1. Always speak the truth in love. Truth welcomes fearless examination. Love is the one motivation that matters, the only legacy that lasts. While truth is precious, nobody is helped by honesty that is brutal.
2. Prioritize your pursuits. If you answer every call, you’ll be like a stray dog at a whistlers’ convention. Don’t try to change the world. Change your world. Then witness the ripples widening.
3. Cherish stories. Pay attention to the presence of paradox. Travel and read widely. Focus less on telling and more on listening. As Gracie Allen pointed out, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”
4. Challenge the narrative. With integrity, confront your privilege and confirmation bias. Cultivate an active crap detector. Represent people who are on the margins. Remember that when you’re following the masses the m is often silent.
5. Guard your joy flame. Enjoy the journey. When you lose your joy, you’re no good to anyone, including Jesus. Keep the fun in the fundamentals—otherwise we’re left with “damentals.”
6. Strive for excellence. Continue learning your craft. If you’re older, don’t let technology intimidate. If you’re younger, don’t let technology dominate. And don’t just do your best—do your balanced best. Seek to be balanced mentally, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When we’re out of balance, our lives become as barren as a bachelor’s refrigerator.
7. Write for people who are not Adventist. Avoid godtalk. Knock down fences. Open the blessed doors.
8. Stand up for communicator colleagues. Communication is the key to life. We carry a noble calling, so go forth with courage especially when a truth-teller colleague comes under attack.
9. Bring it fresh. An artist is someone who looks a little longer. Breathe authentically. Make your audience care. Do not settle for the single story. Be succinct. Ask the hard questions. Consider the unconsidered.
10. Never work one second for the church. You may be employed by the church, but work for your God. Embrace the bigger picture. In so doing you will also become a better church employee because even when no one else is looking you are working for the ultimate Boss.
Chris Blake is an associate professor of English and communication at Union College and the author of many books and hundreds of articles.
Image Credit: Ralph Hammann - Wikimedia Commons
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