Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was showing his age recently when—referring to Twitter—he described it as “twiddle-dee, twiddle-dum.” He might not have been that far off. All communication is by its very nature an interruption of attention. Paying attention is critical to perceiving reality. Have we entered an age of too many interruptions, making it difficult for people to grasp reality?
“Tell me what thou eatest, and I will tell thee what thou art.” Let’s hope Jean Authelme Brillatt-Savarin wasn’t right. In the 1980s, Americans collectively gained more than a billion pounds. In the 1990s, that figure doubled. It’s still rising. Obesity is a contributing factor to our health care crisis. To conquer it will “require a complete new awareness,” researchers write, “and this seems a distant prospect.” It’s remote because health care is not the primary crisis we’re facing.
Peter Drucker says the two diagnostic questions every organization must answer are “What business are we in?” and “How’s business?” What business are you in? What is your organization’s ultimate purpose? Your answer will suggest whether your company takes its “moral DNA” seriously or treats it as absurd—as a wink and a nod.
Most Americans are enjoying Labor Day because they don’t have to go to work. This is not the vision of shalom. Work was not supposed to be toil. Loving our neighbors means making a better world where they flourish as human beings. It means making culture. Culture is shaped by institutions large and small, center and periphery, that promote, permit, or prohibit human flourishing. Imagine a world where faith communities helped institutions flourish. Dennis Bakke did – and did something about it.