The JS Commandments

Over a series of informal office happy hours, I’ve apparently been preaching a personal gospel of freedom, community, and hard work. A colleague recorded some of my bon mots, condensed them into a list and shared with me. I figure I might as well share them here with with you, too. (I think they’re pretty good!)

While I am the first to admit I am no expert in matters of psychology, theology or even my own life, I have been blessed with a range of experience which I have attempted to process and integrate with great devotion and intention. The evolving philosophy behind the following words comes from this practice.


 

1. Do not be afraid. Go!

[Christians will recognize this line as the first in many of the Bible’s most pivotal stories, from the Exodus (Moses), to the Nativity (shepherds, wise men), to the Passion (Jesus), to the Great Commissioning (disciples, you and me). Students of literature, will recognize it as an essential animating device. For fear and stasis do not tell a story, but merely describe a far too common, unfortunate reality we each have the authority to rewrite.]

2. Pourquoi pas?

[When in doubt, ask “why not?” and discover that fear is most often really the only reason, in which case refer to number 1.] 

3. Treat others as they would like to be treated. 

[The more traditional, narcissistic interpretation of the “Golden Rule” assumes everyone wants to be treated the same way, like me. The “Platinum Rule” requires us to engage with the hopes, fears and preferences of the other, and in so doing enter in to deeper and more meaningful relationships.]

4. You can never go back; forward is the only option. 

[Motion is constant and cumulative. Therefore, even if we return to a place, relationship, or situation we do so in the full knowledge and consequence of our accumulated experience. The Past can only exist in memory. We create the Future in our Present.] 

5. You just have to do the work. 

[Regardless of how deserving, smart or capable we are and regardless of easy or difficult the task, the constant of any achievement is the hard work carried out, sans short cuts and low expectations.]

6. Privilege the queer. 

[The strong and popular enjoy privilege by default. The marginal, uncommon, fragile and outlier benefit most from intentional privileging, and we in turn benefit from their wisdom and perspective.]

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