Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve had an ongoing conversation with myself about “the entrepreneurial spirit.” The question that sparks the conversation is “can it be taught?” Can one impart to another a set of abstract skills that result in successfully implemented new ideas that expand or enhance the mission of an individual or organization? In lieu of actually studying the matter, I simply keep having this conversation with myself.

Most university classes in entrepreneurship are about starting or growing businesses. I’m interested in what the secret is to starting or growing….anything. Because I’ve been accused of being an entrepreneur, I dreamed up some little classes for people who are interested in building their entrepreneurial muscles. Mostly, we sit around and toss ideas back and forth like popcorn down a row of high-schoolers at a Saturday matinee.

The other day I was out for a run and the conversation popped up again: Can the entrepreneurial spirit be taught? What I realized in that conversation with myself is that what I consider entrepreneurship is really just imagination. Other people imagine characters in a novel or scenes to paint. I imagine weird ways for established institutions to do the needful. I find that I do my best imagining in the company of others, building off their ideas while they build off mine. So perhaps entrepreneurship is about having the right conversation partners.

What are your favorite flavor ideas to dream up? Who are your best conversation partners?

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What the heck is God up to?

I mean, really. What was God thinking about the day this flower came to be? Makes you wonder….Yesterday when my friend and I encountered this flower, which I can only assume is a kind of clematis although I can’t find the variety (anyone?), we imagined God sitting around bored, maybe a little high (on life, of course), picking up shards from a kaleidoscope somebody broke, breathing life into them and turning them into this very public and somehow ridiculously geometric helicopter of a reproductive system.

I define theology as the question What is God up to?

(I owe this definition to Richard A. Norris, 1930-2005, who was an amazing theologian and teacher and who, shockingly, is not listed in Wikipedia. If you look him up on the Amazon website, his books are rather hilariously intermingled with listings of books about Chuck Norris. I’m guessing he would take this as a fitting tribute to our insignificance as humans.)

What is God doing in creation? What is God doing in beauty? What is God up to when we suffer? When we procreate? When we die young, or live longer than it seems like we were ever intended to live? What is God up to in wartime? What the heck is God up to in the churches?

It begins with the questions. With paying attention to the world around us enough to suppose that God is up to something, something that at times delights, at times perplexes, at times infuriates. When we ask someone “What are you up to?” and mean it, we’re in relationship. The more curious we are about the answer, the better the relationship.

What are you up to? What do you think God is up to?