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The Box-Ticker and the Poet Argue About Qualifying Everything

I’m learning something about myself as a thinker of thoughts and a writer of words. I must resist what I feel as a need to qualify every potentially confusing thing I write. I’m growing more comfortable with the idea that I cannot provide all the caveats I need to protect myself from being misunderstood.

I’m learning to leave more room for possible misunderstanding where it can’t be helped without really altering (damaging) what I’m aiming for. The box-ticker in me dislikes this, but the poet says, “Get used to it, Bub.”

Think about how crystal clear Jesus regularly wasn’t.

Photograph by Gina G. Smith

Note: I wrote this last week. I also scheduled it last week to be published this day. Interesting.


  1. This is a good lesson even for one who is more box-ticker, less poet. It turns out there aren’t enough boxes to tick in the world. And, to paraphrase Rob Bell*, sometimes you can spend so much time and effort explaining the thing that you rob it of its impact.

    * You should be proud of me for not explaining exactly how I feel about him and why he’s wrong and why he’s right.

  2. Read this about 10 minutes ago in the Eugene Peterson interview that AP linked to earlier this week: “We have Jesus as the centerpiece of what we’re doing, but he almost never talked in terms of explaining. He was always using enigmatic stories and difficult metaphors. He was always pulling people into some kind of participation.”


  3. I get that. I only meant I thought that might be what you were referring to by the word “Interesting.” Just to be clear. 🙂 Sorry.

  4. So, like trusting the gift in you, and thus the Giver, rather than your own innate ability to use it.

    I like this post of yours. I thought “box-ticker” was a particularly well-used, and chosen, phrase.

  5. Thanks Dan R. Well said, sir. And trusting the Father is such a theme of the life of Jesus here as recorded in the Gospels.

    Dependency. Yes. A worthy aspiration.

  6. And my dear Andrew (not qualifying that –see, I’m growing up), I have not said how much I appreciate your comments.

    Not enough boxes to tick in the world. That’s good copy.

  7. Oh, right, I was going to say how the buck is the box ticker, with the antlers for making sure his point is clear. He’s the one that’s always focused on what he wants (the apples), and isn’t going to let anything distract him from getting it. The other one is the poet, who came there to get the apples, but is looking off towards something we can’t see. She’s also standing in the light, whereas the box-ticker is in the dark (might be something there). I’m sure I forgot a lot more that I got out of it the first time, but that’s what I remember.

  8. Dan, good call on the photo connecting with the post. I hadn’t thought of what you mentioned (which was very insightful by the way!) but after your original post I looked at the image again and saw that the deer on the left is also in the shadows and the deer on the right is in the Light.

  9. Wow. I am way smarter than I ever knew. 🙂

    I joke, but that sort of thing does seem to happen. When you are going forward, wrong turns sometimes turn into better paths –perhaps even to better places.

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