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7 Lessons on Values from The Fountainhead

I was 18 when I discovered philosophy. I asked my high school librarian for books to stretch my mind. She picked a couple, but only one stayed with me. It was The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. This book did more than any other to open me to the world of ideas.

It is the story of Howard Roark, an architect who insists on following the integrity of his own vision. Against all outside obstacles, both material and ideological, he creates according to the standards he chooses. The story enthralled me. Not the kind of hero I expected, Howard Roark was purely self-interested. And, to my amazement, he was good. The Fountainhead did indeed stretch my mind.

Survey Conclusion: “What Does Good Mean?”

Recently I pointed out that “doing good to others” cannot be the definition of good. Today I will ask:

1) What is the good for others?

2) Does an action need to be good for someone else in order to be good?

First, what is the good for others? The two best candidates are “whatever pleases them” and “whatever leads to their flourishing.”

Save Yourself

A Bible challenge: Who said the famous words: “Save yourself”?

“Save yourself” sounds suspicious.

As Christians, we believe it’s Jesus who saves. Also, doesn’t the plea to “save yourself” seem overly self-centered?

If the phrase seems off-target, you may be surprised who said it.

“Self” on Trial: A Look at Christian Motivation

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As Christian leaders speak out for missions, some have set up “self” as a bogeyman. I regularly hear pastors rail against “self.” Apparently, the lowest insult is that a person be “selfish.”

I don’t accept this understanding of Christian motivation. In fact, “right and wrong” are categories for guiding us in pursuing life; and for any individual man, this means: his own life. Therefore, “self-interest” (a.k.a. selfishness) is the very foundation of morality.

A Vision for Worship Ministry

Each New Year I take a pause. I get out my journal, and I write. It’s a way to remember, to survey the total, and to find a renewed focus.

As part of this practice, I wrote out some thoughts about the church music ministry I lead. I asked, “Basically, what is it that I’m doing—and why?”

I came up with this vision for worship ministry in 2016: