Raw cognitive goodness straight from the author. Is that what you want? Well then you’ve got it. All 7 of you. (We might actually be at 7.5, because my sister has been reading these posts aloud to my two year old nephew. It’s not that he’s half a person, it’s just that anything not related to Thomas the Tank Engine deserves only half of his attention.)
I have been struggling to get something posted. Not because I have nothing to write about, but because I’m still very much working through this next post in my mind. It has not yet come together. And since these posts are more like essays, well, it takes time.
Anyway, because the volume of email I’ve received from you, my readers, asking “when will you give us more??”, has been overwhelming, I’m writing a short post to appease you.
This is something I wanted to do for Christmas, but then I threw it aside (digitally speaking) in favor of what will be my next magnum opus.
It doesn’t really have much to do with our topic, the Conditions of Success, save for this: it’s related to my current professional venture, which is very much part of my personal Condition(s) of Success. But hopefully you’ll feel generally edified (if not Fred-ified…) from the reflection that follows.
“Jesus is My Co-Signer”
You know the Christmas song “O Holy Night,” don’t you? It’s kind of a churchy favorite, and I must say I’m annually surprised at the singers who perform it, because, well, it’s pretty much all about Jesus and stuff. I mean good for them, right?
Now, I can’t read music, and don’t really know musical vocabulary (shame on me, I know), so it’s hard for me to describe why I like this song so much. Something about the way the singer’s voice drops, and the intensity, and even severity, of sound that comes with the “fall on you knees/ o hear the Angel voices” line. It always gives me goosebumps to hear it performed well.
But this year I noticed (or focused on) another lyric: “”Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” Wow. But back up one line: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.” It’s kinda funny, if you search for “error pining,” you get a message board with some pretty stupid answers as to what that means. I think there’s some implied punctuation in the lyrics that it wouldn’t make sense to emphasize in performance.
Just reading it, you would do so as “error, pining” – as in, “long lay the world in sin and error, pining [longing – for someone or something to save them]” I don’t need to tell you that the comma, as well as the commentary in brackets, is my own. It’s my opinion, but I happen to think it’s a good one.
Now why did that get my attention this year? Well, in my day job (I only play a blog writer on TV), I’m working to set up a new online lending service. The intersection of technology and finance is completely changing how you and I and people everywhere will access capital in the future – in other words, getting a loan does not and will not involve a bank, at least as we traditionally think of them. (In case you missed it, a company called Lending Club went public a few weeks ago…and their stock went up by 54% in the day following the IPO. Check them out. The future is here, my friends.) Make a long story short, I’ve been doing lots of reading about loan underwriting and credit scoring. Basically, how are you and I, as consumers, evaluated by lending institutions, to determine whether or not we get a loan?
Really, we’re all just a pile numbers. Some pulled from here, others from there, and fed into an algorithm (I don’t even know what that word really means) in order to get one final number, usually called your FICO score. Depending upon what that number is, you’ll either get a loan, at certain terms, or you won’t. If it makes you feel a little worthless, well, it should. It’s pretty heartless, really. The interesting that a number of new technology-based lenders are doing – and that our company is looking to emulate – is making more “personal” factors part of the credit-scoring process. It could never replace a face-to-face meeting, getting to know you, the borrower, and your character, but that’s never going to happen, and in any case that was part of the “old” system that added to the cost of doing business that made banks stop doing as many loans.
Back to “O Holy Night,” and to the line from the song: “’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Wow. The soul’s worth. Its value. We may, as a loan applicant, be made to feel worthless. But we cannot, as human beings, ever think that we are not valued – unloved – by God. He sent His Son into the world, in helpless baby form, to remind us how much we are “worth” to Him. Apart from Him, we have no worth. We are just a score on paper, if even that much. But with Jesus as our co-signer, we have perfect credit in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.