March 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

In high school I remember an excellent Spanish teacher use a bowling concept to illustrate a point. She said, “Bowling straight on can give you a decent score but nothing great. If you want to get serious about the sport you have to develop a hook. When you first try it you will be terrible and have lower scores. You may never get the hook to work, but if you keep at it you have a chance of succeeding. With time you may master the hook. The great scores you achieve will astonish you!”

Last week I learned a concept known as “Second Order Error.” It starts with poor assumptions that on the surface make sense but deep down you know are insufficient. The decisions that come forth have only mediocre benefit. It is like avoiding the hook and choosing to roll the ball straight down the bowling alley. Second Order Error will bring a result, but it isn’t satisfying. To overcome Second Order Error you have to uproot false premises and restructure along lines that you know are true. As you cope with the frustrations of transition you trust that innovation will form new habits that will eventually bring positive results.

Are you mired in a faith that has Second Order Error? Can your relationship with God and others be better? If you think so, take the time to evaluate your faith journey and question some of the premises that at first seem important but when looked at deeply call for change. Remember that with restructuring you may feel foolish or clumsy as you transition to something new. Do your best to stick with this new way and let God do his work. I think with the passage of time you (and God) will delight in the result! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,