Saving Private Ryan is a movie that begins and ends with a cemetery scene. The point of the movie is that sacrificing one’s life for another matters because life matters. Private Ryan is more conscious of this than most because the gift of his life was so explicitly highlighted by the sacrifices of others.
What is essential for a good life?
I am alive. I do not automatically know all that means. Regardless, it is THE constant reality I face. It provokes me to pursue 3 questions:
- Am I living a good life?
- Am I a good person?
- How can I know if I am a good person living a good life?
The first question is about doing/productivity. The second question is about being/identity. The third question is about thinking/reality. The integration of these three spheres of life questions is where wisdom and success should be found.
Doing – Am I living a good life?
This concerns how we use our time, energy and resources. All sorts of questions radiate from this.
- What do I do that matters?
- Am I meaningfully productive?
- Should I do this or that or something else?
What are other questions you ask in relation to “doing”?
Being – Am I a good person?
This concerns questions related to identity.
- Where do I belong?
- Who do I consider “us”?
- What is essential to being “me”?
- Where are my allegiances?
What are other questions you ask in relation to “being”?
Thinking – How do I know what is true?
This includes questions of what believe, how we come to believe it, and how we try to work out the implications.
- Is “truth” knowable? Completely, partially or not at all?
- How do I know what to include in my thinking?
- Who can I trust to help me figure out truth?
- How do different ideas impact each other?
What other questions do you ask about Thinking?
Focusing on Essentials First
I believe that these 3 questions guide wise living. I have a relatively limited list of answers which I believe are essential in how I live my life. The more aware I am of these questions and answers, the better equipped I am to live my own life and the more available I can be to help others who are trying to improve their lives.
My goal over the next couple of months is to work with a small group of young men to articulate these ideas in a way that is true to the ideals but also real and accessible to others like them. Their primary context is urban, professional Houstonians. We will seek to be disciples/apprentices growing in clarity and confidence about the essentials such that we can repeat the process in the lives of others. Apprentices who make apprentices, immersed in God, following the way of Jesus by the power and presence of Jesus is after all the Great Commission. That seems like a good place to focus.
(originally published Mar 29, 2015)