce a lot of content for the web daily I don’t often think about it being high quality. That’s the conundrum, right? Somebody who writes one thing a month for one outlet pores over the quality and obsesses over the syntax.

I don’t have that luxury, but I do have to maintain shippability — a level at which folks will keep coming back for more even if “more” is mostly driven by the topic they’re interested in and not necessarily by my writing.

The folks I read consistently are the ones who surprise me and make me laugh and are interested (not necessarily interesting). Maybe they aren’t elite writers but they’re certainly elite shippers and elite guiders.

They navigate the web expertly and don’t take days off in their work. I feel that once you establish a level of excellence in whatever it is you do online it only takes one time of mailing it in for folks to bail on you. Of course you’ll have duds — but they should be because you miscalculated something and not because you didn’t give great effort.

That’s the terrifying part but it’s also the encouraging part because you know the bar you have to clear on a daily basis.

It’s also the fun part. If you like the grind.

We’re going to have to trust aggregators

One of my primary frustrations with reading and writing for a living is that I am unable to read everything I want to read.

Granted, “everything I want to read” is pretty close to everything that exists and last time I checked I was constrained by time as much as the next guy, but still.

I’ve written before that one of the best attributes a writer (or anyone in the entertainment industry) can obtain is the ability to sort.

Sort through the longform stories you want to read, podcasts you want to listen to, and blogs you want to browse. If you aren’t good at it you can potentially spend more time sorting than you do consuming which is a bad spot to be in — your ledger isn’t looking too hot at that point.

I realized today as I signed up for yet another TinyLetter that at some point I’m going to have to stop sorting (maybe I’m already there) and just trust the aggregators of things I choose to put interesting content in front of me.

At some point it becomes about picking good aggregators of material on the front end so that the back end is fruitful.

One of my friends is going to Mexico next week and he said to me the other day “I want books from you. Give them to me.” I am his aggregator of interesting material — he doesn’t search for stuff because he trusts me to provide it for him.

I need about 10 of those folks I trust innately to do that for me. And in exchange I think I can do it for about 1,000 others.

That’s some math I can get behind.