Keep it Simple – July 2022


Some religious leaders thought they were laying a sly trap in order to snare Jesus into an unsolvable debate therefore making him look uninformed.  After all, that is what philosophy tends to be, continually asking the same question, looking for a different answer.  “What is the most important commandment in all the law?” they asked.  Now that was no small question and had thousands of possible answers.  “The law” for them was not contained in just ten commandments or the first five books of the Bible.  The law was the entire Old Testament along with Mishnah, Gemara and traditions (I know, don’t worry about it – it represents a whole lot of stuff!). That was volumes of material.  How was the rabbi to pick out what was the most important command from all that information? He simply appealed to principle. He boiled it down.  Faith is not that difficult to understand.  To reduce it down, he said, “Love God and love people.”  By refusing to make it hard, Jesus silenced his critics.  


KISS sometimes stands for “keep it simple, stupid.”  I have always thought the phrase is offensive.  The navy actually used the phrase in the 1960s but it became popularized when an engineer by the name of Kelly Johnson borrowed the phrase during his work at the Lockheed Skunk Works. (Do they have alien spaceships out there?) Kelly aspired to make products that a soldier could repair in the field simply with minimal training.  If things were not simple, they were likely to break down, be abandoned and become obsolete quickly.  The thought is, “don’t over-engineer.”  So, borrow from Einstein:


Many test-takers and problem-solvers will tell you that the right answer is often the simplest answer.  The more complicated the answer, the greater the margin for error.  However, many of us tend to make things so hard.  (Don’t even get me started about church folk!) Rather than set clear boundaries for our life and occupation, we tend to severely overlap them and things get tough. SIMPLY let work be work and let life be life. At work, we tend to make meetings drill on ad nauseum and by doing so, we get information overload, detail distortion, paralysis from analysis and often mentally check out while moving forward with a lack of focus.  SIMPLY meet.  Sometimes we make health so hard we just settle into fast food and sedentary existence.  Why? Because we look for the perfect diet (5:2, intermittent fasting, body for life, cookie diet, hackers’ diet, Nutrisystem, WW, Inedia, Keto, Atkins, Southbeach, Crash diets, Cabbage soup, Subway, detox, etc.), the greatest supplements, the best gym, the ideal balance of cardio and resistance and it is just overwhelming.  How about SIMPLY eating healthy foods because you already know what they are and exercising in the manner that you enjoy?  I call it the “shut your pie hole and up your mileage diet.”  We also tend to make relationships harder than they are.  We often read into every word and try to discern hidden meanings while driving our partners crazy.  We read article after article and book after book looking for extra nuggets to string together for perfect bonding. The search is perhaps admirable, but how about this: SIMPLY serve each other.  

The principle of keeping it simple works here at CK Family Services too. Our world gets really busy and it is full of requirements and forms and deadlines and needs and demands and legalities and meetings and visits and, and and, and.  It becomes very easy to get overwhelmed and burned out when our focus is all the stuff.  Of course, there are things we can do to make it simpler.  We can shorten meetings, chop emails down or eliminate them, give only necessary details, watch giving too much backstory, eliminate distractions, make forms easier, etc.  But even then, there are just lots of items from which to extract what is “most important.”  You really don’t have to find what is “most important.” That was done for you years ago.  How? It sounds a lot like this:




When we focus on all the details, we can get overwhelmed. When we focus on the mission, we do the details but we relax because at the end of the day, hundreds of kids are in a safe place due to our work. Simple.  If that doesn’t help enough let’s take all the “stuff” and take it down to two simple values (that sounds like where this article started.) Faith and family.  Jesus could have said volumes about loving God and loving people but that would have become a lot of information again. He simply lived it. I can say a whole lot more about faith and family but you get it. It’s simple. Live it.