Sunday, September 26, 2010


Another number for a title?  It seems that I've had 95 visitors in the month of September so far.  All I can say is thanks for visiting, I'm pleasantly surprised to find that people are interested, and motivated to continue.

I've been reading a book called "Linchpin" by Seth Godin, and he argues that in our current economy, it's no longer good enough to just show up and be responsible.  This attitude leads one to become another cog in the machine, trading a days labor for a days pay.  A linchpin, on the other hand is not replaceable.  A linchpin goes a step beyond.  According to Godin, a linchpin is an artist, willing to share his or her art with the world.

Tonight in our weekly youth group meeting, we talked about Ephesians 2:10- "you are God's workmanship, created to do good works."  I thought about why I have blogged for several years now regardless of readership.  I realize that it makes me feel good to create.  I create because I can and it brings me pleasure.  I think the fact that I can engage in a creative exercise without the constraint of worrying about what I'm going to get in return (money, lots of readers, publication) makes it even more enjoyable.  But after monitoring my analytics over the last week, the thought that others may be engaged in my creative process has become a source of joy as well. 

This is an encouragement to me in my work, as a teacher and a minister.  I'm growing to see my work less and less as a job, but as an opportunity to engage with others in novel and creative ways-- as a creative process of art to share with the world.  Creating this art brings me joy, and the reception of this art doesn't provide the validation, but sharing it certainly does.

I hope that you can begin to see your activities in life from the perspective of art.  Whether it is your job, school, sports, or volunteer activities, I hope that you realize that you are an artist, a creative force.  You have the potential to interact with others in new and novel ways, adding meaning, if not value to their lives and enriching yours in the process.

And if you happen to share my faith in God, I hope you can see the connection.  An artist creates because it pleases him/her.  The joy in creation is lost if it isn't shared.  You are God's masterpiece, created to do good works that were prepared for you even before you were born.  May you find your art and share it with the world.


Anonymous said...

Excellent point, though I tend to view the issue in a more secular light. I think a large part of how we define ourselves as individuals is contingent upon how we express ourselves through our own creative processes. Work, art, or religion can serve as an outlet for this self expression. In the process of expressing ourselves through our actions, we can define our own existence and our relationship to the people and things around us. The more we trade away our own ability to create for the perfunctory tasks of everyday work, the more we deny our individuality and prevent the creation of a autonomous, free self.

I haven't personally read "Linchpin", but it sounds like the authors thesis is that our economy is coming more and more to demand that the worker be an 'artist'. I would disagree. I think one of the largest issues of our modern society is that it places too little emphasis on the necessity of the individual to create and interact with their environment. It would seem, at least to me, that our modern economy heavily favors workaday labor over self expression in terms of the jobs available to a worker, which only makes art, religion, love, education, etc. all the more important in forging our own purpose and self-definition.

Anonymous said...

In an engineering perspective, a linchpin is as a locking pin inserted in the end of a shaft, as in an axle, to prevent a wheel from slipping off, as classified by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. Through your selfless concern for our Youth, you are playing the role of a linchpin by preventing children from ‘slipping off’ the path of God. In this way, you are not replaceable. You go a step beyond. Steve, you are an artist: making your mark on the Youth who have the privilege to listen to your discussions. Your encouragement serves as my own, as I strive to attain the same realization that you have come across in terms of seeing your job as an opportunity to interact with others in new ways.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous #1:
I agree with your interpretation of modern society and the crisis of individualism. However, I find that the first portion of your comment is a little off. That being, I believe the thesis of "Linchpin" is not that society pushes us to become "artists," but quite the opposite: our economy is increasingly forcing us to squelch our individuality. We, as individuals, must therefore break the norms of society, and instead of working solely for a paycheck, take the next step, giving our job and life purposeful meaning.

Steven Turner said...

To Anonymous #1 and #3
I may certainly misinterpret the author's intention, but I think you would indeed agree with his point. Based on your comments, I think it is a semantic issue.

By claiming that our current economy demands that we be artists, he means that in the past we could expect security and stability by just "showing up and being responsible." Today, there are plenty of us to "just show up and be responsible" and you can't count on this to translate into the stability and security that this attitude would guarantee in the old economy.

If you create art, and become a "linchpin", even if your employers don't value you, someone else will... least that's what I think he means.

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