I went to a Jesuit college. My classmates and I were mostly Roman Catholics. During freshman year, I took a class called History of Music 101, taught by Dr. Orin Grossman.
I really liked him and the class. The only drawback was that it started at 8:20 a.m, pretty early by college standards.
One day, Dr. Grossman was discussing a piece of music — I wish I could remember what it was — and he said that to understand it truly, you had to place it in the context of the Protestant Reformation.
He must have gotten a lot of blank stares. (I mean, I knew the Protestant Reformation, but it wasn’t even 9 a.m.) He stopped: “OK. Here’s 90 seconds on the Protestant Reformation.”
Then, he dove in: animated, clearly enjoying himself, jumping around the room as he explained.
From Martin Luther and the Ninety-Five Theses, through the Peace of Westphalia and all the way up to Vatican II. In like, two minutes, tops.
And then, he started laughing.
Reader, to this day, decades later, I have never seen anyone laugh so hard.
None of us understood, but we started laughing too. You couldn’t help it.
“Oh, how I love America,” Grossman said, trying to catch his breath. “Only in this beautiful country… could you have a Jew… stand up in a class full of Catholics… and give a lecture about the Protestant Reformation.”
The rest of this is written backwards.
By that I mean: I wrote what you’ll see below first, and then I thought of Dr. Grossman — because that’s probably my favorite personal story about wisdom and grace coming from unexpected places.
These past few weeks have been a bit hard. But, each day after I send the daily email, I get a pick-me-up that I probably don’t deserve: hearing back from between a couple dozen to as many as 150 readers.
You all are an amazing group, and six months into this I’m still trying to figure out how to connect everyone and show how the whole exceeds the sum of its parts.
A reader who emailed me the other day asking jokingly, “Anybody freak out yet?”
I thought, “what the heck,” and gave him a call.
We had an amazing 26-minute conversation. I won’t go deep into it here because he has no idea I was going to mention it, but I took a lot away from it. It helped.
Some people who email me each day offer good ideas, or share stories, or teach me cool stuff.
Sometimes I get pulled into deep conversations.
Sometimes, they ask for help.
I try to be responsive, but lately, 26-minute-phone calls notwithstanding, it’s been harder to keep up with everything. I apologize to the dozens that I know have reached out, and that I haven’t replied yet. (It’s not you, it’s me.)
So, I was thinking, why don’t we crowdsource this a bit, and make today’s email one of our open threads.
If you have an idea that you’d like to see me explore in an article (or another writer — a lot of my colleagues over at Inc.com read this, s’up y’all), share it in a comment below.
Everyone else, if you see an idea that you’d like to read more about, click the heart button or comment on it. With limited resources, it will catch my attention and make me realize: Oh, other people want to read more, too, maybe I should prioritize.
If you just want to share a story, or a challenge you’re facing now, that’s fine too. We want to hear and know if we can help.
If you want to offer help to others — a few readers have told me about things they’re doing, or their companies are doing — please share here too.
And finally, we’re in a tough time. If you need something from the community: You’ve lost a job and you need leads, for example, feel free to share here too.
I’ll add one last thing: if there’s something you’d like to ask the group, but you don’t want to include your name — email it to me and I’ll post anonymously “on behalf of a reader.”
Make sense? TL;DR: Add comments, and “like” them to vote them up, so we’ll all pay more attention.
As always, the drawback to comment threads like is that I have to skip the “7 other things” section to make it fit.
But, don’t tell my wife, I’ll try to find time to send out another newsletter with more of a take over the weekend. There’s so much going on!
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