I want to be a well-rounded human. I go to the gym. I sleep. I try to eat well. I plan my social and devotional times. I set aside hours and days for projects. I give myself out in equal portions but keep enough of me smack in the middle of it all to remain sane. I’ve been told, “Don’t go too far in any direction because extremism makes people look like idiots.”

Heresy is really just taking any single doctrine too far. The prosperity gospel kidnapped God’s provision and ran really far with it. Arianism teaches that Jesus wasn’t God. Docetism tries to convince the world that the Christ was never incarnate- that He never had a body. Manichaeism teaches that my body, yours, everyone else’s, and basically, all material things are evil. The list of heretical garbage goes on and on. I’m can promise you that new heresies are coming out even today. In the past, these extremists got what Jesus-people thought they deserved. They were silenced by angry mobs with torches, pitchforks and clubs and fell prey to psychological warfare involving music from the Gospel Ganstaz and Michael W. Smith.

This isn’t about theology, this is about life (The two can’t be separated, but for the sake of focus…). Balance might be a form of legalism. Avoiding leaning too far one direction or another might keep one from making the forbearances necessary to accomplishing something great. Some people don’t make enough sacrifice to get beyond mediocrity. Steven Pressfield, the author of “The Legend of Bagger Vance” and “The War of Art” made awful decisions involving relationships and health for the sake of his writing. I’m not going to say they were appropriate, but then again, the man seems to be right where he wanted to be. Others have done the same things Pressfield did, and they looked like they were nuts.

My recent sacrifices and exploits in self-control have come in the form of extreme antisocial behavior. I don’t get crap done when I’m out loving the whole world. I can’t research when I’m at coffee with friends. I can scheme in the middle of a conversation, but those tend to fall into one-sided, “you’re not even listening, are you Jake?” ordeals. So, I stay in a lot more lately. It’s helping me get things done.

What activities, joys and whatever else are you putting on the chopping block to get things done?


What kind of “extremist” are you?