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"it's hard to decry Constantinianism when you're trying your damnedest to win every election"

Longer quote:

During the years of the Iraq War and during the 2008 election, Christian blogs spent a lot of time writing about Constantinianism in voicing their opposition to the war in Iraq. Christian blogs were very Anabaptist during the golden era of blogging. Not so much anymore.

Why the change?

My argument, made in 2016, is that the post-evangelical Christians who inveighed again Constantinianism during the Bush years weren't really Anabaptists. They were, rather, Christian realists in the tradition of Reinhold Niebuhr. That is to say, progressive Christians, as witnessed in the 2008 election of Barack Obama, actually wanted and desired to win and weld the power of the nation state. You saw this hypocrisy in how post-evangelical bloggers hammered Bush with Constantine but said nary a word about Obama's drone war. Turns out, it's okay to pull the trigger when it's your guy holding the gun. And we saw again the thirst to win back and weld power among progressive Christians in the election of 2020. 

All that to say, it's hard to decry Constantinianism when you're trying your damnedest to win every election. 

This is from the second post in a new Experimental Theology series called "Will the Real Christianity Please Stand Up".

Now, as one of those folks who started blogging in the early 2000s, became Anabaptist during that "golden era", and then maintained that anabaptist perspective, this whole post (ugly parts and all) rings true to me.

Richard Beck's key blog series have become some of my favorite books: Unclean, The Slavery of Death, and many more. I'm very interested to see where this series will go, and how Beck will deal with the "No True Scotsman" problem in the analysis.

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Thoughts? Let me know!

Friday Good Reads

Read any good articles, essays, etc. this week? I did! (Yes, this edition is early due to holiday in the USA.)

Here's the list, in its usual place over in my public notes.

This week covers such topics such as:
  • the challenges in "green investing"
  • security, GPS, and global logistics
  • science!
  • a reminder that conflict in the streets biases people towards fearful and authoritarian reactions
  • one way to cook Brood X

Drop me a line if you have something to recommend, or have thoughts on any of these pieces!

📑 Sunday Quote

Today we’ve got another 3-part quote. All of these arrived in my Readwise review today, and they tell a story.

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The third quote here is an important follow-up to the first two.

The reign of Christ does not mean that Christians take Caesar's place in ruling over others. Rather, we are called to embody another way of living together: bound together with love & service rather than power & violence.

Peace to you as you enter this week.

Sunday Quote 📑

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This is great advice for many behavior changes, not just procrastination. (Make the healthy food visible, put away distractions, place practice music sheets out, etc.)

Here’s where I’d take a little issue, however:

Environment and habit change is how we change ourselves.

Willpower is limited, situational, and varying. The way we make lasting change is to exercise willpower when it is strong in order to set ourselves up for success when our willpower is diminished.

When we do that, we keep taking actions we planned to take, building up habits and reinforcing our sense of identity as someone who is the kind of person we’d hoped to be. This is how change endures.

It’s there something you can change in your environment this week?

---
-Todd

📑 Sunday Quote and "Persecuted" Christians

Let's make my biases clear up front:

I'm part of a tradition (Anabaptism) that has a long history of pacifism and has collected the stories of how they were murdered due to their faith (it's a giant book and not a great read, but you can still find copies).

Also, I live a pretty comfortable life. I grew up in a wealthy country, didn't experience serious health conditions, and have not had to worry about if I would be able to find my next meal. I had access to good education. I haven't been harassed, harmed, or neglected due to the color of my skin. And most importantly for this topic, I grew up in Christendom, a part of the world where Christian belief has been a dominant force in public opinion and even in governance.

It's in these areas of Christendom where I am surprised (and frankly, embarrassed) when Christians talk about being "persecuted". Christians in Christendom often read Bible stories and see themselves in the narratives as the Israelites enslaved in Egypt, or the early Christians under Rome. But what we must realize is we are more likely to be on the side of Pharaoh, Herod, or Caesar.

When you dig into it what "persecution" these Christendom-Christians are facing, it usually ends up being one of two things:

  • Social consequences for conservative ideology and/or for bigotry
  • An underlying fear that we are moving into a post-Christendom world

Neither of these are persecution. Let's talk about them in order.

Social Consequences

To understand this one, we need to step back a bit.

One of the problems with Christendom is that Christianity syncretizes with the government, with the dominant political beliefs, the dominant economic order, and/or with nationalism. Christians begin to conflate being part of a party, ideology, or nation with being a Christian. We can end up working as hard (or harder) for those beliefs than we do trying to follow the Lamb.

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Specifically, far too many Christians in Christendom have an unhealthy (and frankly, heretical) confusion of social conservatism and Christianity. They attempt to wield the power & violence of the state to control non-Christians' personal beliefs and actions, most egregiously and notably in issues of sexuality. This isn't the gospel, and it's not behaving like the one they proclaim to follow (who specifically refused power-over temptations when Satan put them to him!). And when people react to this controlling (and often bigoted) behavior with condemnation, social sanctions, or defensive legislation, it's not "persecuting" the Christian. The Christian was the aggressor, here.

Post-Christendom

It's true, many parts of the world are on the move from Christendom to post-Christendom. (Note: this is partly due to Christians acting as pretty terrible representatives of the good news, as I alluded to earlier...but that's a whole other post). In Post-Christendom, Christianity has a waning influence on public opinion and governance, as a plurality of voices emerges or a new perspective becomes most common.

This is unsettling for Christians who enjoyed (whether they realized it or not) being in the seats of prestige and power. But as the saying goes, "When You're Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression" In other words, losing privilege is not the same thing as being persecuted.

Ok, But What About Real Persecution?

If a Christian should suffer real persecution, the gospels and epistles offer us instructions and hope:

  • Mat 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you
  • Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.
  • 1Co 4:12 When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure
  • Heb 10:33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way.
  • 2Co 4:9 we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed
  • Gal 1:23 They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news of the faith he once tried to destroy.”
  • ...and many more

Jesus and early followers of the Way were very clear about not returning evil for evil. In fact, the church has often grown the most in places and times of persecution!

While we don't desire persecution, the duty of a Christian is to follow the third way when encountering it, to bear witness to shared humanity, to goodness, and to a God who loves all people.

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Have thoughts? Here's how to respond.

Sunday Quote 📑

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Have you heard of The Unicorn Project? It’s the follow-up to the great Phoenix Project. As I said in my 2021 book review:

"what Kim did for Ops & DevOps in the Phoenix project, he has continued for product development in this work"

Both of these books use narrative to demonstrate the move to agile ways of working and devops transformations within an auto-parts selling business.

These five ideals are very helpful for looking at ways to enhance a technology practice.



Here’s where I’m going to "think out loud" again. As I read these, I realized they’d make a better framing for how I’ve been approaching some challenges my team faces at work. I’ve been communicating with my manager using the perspective of "accountability without authority or responsibility", and while that’s true, the Unicorn Project ideals might be an even better lens by which to view the problems.

Let me work through them to see what we are doing or could do in each area.

Locality and Simplicity

This is the core issue, as I’ve recently been thinking about it. My team relies on data, processes, instructions, and approval for almost everything from another team (and primarily one team). Work comes in from the other team, work goes back to that team. This disincentivizes problem ownership by either team, as things get "tossed over the wall". Further, because of the back and forth, there are steps that don’t necessarily add value.

To solve these, we need to create local ownership and reduce waste & complexity. Instead of there->here->there work, we can improve this in one of the following ways:

  • here->here->there: meaning that my team sets the direction, rather than receiving it, but the other team still manages the result
  • there->here->here: meaning that my team still receives the direction, but has more capability to finish the work on their own
  • there->there->there or here->here->here: meaning that one team has full ownership for direction, results, and problems for an area of work

For us, the most appropriate short term answer is here->here->there, with a potential move eventually to a true locality where one team manages something all the way through the lifecycle. I’ve been advocating for this two-step approach, but now have a different way to talk about it.

Focus, Flow, and Joy

We have a culture of meetings. This is especially true for our New York office (where my boss and my peers are originally from). During covidtide, this has ramped up even further. Added to that, my team is working with a great number of stakeholders (often working with with many leaders and over 250 internal customers, each), has many sources of incoming requests, and encounters many "squirrels" caused by hot topics or VIP perspectives.

Altogether, those equate to very little time for focus or deep work. That results in less satisfaction and joy as people feel like they are constantly juggling instead of achieving momentum through wins.

We’ve got a few irons in the fire on this, too:

  • "No Meeting Wednesdays": we instituted this recently, and while not perfect (due to stakeholder meetings and increased interruptions from people who know we are "free"), it helps there be the chance for blocks of time for focus
  • "Ways of Working" agile alignment: I’ve been proposing that we get all our work visible under one mechanism, so that we can better manage priority, work-in-progress, etc. It would also help to have requests come in a common way, reducing interruptions. We’ve got buy-in now to get some agile coaches working with our broader org on a group transformation.
  • Using collaborative tools: Many interruptions can go away if we have standard means to keep one another up-to-date or make decisions. I’m helping push adoption of these ways. (Kanban boards instead of status meetings and inquiries, asynchronous work out of the same document rather than a meeting for committee-editing, decision-records and next-actions captured in writing, etc.)

Improvement of Daily Work

There isn’t a lot additional to say here, as so much of it is dependent on the above two areas. If my team doesn’t have much ownership of their work, nor the time to focus on changes, it’s very difficult to focus on daily improvements.

Instead, I try to make up for some of this deficit by spending a lot of my time on this, looking for ways to help the team. Creating clarity. Creating or sharing resources that make things easier. Promoting the internal sharing of best practices, wins, and lessons-learned. Cutting waste. Eliminating blockers. Etc.

Psychological Safety

The idea of psychological safety is this: Team members have to feel that it’s ok to speak up, that their concerns won’t be dismissed and they won’t be retaliated against. Team members have to feel that it’s ok to learn, make mistakes, clean up after themselves, and grow; that they won’t be penalized for trying something new. 

It wouldn’t be appropriate to say much here (as it could affect psychological safety!), but I will say that I seek to promote psychological safety by being transparent, authentic, and non-defensive. I look to give opportunities for people to stretch themselves in a safe manner. I aim to make sensitive constructive comments in private and heap praise in public. 

Customer Focus

We can think about customer focus in two ways.

The first is the most important: the end costumer of the product or service. Do we know what they need, and is our work ultimately serving them? Or are we creating waste and doing pet projects?

The second is the internal customer, or stakeholder. This one is easy to overlook, especially if a team isn’t used to thinking about having customers, which is an all-too-common occurrence in the technology world.

To help with this, what I do is to advocate for customer and stakeholder perspectives up front and every step along the way, both in my team and for the teams where we are the internal customer.

  • Who will use the product or service?
  • What do they need?
  • How does that inform our requirements?
  • Is somebody getting their perspective and feedback?
  • Do you need to get their buy-in for the solution?
  • Is there an easy way for them to give you feedback and see that you are doing something about it?
  • etc.

If your org has a product-owner type role, this helps a great deal!



I hope taking a look at these 5 ideals was helpful for you. If you’ve used them to examine some ways of working, tell me about it!


Originally posted at Hey World

📚 Finished Reading: Ursula K. Le Guin: The Last Interview

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Last Interview by edited by David Streitfeld feat. Ursula K. Le Guin  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended for any fan of her work or anyone seeking wisdom.

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I don’t have a lot to say about this book, but I did make many highlights of quotes that were interesting, funny, or worth pondering.  You can peruse them from within my public notes, here.

What’s your favorite Le Guin work? Let me know!


Originally posted at Hey World

📚 Finished Reading: Why Nations Fail

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Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here’s the summary from my public notes:

Extractive political institutions and extractive economic institutions create a reinforcing vicious cycle. “Extractive” institutions are ones where the power and wealth are funneled towards a controlling group.

Conversely, inclusive political and economic institutions create a virtuous reinforcing cycle. "Inclusive” institutions are ones that have pluralistic power and rule of law.

Inclusive institutions support longer-term planning, because people can rely on rights & protection, and thus save and invest in education & innovation.
 
These ideas are, at their core, basic classically-liberal principles.
 
The authors have done a good job of showing how inclusive institutions lead to growing nations, and how extractive institutions can lead to capture, authoritarian regimes, or societal collapse.
 
What the authors have not made a case for is why growth is the most important means of measurement, nor why centralization of power is required for inclusivity. (One can imagine decentralized systems that protect rights and rule of law, for example). Nor have the authors deeply examined resource/environmental extraction and what that will mean for the future of all institutions, should our approach to natural resources not shift to an inclusive model.

Have you read this book or one of the others that talk about why nations rise and fall? Have any recommendations on what to read next? Let’s discuss!


Originally posted at Hey World

🖋 Ugmonk Analog + Baron Fig Strategist

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I love the idea of Ugmonk’s Analog system. Yet, as you may know (from a previous post), I have a system that is working well for me for daily notes & tracking tasks.

Still, there are times I need to jot some notes by hand. Maybe I’m brainstorming, doing a little journaling, or writing a follow-up while presenting (a common occurrence).

The good news is that Baron Fig’s Strategist cards fit in the holder perfectly, too. You get the nice standing view, as well as the card storage in the block. I expect this would work well with any rounded-corner 3x5 index cards, too. (If you have others that you try, let me know!)

(pictured on top of my super favorite veg-tan Hobonichi cover, with a TWSBI Go Smoke, and Sailor ink)


-Todd


Originally posted at Hey World

📑 Sunday Quote

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There’s this tendency in modern conversations of justice to look at everything as zero-sum, winner-or-loser, exploiting-or-exploited.

It’s been exacerbated by celebrity figures who push this line of thinking, as well as by advertising-driven social media algorithms picking “winners” in virality wars.

But we have to do better than that. We have to want a better world for everyone. We have to look at how improvements can make things better overall.

We don’t get there simply by being anti-. We don’t get there by treating others as enemies to be defeated. Rather, we can look to others as potential co-conspirators ready to tackle challenges together.

One way to step out of the enemy-making view is to look at a level level above the individual. What is the mood of the group? What is the spirit of the organization? What is the faith of the locality? What is the tone of the structure?

You can mix and match these words, too. The Christian Bible talks about the “principalities and the powers”. German philosophers talk about “the zeitgeist”. You may have another metaphor.

However we think about it, before we go after people, let’s take a moment to think about the overarching system affecting the problem. What powers are at work, and with that in mind, how can we work with others to make things better?


-Todd


Originally posted at Hey World

📚 Finished Reading: The Feather Thief

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The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Recommended

Based on the topics (bird feathers, museums, thieves) I wasn’t very excited about this book, but it was selected as a book club book for work. I’m glad I read it, as it was very good. Like a Michael Lewis book, it reads much more like a story (or stories) of people, and it gave unique insights into deep subcultures. I don’t want to spoil it further. Recommended!

Read it and want to discuss? Hit me up!


Tagged: Nonfiction


Originally posted at Hey World

Sunday Quote 📑

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Crucial Conversations is an important book with a very helpful perspective.

If I go into an challenging discussion just trying to get my way, I’m not helping the situation. If I go into a challenging discussion acting like I care about the other person’s perspective, I’m still not helping the situation. It’s only when I actually care about their perspective that we can find a wise path forward.

Are there discussions you’ve been avoiding? Do you have the capacity to care about their perspective? Do you have courage to have the talk?

May you live a bold and caring week ahead!


Tagged: Grow


Originally posted at Hey World

Saturday Creek Stomping

We’ve had some great spring rains over the last few days. The robins are feasting, big time. I figured our neighborhood runoffs and creeks would be in rare form, as they tend to be after some good rains. So, I got my rain jacket, my "amphibious" sandals, left my phone at home, and headed off for a splash.

First fun thing I saw today was a pair of ducks that seemed understandably wary of me, but otherwise seemed to be loving the weather.

Next, I noticed somebody has been planting (grafting, maybe?) heritage raspberries along the back side of one of the runoff creeks. I couldn’t identify them at this stage, but they were labeled and had stakes to help them grow. I fixed one that had lost its support. I don’t know how safe those will be for human consumption due to the runoff from parking lots (if you have thoughts, please share!) but they should be a nice addition at least for the animal life.

I couldn’t navigate everywhere I wanted, due to the depth and speed of the water, but I had a lot of fun. This reminds me that I’d like to get some nice waders. (Any recommendations?)

On the way back, I startled a rabbit. We spent some time watching each other, and it was good. The bun was a little wet from the rain but still fluffed up, finding shelter under a neighbor’s trailer, and looking warm.

I love these little local jaunts, and hope someday to have a place where the jaunts are even better.

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Happy spring to you!

-Todd


Originally posted at Hey World

Sunday Quote 📑 Easter Edition

Both of these came up in my Favorites review, today:

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Hallelujah! Jesus has conquered the forces of death.

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So let us do our part to keep the resurrection going, to keep redeeming, to keep bringing life.

Happy Easter!


Originally posted at Hey World

Jelly Bean Prayer

When you take a jelly bean, examine the color, listen, and offer a short prayer.

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  • Pink: Where has the Spirit been moving? Do you sense any prompting?
  • Red: What are you avoiding? Where do you need support?
  • Orange: Name a blessing. Express gratitude.
  • Yellow: What have you lost? What hurts? Cry out.
  • Green: Where is there new life? What needs redemption or resurrection?
  • Purple: Reflect on the life & teachings of Jesus. Where should you follow?
  • Black: Memento Mori. Consider your death.
  • White: Where do you sense peace? Where can you help make peace?

I invented this prayer yesterday during our now-annual Good Friday bonfire service. Thanks to my spouse for helping with the colors. 

May this be useful to you.



Originally posted at Hey World

Friday: Good Reads

Happy Friday. Happy Good Friday.

This is the Friday roundup/reminder for things I enjoyed reading this week: linked here. Stories and topics include:
  • a few minimal technology ideas
  • good news and some warnings re: the health of our planet
  • Brood X - the incoming cyclic cicadas
  • a Bruderhof take on nonviolence
  • octopod dreaming
  • warnings about the voter-suppression movements happening in the USA
  • and much more

This week, I wrote about:

Read anything you liked this week? Let me know!


Originally posted at Hey World

I recommend Readwise

If you’re an avid reader like I am, I heartily recommend Readwise.io

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Every day I read through 15 or more of the highlights (and associated notes) I’ve made from things I’ve read (books, articles, tweets). It’s a great way to retain the best information, reflect on lessons, and synthesize new ideas from different sources.

I also export my book highlights into my books pages (that’s where you will sometimes see a “exported notes and highlights” section on nonfiction). If I listened to the audiobook, I’ll hand jot some notes instead, but I opt in for seeing other peoples top highlights in Readwise for those books. Those stylized graphics I use for quotes? Also courtesy of Readwise!

For daily reviews, I’m #54 on the leaderboard and determined to get to the top.


Originally posted at Hey World

📚 Finished Reading: Harrow the Ninth

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tagged: Fiction


This is the second in a series of mega-horror, murder-mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, all-the-genres books.

You may not guess it based on giving it 4 stars, but it took me a long time to get through this book. Why? Because it’s tough.

Look, I’m not dumb, but this book often made me feel almost-dumb. With a plethora of fringe vocabulary, deep mysteries, strange perspectives, unreliable narrators, and a significant plotline that appears to contradict the whole first book…it was a challenge to wrap my head around.

Here’s the thing though: I like to be challenged in my reading. It’s just that this was a fiction book and therefore a “before bed” read, meaning I often didn’t get far with it before going to sleep.

It takes about 4/5ths of the book before things start to come together, but it’s worth the wait.

I’m looking forward to book 3!

Further reading:
Gideon the Ninth, the first in the series. Also ⭐⭐⭐⭐



Originally posted at Hey World

Guiding Principles

Have you ever written Guiding Principles?

Guiding principles are a set of statements about how we will act, based on what we believe.

Maybe you have them for an organization where you work or volunteer? Maybe you have some for your church or other group?

In my world, I also wrote 6 Guiding Principles for my team at work (written with my team at work), aligned to our corporate Guiding Principles, but adding more specifics based on the type of work my team must do.

I also have a personal document where I am writing and evolving my own Guiding Principles and Operating Procedures. (Operating Procedures work similarly, but are aimed at a more detailed level, helping to forge habits by having a pre-defined decision on how to act in particular situations.)

As part of my Monday morning weekly planning, I look over my Guiding Principles as a way of reminding myself what’s important and how to act accordingly. 

Do you do anything like this?
Would it be valuable to share more about my principles?


-Todd


Originally posted at Hey World

Security Tax

In one of the early days of the I am the Cavalry movement, I heard this useful phrase from someone who has done a great deal of work in healthcare:
 
"If you can’t afford to protect it, you can’t afford to deploy it."

Unfortunately, many services treat basic privacy & security features as an add-on, rather than table-stakes for operating.

One frequent model is for services to market themselves at the user level, grow a userbase, and then charge organizations to manage access and security. (Yammer and Slack grew this way, for example, as have many others.)

I recently came across this resource that is specifically fighting the SSO (single-sign-on) security tax.

They explain why SSO should be a default in many services, or at least a reasonable upcharge. There’s also a table of data showing the delta between normal price and SSO-included price. Take a look!

Now, I’m not saying all services require SSO. I’m not saying all services need advanced security & privacy features. But each SaaS provider should look at the incentives they are creating, consider the needs of their users, and act accordingly.


tagged: @security


Originally posted at Hey World

Lean Security - Introduction

A little while back, I was having a conversation with my company’s CTO. We were discussing what engineering behaviors we wanted to encourage to continue to promote trust and safety.

How do we build in helpful behaviors? How do we make doing the right thing easy? How do we make things repeatable, scalable, and resilient? How do we spend our time on the most valuable things?

There are, of course, multiple interesting answers to these questions and many things our teams are doing to excel in these areas. But one of the things that came out of this discussion was that our CTO was having engineering leaders go back and read the (now classic) book, Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit by Mary and Tom Poppendiek.

So, I decided to do the same, and I also planned to share the lessons with my direct team (of Business Information Security Officers) and the broader team of Risk & Security. One of the BISOs on my team (who has also read the book) has also volunteered to work with me on materials. We’ve got a great partner, too, who will help us turn the lessons and principles into handy resources that the broader team can use.

So what is this writing for, then? This is my out-loud pre-work before we make those materials for the team.

I’m calling this series “Lean Security” instead of “Lean Software Development” because I’m coming at it from these two angles:

  • What do risk & security professionals need to understand about their product & engineering customers?
  • What elements from Lean Software Development also apply to security practices & products?

We have to be careful with the second bullet. Why? This is covered in the introduction of the book:

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What’s the difference, you might ask?

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With that in mind, we’ll focus on the principles. We’ll reflect on how security practitioners can be good partners with alignment to people practicing Lean Software Development. We’ll reflect on what security Practices we might follow to carry out lean Principles.

Here’s the refresher of the Principles:

  1. Eliminate Waste
  2. Amplify Learning
  3. Decide as Late as Possible
  4. Deliver as Fast as Possible
  5. Empower the Team
  6. Build Integrity In
  7. See the Whole

Future posts in the series will cover each principle.

I’m happy to hear your thoughts, questions, or insights along the way!


tagged: Security



Originally posted at Hey World

Sunday Quote 📑

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This is a quote I have in my favorites simply so that I get the reminder frequently.

In another of his books (Food Rules) Pollan also says:

The banquet is in the first bite

and

No other bite will taste as good as the first, and every subsequent bite will progressively diminish in satisfaction.

and

…as you go on, you’ll be getting more calories, but not necessarily more pleasure.

In many attentive eating paradigms (the works of Michael Pollan, mindful eating, intuitive eating, Naturally Slim, etc.), there is a focus on really paying attention to and enjoying what we are eating.

Part of the unhealthy habits many of us have learned around food contribute to food moving from something to savor to something to consume. Like other parts of consumer culture, we look for the latest “advances”, the best bang-for-our-buck, the quickest thing, the most popular thing, the best advertised thing, or the super-utilitarian-just-get-the-nutrients-in-me thing.

Whichever of these we drift towards, our relationship with food moves away from thinking of food as something to enjoy in-and-of-itself, shifts away from cultural food traditions (with all their accumulated wisdom), and shifts away from (non-performative) eating with our community.

This reminder, then, is a simple call back to paying attention to what is being eaten. 

Take a small bite.
How does it smell?
How does it feel?
How does it taste?
Does it change as I chew or as it lingers in my mouth?

Following this paradigm, a few things happen:

  1. I enjoy my food much more
  2. I’m amazed how the tiniest of bites can give as much (or more) satisfaction as a large one
  3. I realize that after more than a few bites of anything, I’m not enjoying anymore, but merely consuming
  4. I realize my fullness much more quickly
  5. I can eat my foods in any order I want, because I won’t overdue it with anything on my plate, but know I will move on once I am no longer enjoying that item

Now, there is one big exception to this “intuitive” approach to eating. Some of these programs handle it, others may not. 

SUGAR is basically a drug.

Sugar makes us more hungry. Seriously. Because of the way fructose and glucose work in the body, having sugar (and even simple carbs, which are effectively glucose) causes our bodies to store fat and ramp up our appetite. So, “intuition” gets short-circuited by our biological processes.

Pollan has lots of advice to help avoid this trap. Naturally Slim advocates cutting sugar. I’m not sure if Intuitive Eating handles it. (email me if you know?)

Because I used a Pollan quote related to dessert, let me pair it with these other practices from Food Rules, in order to present the more-complete picture. Bold is Pollan’s wording, italics are my comments.

  • 4 Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
  • 5 Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients.
  • 35 Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature. (e.g. whole fruit with fiber)
  • 37 “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”
  • 39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. (e.g. if you want pie, chips, or ice cream you gotta make it from the raw ingredients!)

In the week ahead, this is a good reminder for me to be mindful. To eat rather than consume. May it be helpful for you, as well.

tagged: @Eat

-Todd


Originally posted at Hey World