Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

01 January 2009

Resolution: semantic fractals left in tension

I think a vast amount of personal growth and understanding is lost to the unfaught battle of semantics. I also appreciate the paradoxes God instituted in His Creation, Kingdom and humanity - for the variety lends itself to a beautiful fractal once necessary vantage points are arrived at. That being said, the word "resolution" brought to my mind some semantic fractals.

First, have you ever considered the range of meaning and implication behind the word 'resolution' by chance? It's significant. Good ole' Wikipedia (God bless 'em) outlines the major categories or disciplines.

This past week I spoke with a couple in acute distress. The issue was really a concert of conflicts orbiting their individual Christ versus Self/Flesh tensions; the fruit of this was a host of harmful words and actions that was leading them into "crazy cycles." After much deliberation, prayer and reconciliation, what I presented them with was a set of "Relational Resolutions." These resolutions were principled commitments for them to sign - making a 'resolved' commitment to uphold them regardless of feeling, conviction or preference in the days ahead. So often in life we lack these non-negotiables, these unquestionable commitments that supersede our own situational election. What relational (insert marriage, friendship, familial, other), spiritual, financial or general life resolutions do YOU have in place? Does anyone know them?

Then, there's the sense in which a resolution is the resolving remedy for some conceptual tension. In my days of corporate project management the need to arrive at a 'resolution' for conflicting factors was commonplace. The new IT system must be online in 60 days, must be able to do A, B, C, and D - yet the budget was just slashed by 40%. My job was to find the resolution for the apparent impasse of stakeholders. Could we get by with just releasing a system with A-B-C and hold off D until Phase 2? Does scope change, quality change, timeline, new infusion of capital or is there an X option we haven't thought of? The principle value of my role was to be that neutral party who worked with all contributors to ensure we got to the finish line, to brainstorm the remedy on the fly and make sure we always find a resolution. Sometimes I wish we employed project managers for our lives - because so many of our ambitions and life journeys meet premature demise because we reach an impasse without the perspective to discern any resolving remedy. We abort, surrender, waver or (worse yet) just coast ineffectively towards nothingness because no one forces us to make the hard decisions and remain resolved...where are you stalled, drifting or taxiing on the runway because you've not invited a hard look at life resolutions?

Finally, the application of "resolution" that I think is most powerful, dynamic and broadly applicable to our lives as humans, citizens, and Christ-followers comes out of the world of Music. In the context of a broader musical arrangement, a note that is beyond the elastic range of consonance results in dissonance. Dissonance is that instinctive impulse our ears and minds have when we hear a key played just slightly off...there's this "uh, that doesn't sound right at all" vibe. 'Resolution' is the "need for a sounded note and/or chord to move" to restore consonance (good sounding). A good composer uses dramatic flirtations with dissonance and resolution back to consonance to add emotion and suspense in the musical movements. When left in the drift too long it ruins the piece and the sound is corrupted, consumed by the audible drag of that out of place note/chord. Fascinating, isn't it? (maybe I'm just a nerd) At times in our lives, we permit shadow missions, hidden drivers, secret motivations and comfort practices to create a dissonance that fractures the overall harmony or beauty. Sometimes it's hidden, but when un-resolved, that funky note/chord grows to take over the symphony of our lives. Is there a metaphoric thing in your life that threatens to pollute the greater movements with a dissonance...that awaits resolution?
Lots of resolutions...a myriad of tension points. Which resolution "fractal" is most relevant to your life story in this time and place? What response do you sense is called for - and will you take the step?


  1. can i just say that, among all of the depth and wisdom, my favorite part of your post was your willingness to use the word "taxiing" even though it looks silly and will be commonly misread.

    shows guts. resolve. hmm...

  2. Thanks for the props...I must confess feeling a little sheepish typing "taxiing," like I had proverbial toilet paper on my verbal shoes or something. :)