"The reason that Apple is able to create products like iPad is because we always try to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both."
- Steven Jobs, his farewell speech, March 2011
I spent Friday with an old friend -- a smart, thoughtful, hard-working, Godly man. I hadn't spent an afternoon with him in 20 years. He's become an executive at Apple. It was a powerful day. I knew it would be so I brought my son. I love using my favor to bring my kids into places they wouldn't otherwise be welcome. They're worth it and I trust them.
We toured the Apple main campus in Cupertino, California. My friend took us to a cafe inside the headquarters. We sat beside a noisy door that clicked loudly every time someone held their ID badge up to a reader to unlock it. And there were throngs of employees. Ten thousand of them work in this building. So we moved to a grassy lawn and watched software hipsters hustle past drinking tea out of fancy paper cups. After lunch we strolled aimlessly through the nearby neighborhood.
We talked and walked. Walked and talked.
And everywhere there were intersections.
As three Canadians, we admired the trees in the warm California January sun: God's creation. Crooked branches. Swirling leaves. Nature doesn't like perfect right angles. Neither did Steve Jobs. The Apple main campus is an enormous round building. Man imitating God using his inherited brilliance and heaven-given capacity to create beauty. An intersection point between Creator and creator.
Apple-owned bikes are parked everywhere. Employees grab the nearest one to get to nearby buildings and then lean them up against the wall for the next passenger. Highly paid designers in the ultimate time-is-money environment peddling down sidewalks to their next meeting, brains released to wander, a brief breather in a packed schedule. An intersection point.
There were all kinds of intersection points that day. Memories of my youth meeting my hope for tomorrow in my son. The intersection between Canada and California. God and family and humility and compassion colliding with one of the most competitive, pressure-cooker work environments on the planet.
Life gets interesting at intersections. They're jarring. Summer camp is an intersection point. Device-addicted kids go back to the stone age of meat, fire and dangerous feats of strength and willpower. No screens, just wood and water. The experience can leave kids changed forever. Throw faith and God into the mix and summer camp becomes an explosive laboratory.
You can create your own intersection. Maybe you're best with a spreadsheet. Clear plans help you manage the unknown. But what if you asked an artist whether you should sell your house? It's a sound financial move, a good plan, but there's such beautiful light in this room, they might say. And the trees are so big. And small spaces invite tight community. Art and financial planning intersecting. What would happen?
Or maybe you're an artist. What would it look like to meet a lawyer friend for coffee and ask them for business advice? Art meets practicality.
My favorite artist is Miguel Cruz, a science-driven veterinarian by day, passionate, messy, unruly, raw artist by night. His work is a visceral rush of emotion splashed and carved into canvas. It's like his methodical brain that speaks in diagnoses and dosages is unleashed violently in paint and wax. The intersection produces brilliance that moves me.
Are you an accountant? Go by the craft store on your way home and buy a canvas. Set up an easel in the spare bedroom. Throw an old sheet down on the floor. Paint. Ask God to meet you in color and mess. Read Psalm 145. See what transcendent beauty spills out of your God-given analytical mind.
I think we'll be using intersection points a lot over these next years. I think they can be a path right to God. Forest meets hard-knock city kids. Businessmen meet horses.
When cultures collide safety nets are stripped away to reveal the heart. And once the heart is revealed... God moves.