you have the option to listen to this blog post via the following audio link: brian cork is not Nehemiah
one promising day back in September Chip Brackley looked at me, square in the eyes, and said, “I think you should write about Nehemiah“.
to prepare for this post I had to go back and ask Chip to remind me why he wants me to focus on Nehemiah. he came back with:
Because it’s my favorite book of the Bible. Because he had a vision and he executed it with leadership and skill like no one else since or before. Because God is tugging at you and wants you to write about what is important to him.
although, to be fair, I think Andy Stanley started this through one of his books, Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision, and that was followed by a series of sermons known as Catalyst. however, I’ll submit it was God that is the root of this.
…I suppose that’s rather obvious if we look around ourselves. but, we can’t always see what we need to, or should.
it’s just about discernment. we all have a destiny. a purpose. we like the stories of Robin Hood, King Arthur, even Don Quixote because the sense of purpose, that Raison d’être speaks to something deep within our souls.
perhaps the very question of, “why am I here”, is where God was formed and always forged. man and those better around him will always say, “iron sharpens iron”.
we’ll safely assume that God put Nehemiah on the planet to set an example. I’d trust God to do that. causing a remarkable text book or parable reference book on the global market in the manner God did was fairly impressive./1 so, creating a figure (of Biblical proportions) that we might want to emulate, is probably well within His skill-set.
where do I get these ideas?
the inspiration, here, as you must recall, is Chip. but, that conversation started around correlative topics that include “transactional transparency”, “the authentic life”, “best practices”, and many other lines-of-thought that might define a philosophy that drives my life. so, if Chip see’s Nehemiah in-and-amongst that, I find myself compelled to discuss this and possibly strive to be like Nehemiah (except for the eunuch part).
mind you, I’ve just tapped the words, “possibly strive to be like Nehemiah” into existence. and, I may commit this post to audio, so I’ll also breathe the words into life (with no promethean intent, mind you). so, does that carry arrogance with it? or, have I challenged myself and now must hope better men than me like Chip and Andy will hold me accountable?
well… that’s the point, eh. years ago I started writing about, “Living Like Christ” (go find those pieces if you choose). and, all that was part of me avoiding a covenant of my own with Christ (or, God, or however the Christian’s try to define Him, or confuse others). I would say things like, “I don’t know if Christ actually rose from the dead”. and, “does it matter as long as I live my life ‘like Christ’. I also talked a lot about being Heterodox (in short that means appreciating the tradition but always questioning the foundation with an understanding that the truth of the day changes based on circumstances). I suspect I remain that, for the most part. but, I also know I both want to live my life like Christ, and some how find a way to believe what I need to. does that find you? or, do you find it?
so, can I be like Nehemiah if I am still “searching” as the Christians refer to that un-quixote-like quest? is it possible that in realizing my inner Nehemiah I’ll see that man in the mirror thus reflecting Christs’ example because He has somehow found his way into me?
bring it on, I say.
meanwhile, what is God’s commission of me? upon what stepping stone do I find my foot on today’s path?
I hang out all day helping my friends make better decisions. I use my super powers for good. I believe that good can and will always, if only eventually, over-come evil. and, I sincerely believe that I can or should some how be an example for all of that. or, is it more than that? something deeper.
oh hell… this is not going anything like I had mapped-out in my head.
it’s about vision, I think. a personal vision, and the other we must needs have in our minds-eye for the world around us.
however, vision is more than simply what could be. after all, what could be is simply an idea or a dream. vision also carries with it a sense of conviction.
vision always stands in contrast to the world as it is. vision demands change. but a vision also always requires someone to champion the cause. it takes someone who is willing to put his or her neck on the line. someone who has the courage to act on an idea.
its not only something that could be done, but what should be done. it’s something that must happen. it moves you from passive concern to action.
then there is that conviction. that sense of purposeful conviction that gives vision a sense of urgency.
this finally brings us to the story of Nehemiah who heard about the deplorable condition of his homeland from some of the exiles who had returned from Persia. just go find the Book of Nehemiah, and read verse 1-4). do it!
today the one (because there are others with different context) thing I find most encouraging about the story of Nehemiah is that he was just a regular guy who caught a divine glimpse of what could and should be. and, then went after it with all his heart.
years ago, Aubrey Nelson wrote of me:
“Brian Patrick Cork is a beautiful man BECAUSE of his many imperfections. They fuel his boundless optimism because he is convinced that he and every thing around him can, and will, always improve.
I have known Brian for over 20 years. A gifted athlete, I first saw him emerging from the mist charging up a daunting hill during a Cross Country race in Virginia, and stood amazed as he ran down the Kenyans for victory. He is all heart, this one.
Brian Cork has made and lost fortunes. He has never had to think twice about giving away the very shirt from his back. He has lost businesses to predators and buried children. He has been lauded as a hero for being a volunteer firefighter; and wrongfully vilified as a stock swindler (I was one of his many investors, and he did brilliant work). Men of great stature and influence seek his counsel. Most simply enjoy being around him. Brian will say “we are all tied together by threads of continuity. So, we can and must make a difference in one another’s lives. It’s not only an obligation… the connection makes our lives richer and meaningful”. Every day he strengthens the very fabric of the business community – one thread at a time.
What I marvel at, what gives me such hope for a generation led by Brian Cork and his people, is that this man could overcome depression, self-doubt and other constraints of biology and not only act decisively, but retain his humanity. Like a figure from the Old Testament, Brian has wandered the earth, making mistakes, loving his family but causing them pain, despairing over the course of events, trying to divine God’s will. He could not know how things would turn out, but he has always done his best and maintained an unwavering faith in GOD, himself and people. He has always kept his moral compass pointed firm and true. And, now he helps other men find balance and success in their own lives.”
I’ve somehow managed to forget about that, and even neglected much of the history that generated it. but, it all comes rushing back to mind as I ponder the possibility that Chip is in my life to remind me of who I am, and what I need to do.
not be an example so much, but possibly the difference.
here’s an interesting thing… that quote above from Chip came moments ago, in terms of the span of time it’s taken to craft this post. I had asked Chip to remind me about two hours ago. and, his response came moments after I wrote the word “difference”.
our present always seems to converge with our past and future when time has no meaning other than purpose. I just made that up. seriously. but, that’s where I am. square in the mote of God’s eye. and He wants me to do something.
Lifting up Michael Jackson because he has lifted me up many times. here’s to the Man In the Mirror.
peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
brian patrick cork
1/ that would be the Holy Bible.