Nils von Kalm

My take on faith, life and how it all might fit together

Category: Ego (page 1 of 2)

What Donald Trump and Jesus have in common

You may (or may not) be surprised to find that Donald Trump and Jesus have one significant thing in common…

Excerpt from Running Up the White Flag

placeit-2Sight Magazine has published an excerpt from my ebook, Running Up the White Flag.

Click here to read the article and here to buy the book on Amazon. I’d love you to leave an honest review on Amazon as well.

Donald Trump as a reflection of an adolescent culture

Before people like me judge Donald Trump for his bombastic statements, let’s remember that he is a reflection of the adolescent culture we all live in.

Here is an article of mine on the Trump phenomenon, published here in Ethos…

Donald Trump as a reflection of an adolescent culture

Monday, 4 April 2016 | Nils von Kalm I find myself fascinated by the Donald Trump phenomenon. Why is it that a man who blatantly lies, advocates war crimes, promotes xenophobia and can’t decide whether or not to condemn the support of a KKK leader, is set to become the Republican nominee for the leadership of the most powerful nation in the world?

The Big Short is long on the human predicament

Left to right: Tracy Letts plays Lawrence Fields, Wayne Pere plays Martin Blaine and Christian Bale plays Michael Burry in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

We all remember the Global Financial Crisis, or GFC, as it was called. It was a time when the world stood on the brink of economic catastrophe, to the point that it was being talked about as leading to another Great Depression such as the world suffered in the 1930s.

The Big Short is the story of why the GFC happened, and how a few people saw it coming but no one listened to them.

The movie is based on the 2010 book of the same name by Michael Lewis. It stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt. 

What this movie highlights is the problem of human greed at its worst, and the evil which is unleashed when people simply don’t care about anyone else but themselves.

The housing bubble of 2007/08, which led to the GFC, highlighted the problems of an economic system that is unregulated and doesn’t take into account human nature. The problem with unfettered market capitalism is that some people have to remain poor for others to get rich. It is an amoral system, which, when left to its own devices, produces unprecedented greed the likes of which took the world to the edge of the economic cliff just those few years ago.

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Whose is that face staring back at me?

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“Anyone who needs 50,000 people a night to tell them they’re OK has to have a bit missing. And I do mean that in terms of your sense of self” – Bono

“Everybody’s famous here but nobody’s known.” – U2, Lucifer’s Hands

We live in a society where more and more people don’t know what it is to feel loved just for who they are. When people don’t feel loved unconditionally, they seek affirmation from external sources.

There is nothing wrong with this in itself, but when it becomes our primary way of feeling that we are ok, it becomes a serious problem and we become narcissistic.

Recently I visited my former workplace to see a few people and to do some writing. As I was sitting in the cafe typing away, a stream of people walked past over the next hour and stopped to chat and just ask how I’m going. I’ve never been so glad to be interrupted! It’s nice to feel that affirmation and warmth from old friends. Continue reading

The myth of personal freedom

young man and sunsetEthos have published my latest article on the myth of personal freedom. It also looks at the cult of success that exists in many of our churches.

Check out the article here.

Simon Moyle’s thoughts on leaving Facebook

Facebook_heart_c-thumb-200x154-94395_180A typically well-thought-out and humble post by Simon Moyle on his reasons for quitting Facebook. Some of his thoughts are exactly those I have wrestled with at times over the years. Here are some of his thoughts that resonate with me:

  • When it begins to feel like a burden and is liberating to stop…that’s a pretty good indication right there that something’s been wrong.
  • What does it mean when the new ‘marginalised’ means those not on Facebook?
  • We have more information than ever but I wonder if we are more informed?
  • Do we give information enough time to do its inward formation work on us or is it just washing over us because of the sheer volume? Or do we listen only to that which reinforces our existing beliefs?
  • What are the lines between information sharing, boasting, and straight out propaganda? Where’s the line between “letting your light shine before others” and not “practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them”? I’m not sure I know anymore. Does anyone even care?
  • it’s the question of whose desires ‘run’ me…I’m glad my posts have been valued, but I don’t think I should allow others’ desires to run mine. There’s only one Other whose desires I want to run me, and if I spend more time listening to the louder voices instead of the still small one I’m going to have a hard time being ‘run’ by the latter.
  • [Getting off Facebook is] less “efficient” in terms of reaching fewer people in a smaller geographical area, but then efficiency is not a gospel concept.

I agree with most of Simon’s post, though I’m not sure I agree with all of it. That is something I will have to think through. Or perhaps it’s something I don’t want to face. What I am sure about though is that I definitely agree with his points that I have quoted above.

I have written a number of posts (here, here and here) about the impact of Facebook on human identity and relationships, and challenged by someone like Simon who doesn’t just write about it, but as usual, puts it into action.

Lance Armstrong…and the rest of us

Lance ArmstrongExcellent piece here from my friend and colleague David Wilson on the fallout of the Lance Armstrong affair. Reminds me of what Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said:

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.”

‘Expectation is the mother of resentment’

fork-in-the-roadThis is one of the truest statements I have heard over the years.
 
Last Thursday night I had a good evening planned but things just didn’t go my way. I arrived home from a meeting and got into bed early to listen to some more of an audiobook I have been really enjoying. As I was about to get into bed I realised there was something I hadn’t done, so I thought, ok, and got up and did what I needed to do. I then got back into bed, got comfortable and just found the spot on my iPod where my audiobook was up to, when my mobile rang. It was someone who I’ve been talking to for a while about some issues he has been going through. I knew I should take the call, so I did. We talked for about 20 minutes, by which time I really needed to get some sleep.
 

The writer’s self-promotion dilemma

I have an ego problem. I think it’s getting better but I still have many times when thoughts come into my mind about people telling me what a great writer I am and that they want me to speak at their major church or stuff like that. I can’t stop the thoughts coming into my mind, but it’s what I do with them when they get there that is the problem. Some years ago I even took this blog offline for a while to figure out what I should do about this issue. A couple of people told me independently that it was fine to put my blog back online and deal with the issue as it comes up. I think that was good advice.

The purpose of this website is to show how Jesus is relevant to all of life and that he is the only one through whom we will ever find the peace we all want, both inside us and in the world around. I have been told by quite a few people that I have a gift in writing. I appreciate their sentiments. I used to think that saying I have a gift was arrogant and equivalent to telling people how good I was. But having a gift has nothing to do with anything I’ve done. If it was, it wouldn’t be a gift. John Smith said once that there is nothing in our lives which has not been given to us. So if God has given me a gift, he has given it for a purpose which is to do my part in bringing in his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. And if it is a gift from God for this purpose, then I have a responsibility to use it to the best of my ability and for God’s glory. To use it for my own ends, to try to get people to think how wonderful I am, then I am abusing it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Mr5xbKnThK0

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