The World’s Almost* Best Advice on the Rest of Your Life. No kidding.

Welcome to in this, the official launch week of my Faith and Culture: Live wisely │Love well website. Here you’ll find original weekly posts from a Christian worldview on any topic that helps us  thrive in today’s culture with a confident faith. I also scatter jewels of resources you may not find in Facebook memes.

axstj-successdsc_0808-1013-6142This week’s diamond is the June 2015 Dartmouth University Commencement address from my favorite comic sociologist and New York Times op-ed writer, David Brooks.

You’ll want to invite every 20-30 something you know to listen. You’ll glean great insight into the secrets of success and course corrections for your road ahead. Here’s a Fb Timeline-worthy Ivy Leage speech for all our friends that makes the extraordinary case, with wry humor and standing on reams of research, that what we really need is…steadfast love.

Not just Taylor-Swift good feelings, but love that sends down roots of commitment.  And the moral character that can keep it. The path to exploring your freedom and keeping your options endlessly open is “a path to a frazzled, scattered life in which you try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one.”

You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave. Success leads to the greatest failure, which is arrogance and pride. Failure can lead to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.

In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself. Your calling is not found by looking inside you for your passion. People have studied this. Eighty percent of you don’t have a passion. It’s found by looking outward, by being sensitive to a void and need, and then answering the chance to be of use…

And that has been my desire for years…to be of use to help others understand the times and thrive in the tension between today’s culture and living with a vibrant, joyful faith. To mix deep thinking, humor and the beauty of the gospel. Not just so we can answer  big questions in life, but so we can pull truth close to the heart and by faith make steadfast commitments to God and the people we want to love well.

To that end I’ve been loading content for months…but at some point you have to pull the trigger and launch. Invite everyone you know. And this week is that week. This blog is my all-year-long valentine to you. The big idea is plastered over the coffee cup up and to the right.

For an overview of what may be helpful to you,  check out “You know you’ll like this site if…” on my Get Started page. I hope it describes you. Also  the list of recent posts to the right. If you like what you see sign up for my free eBooklet Take iControl: 10 Strategies for less stress and distraction, more of what matters to you. (also right)

And share this diamond post with the social media buttons above. Invite others to drop by here on their way to the rest of Brooks’ humor and wisdom. I’d love to say “Hi” and invite them to look around.

[bctt tweet=”Faith & Culture website launches today! Free book Take iControl” via=”no”]

Now on to Mr. Brooks from the top (a bit long, but worth every word)…

Graduates, I congratulate you. I feel like I know you. To get into a place like Dartmouth, you had to spend your high school years starting four companies; curing two formerly fatal diseases; and participating in three obscure sports, like fencing, planking, and snow volleyball.

Since you got into Dartmouth, you spent one spring break unicycling across Thailand while reading to lepers. You spent another exciting summer interning at a congressional office in Washington, providing your boss with policy advice and sexual tension. You tell your friends you like Kendrick Lamar, but secretly you like Jason Mraz.

Read more

*extra-biblical; Brooks points straight to the message of the Bible…the greatest commandment, to love God; love others. But God has designed a world where we need him to really do it. How else do we expose our weaknesses in vulnerability? Forgive when we’ve been deeply wounded and all the other things Brooks says we must learn? It’s beyond learning, I think. But not beyond receiving as a gift from the One who is always pursuing us to believe and receive his everlasting love and life.

I would love to hear your response to this…please leave a comment below…He doesn’t mention Jesus, but the gospel holds the key to all these most important needs, no? How else can we keep our commitments or find grace when we fail?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “The World’s Almost* Best Advice on the Rest of Your Life. No kidding.

  1. Fantastic and funny! Love the thoughts on vocation. I’m still sorting that out in my 60’s. Thanks, Lael. And congrats on the launch. (I hope to catch up with you one of these days.)

  2. Lael, Words of wisdom for any age and a timeless message of love and commitment! Blessings for your new venture as you share. I look forward to hearing from you again. Blessings, Shelly

  3. Congratulations on your launch! I celebrate with you. Well done my friend.

    And I seriously loved Brooks’ speech. Insanely so. Thanks again for leading me to rich stuff.

    • Rich stuff indeed. Cindy McDowell said on Facebook, “OK, I cried…” It reaches deep. Such beautiful language, images and craft.

  4. Thanks for the great read Lael. I rarely get a second to sit down and read an article. As I began reading I thought I should be doing the dishes right now, but now I am glad I chose to read your blog.
    I have never felt more free, joyful and comforted in my commitments to God, my husband and family.
    Aaron and I said that we have 2 things that we want to teach our children: to Love God and love our neighbors and everything else falls under that.
    Thanks for the affirming article that we can easily apply to our commitment to God.