The Kindling, Entrepreneur & Faithwalker

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(Listen to the Dick Staub interview with Anne Rice about her book, “Christ The Lord,” today at “The Kindlings Muse”.

I’ve heard it said, “an entrepreneur is someone who will do anything to not have to get a job.”

The other night one of our kids told me that after observing the last six years of our entrepreneurial venture called the Center for Faith and Culture, she no longer wants to be an entrepreneur. Like many things worth doing, this has been an uphill battle.

From the time I was a young child I’ve seen things differently and have pursued turning my ideas into products or services, most of which, in the for-profit world generated money for me or someone else, and in the not-for-profit world, has accomplished something significant for the kingdom while also paying the bills to do it! The driver for me has always been the cool idea, not the money, but as trite as it might sound, I have generally found that when you follow your passion the money will follow.

As you get older your entrepreneurial passions do not decrease, but your energy does. You also no longer fear failure as you did when you were young, because you’ve already had some successes and you no longer feel like you have anything much to prove.

I am writing this so you can get some insight into something non-entrepreneurs will seldom experience. Only those who regularly skate on thin ice know the true fear that the surface will crack. Only the “faith skater” risks falling into the icy and often dangerous waters below.

Every entrepreneurial venture reaches a place when the best is about to be realized and the worst is an equally probable outcome. In those days and nights the entrepreneur often cannot sleep, awakes early to turn every stone, stays up late to put finishing touches on this or that. The entrepreneurs little secret is this: the closer you are to tasting and seeing what you have worked to create the closer you are to seeing it all slip away and die.

I’ve never heard of a course on the theology of entrepreneurism, but knowing God both simplifies and complicates the entrepreneur’s life. If God is with us who can be against us works great in successes, but when you have to decide, in the words of Kenny Rogers, whether to hold them or fold them, knowing whether God is with you, wants you to step ahead on faith, or accept defeat discerning this is almost impossible. A good Board of advisors is really useful, but most Boards ultimately realize YOU are the one that will need to make the decision.

These things are on my minds as CFC experiences its lowest income month in six years, just as we are about to launch The Kindlings Muse as a weekly event at Hales and as we are sending out invitations to our first ever retreat for thoughtful Christian creatives.

I awaken to read of important research being cut back at the UW medical research center due to a decline in funding. “I’m much less adventurous in the types of things I’m willing to pursue because it’s a very uncertain financial climate,” director Tony Blau said. “It’s ironic, since Seattle is the birthplace of stem-cell therapy.”

I read the obituaries, a surprising number of which are about younger people who fought a losing battle against a terminal disease.

I read about the character played by Meryl Streep (Photo Above) in the Broadway performance of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother courage and Her Children.” She embodies a “tireless entrepreneur of the Thirty Years War determined to survive with her business and family intact, whatever the cost ” and “what Ms. Streep does onstage is pretty much what Mother Courage does on the battlefield: thinking fast on her feet, moving with the quick diversionary gestures of a boxer in the ring, pulling out every art and craft at her considerable command to keep alive an enterprise in this case, a notoriously difficult play that goes on for more than three hours that otherwise might collapse altogether. Ms. Streep rattles through her character’s business transactions and homespun philosophy on practical morality and economics with the souped-up patter of a Catskills stand-up artist who fears her act will go dry if she ever slows down.

Our determination to proceed with CFC’s mission is driven not by fear, but by the worthiness of the mission, “to rekindle the holistic spiritual, intellectual and creative legacy of Christians in culture.” Our battle is more real than a play, but less serous than a human death in the obituaries I read today. Ultimately a venture like ours is in the hands of donors. We need ($)120,000 by December 31, 2006 and ($) 20,000 by the end of this month, August 2006, to meet even our cutback budget.

Today’s Staublog may seem like a donor appeal. It is not. I am simply sharing what goes on the mind of the one who lives the life that produces the thoughts that you read from time to time on this site.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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