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God, Ideas, stuckness, Travel

“sinking staleness”

I’m sitting at Panera, drinking hazelnut coffee in my new travel mug, trying to catch up on the last 5 days of emails.

It’s been a long time since I wrote something on this blog and it hasn’t been for lack of desire. It’s more so been for lack of ideas and inspiration. I’ve clung to the phrase “sinking staleness” (from Laura Winner’s Girl Meets God) as the best description for what I’ve been feeling as of late.

Fortunately (and hopefully) the last 5 days will reinvigorate me :: I left for NYC on Wednesday and spent all day Thursday exploring an incredibly vibrant and crowded city I had never before visited. I was one of fifty or so people at a special seminar lead by Seth Godin on Friday. I flew home to Chicago and drove directly to hear NT Wright speak on the historic Jesus on Friday night. Saturday, the Wheaton Theology Conference continued, and I spent the day listening to prominent theologians unpack and debate Wright’s ideas of Kingdom, covenant, Israel, and community surrounded by some of the people I admire, respect, and enjoy most in my life.

Needless to say I’m tired and excited and anxious to figure out exactly what I heard and how it will change me. I’ll write more soon, but for now, here are some of the notes I have collected over the last few days:

From Godin:

– We live in fear of hearing: “You’re not as good as you think you are.”

– Either you break rules or you follow rules. You can’t do both.

– The opportunity as a teacher is in changing the way you see the world…that’s your job!

– Anxiety is repeating failure in advance.

– Nothing succeeds like success. You can’t average your way to success.

– What are the interesting problems in life that you want to solve?

– Don’t waste your leverage. It’s one thing to blow it, it’s another thing to waste it.

– Find the discomfort that creates meaning! That is what creates the connection that matters.

From NT Wright:

– The Gospels are not just about the divinity and humanity of Jesus, but about Yahweh and Israel; Israel’s God at work in and through Jesus.

– To live within the Gospel story is to enter the PUBLIC world of risk!

– The Gospel writers want us to see the Story from a pre-Easter point of view.

– The need to tell parables reveals the need to break open a new world view.

– Jesus is Israel’s Messiah and his death is the death that establishes the Kingdom, that launches new creation.

– The atonement is not an amassing of merit but a RENEWING OF COVENANT.

– The unity of the Church in Christ is the sign to the world that there is a different way.

– Prayer is anticipated Eschatology; it is what holds heaven and earth together.

– Justification doesn’t take us out of the world, it puts us back into the world to be the people through whom God will put the world to rights.

This only scratches the surface…now it’s time to hit the drawing board and let this all melt and mix and move together…


About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.


One thought on ““sinking staleness”

  1. Hi Sam,

    I glanced briefly at your blog over the weekend and have been meaning to write back to you. Did you apply for Seth’s five-day class in May–and was this something he offered because he had so many apply? I actually applied, but didn’t make the cut! 😦
    But it was worth the exercise in doing so. I have really enjoyed reading him and thought Linchpin is something everyone should read. I’ve been trying to get Allison and Dana to read it because it just offers so many practical, life lessons that made sense to me. Would love to hear about the seminar and what you gleaned from it.

    Also was very interested in NT Wright and what he had to say. Working as I do for the Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and being charged with educational, bridge-building, I thought the comments that you posted from his talk at Wheaton were very intriguing. Is there a book that you could recommend reflecting more of what he has to say about Jesus and Israel? Or is there a tape of his talk?

    Another seed I would like to plant is the possibility of bring teens together–Christians and Jews–to talk about Israel, the differences and similarities in faith, etc. and to build some understanding at that level. Thought about you and Young Life and whether that might be an entry point to at least get a dialogue going.

    What do you think? I have a lead for a Jewish youth group on the North Shore who might be interested in doing something.

    Anyway, I love reading your blog and would love to hear about Seth. If you’re ever downtown Chicago, let me know. Would be happy to take you to lunch, or coffee (hazelnut, of course) and chat!


    Posted by Betsy Schmitt | April 22, 2010, 2:03 PM

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