Thursday, September 27, 2012

Step Forward or Backward - Wisdom or Faith

Let's face it, sometimes we have no idea what to do. We are confused, trapped in our own cognition, and unable to make a decision about what to do. The best advice of many of the faithful is to pray and ask God for help. As one of the faithful who has taken that advice I can say with honesty that one of two fairly obvious things will happen; God will speak or God will not speak.

In my own experience, God seems to give me more No's than Yes's. That is, when I am considering something and ask for God's help, I more often hear Him telling me No rather than Yes. This means that I know for sure what God wants me to stay out of, but what He wants me in can often remain a mystery.

What am I to do, you ask?

I think this video from Redux provides a good answer.

Ken Wytsma, Pastor of Antioch Church in Bend, OR, speaks on how we have the ability to both listen for God's direction and use our wisdom when He chooses to be silent.

This allows God to act in two ways.

1) God Speaks and You Lean on His Wisdom. This is the supernatural engaging the natural.You will know for sure what path you must walk down, and that He is leading you there, but the difficulty lies in following that calling.

2) God Does Not Speak and You "Step back into Wisdom" - In His silence, God provides you a chance to see that He has already given you everything you need to make a good decision. Will you know your decision is right once you make it? Maybe, maybe not; therein lies the difficulty of this situation. What I think God tries to teach us in these times is that He will catch you no matter what decision you make.

In both situations, faith is the key. The faith to listen and obey or the faith to trust and move forward.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Triathlon Podcast Zen-Tri Podcast Of Pace and Faith

Get Your Zen On!

I think it's always nice to admit when something has inspired you. As someone who has spent a decent amount of time in Japan, I know a thing or two about Zen. I'm not talking about the mini-rock garden on your desk, cheap flute music CD at the gas station Zen. I'm talking about za-zen, Dogen, Rinzai, etc. While it's hard to put Zen (the real kind) on a T-shirt, it is far more interesting in my opinion. But I digress.

One of the biggest inspirations for this blog was a blog/podcast series call Zen and the Art of Triathlon. The Zen-Tri Master, Coach Brett, produces both a blog and a very entertaining podcast which are both worth your time if you are interested in learning more about triathlons.

Zen-Tri materials cover everything about endurance sports:

Nutrition - Brett is a Vegan and has tons of great healthy eating tips. His nutrition advice also finds a place in my favorites list because he loves, loves, loves burritos.

Gear - I have a crush on nearly every piece of Zen Tri gear. He always uses and demo's the best stuff. Great advice. Suunto gear...Yes Please!

Training - Nearly every episode of his podcast has a training log portion where Brett basically records himself talking as he trains. These can get a little "so-so" at times (I find myself skipping to meatier sections of the episode on occasion) but there's always good for a laugh or two. He also throws out some Zen thoughts during this time, which brings me to...

Zen - While I'm not going to suggest you site his blog as a source for a philosophy paper (unless your professor is an Ironman which in that case you need to do your thesis on his site), his recurring  themes of simplicity, clam, focus and keeping things in balance are all core Zen beliefs.

Hearing about how he juggles family life, training, coaching, working and producing a blog/podcast while still staying "sane" (triathlon and sanity rarely mix) has been a real inspiration. He offers up lots of advice derived from his own experience that has served me well. Ex - Need to get in a ride but have to watch the kids? Get on the trainer. Kid needs lunch? Get off the bike, be a father and make lunch. Kids want to play - Play with them and Then get back on the bike.Well done Brett!

So charge your Ipod, put on your shoes and head out for a nice run with some Zen-Tri in your ears.