Any Christians who've read GTD?



I trust that I've distilled much of what is good from David Allen's writings. There is very little that I would dismiss out of hand, not even that state of "perfect readiness" known as "mind like water." (page 10)

But I still use hanging folders, even though he says to "get rid of hanging files if you can." (page 100, if anyone's interested). I suppose I could get rid of them, but I don't want to. They work well for me.

And so I encourage you to do what works for you.


Censorship in its purest form

cdevidal said:
Because I am getting mixed answers, I probably will avoid reading it to avoid a similar incident like I had with the techno music. I've learned plenty from the web and blogs to get me going.

And I will probably not recommend people read his book, but I probably will teach a class on the core concepts.

Well, that is just wrong. I have been a Christian my whole life. There is no chapter called "You need to worship Budda to be a good GTDer". Are there references to Eastern Philosophy...probably (I am not that familiar with it.)

If you are a strong enough Christian, then you will be able to filter out the references and go about your day. You really NEED to read the book. The equivalent would be being a Christian and not reading the Bible. (I am not saying that GTD is a bible in any sort of way. But you learn how to follow Jesus by reading the Bible.) So to learn the framework of GTD, you need to read GTD.

I applaud you for trying to seal yourself up in a Christian world...but I hate to tell you, that it is not a Christian world out here. Jesus did not come to save the believers, he came to convert the lost. There are many times when he surrounded Himself with unbelievers, and He did ok...right?



Its clear that a number of the core ideas in GTD do originate from David Allen's decades of spiritual experiences in his MSIA religion, which is based on a type of Christianity called the 'Christ Consciousness', which is likely where the "Mind Like Water" idea originated.

Its a very astute observation being made about the so-called "Zen-like" references in GTD, and where the origins of those might lie.

There is a thread here at 43 folders about some of these connections.


cdevidal said:
Thanks, Max.

Could you please type in a few quotes?

Quotes of what? I don't have any issues with the book and have nothing to quote. Or do you consider martial arts to be religious?


cdevidal said:
The "spirituality" of that book comes from a Mormon so I don't trust it, either.

So do you trust your grammar book that was written by Jew or a math book written by a Muslim. Last I heard Mormon were Christians. I find Gandi to be a shining example of how to treat one another. I don't discount him because of his religion.

I thought you were simply asking if GTD was compatible with Christianity. It is. Does it have some eastern undertones? Probably yes. But there is no secret hidden messages.

Enough said. I sense a knock at the door...


cdevidal said:
I mean no malice, but I stand by my belief that mysticism of any kind, even mixed with Judaism, is demonic.

If you would like to discuss this further, please join me in the forums.

Thank you.

cdevidal said:
That's what I was afraid of.

Could someone please quote those places?

Dear cdevidal,

You believe that any form of mysticism is demonic. You appear to be interested in GTD only because you want someone to provide information to prove that GTD is full of references to Eastern religions. You don't want to read books by Mormons (the founders of Franklin Covey). What I conclude from this is that you are not interested in constructive discussion about GTD, and do not belong here. My impression, which I hope is a true one, is that most of the participants here are willing to listen to men and women of good will, irrespective of their faith. You obviously don't feel that way, and you are happy to ignorantly offend other people. Please go away. I have reported this thread as inappropriate.


ProjectThis! said:
which is likely where the "Mind Like Water" idea originated.

While one can debate the Christian-ness or lack thereof in the origins of a lot of stuff in David's writing -- a debate which I, not being a Christian of any variety, feel most qualified to stay far away from -- this idea is not one of them. David himself says in his book that the idea of "mind like water" -- that is, reacting proportionally to inputs before returning to a restful state -- came from his study of karate. I similarly feel iminently unqualified to comment on the interaction between Christianity and karate, but that's as may be.

-- Tammy


cdevidal said:
And I will probably not recommend people read his book, but I probably will teach a class on the core concepts.

And so you'll be teaching from profound ignorance of what the core concepts even are. Ok....

You can read and use GTD or not, as you like, for whatever reasons seem important to you. But if you're going to teach it, reading the book seems like a prerequisite and an ethical obligation to me.



Interesting Facts

The word zen is not found in GTD (at least not my ebook version).

There are numerous quotes in the book as sidebars. There is one quote from Budda "Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it."

The following are also quoted (not a complete list mind you) Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker, Chinese proverb, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Da Vinci, Will Rogers, Greek proverb, Emerson, and my all time favorite writer, Anonymous.

Phil Hair

Ignore the metaphor

Hi there.

I am a Christian, born-again, spiritial, etc. I also have studied martial arts (judo and karate), and know a little concerning eastern religions. (I hardly consider myself expert in this last area). I understand your concern about the background philosophy behind GTD, but as for myself, I am quite unworried by it. Here is why:

The use of "mind like water" is simply the metaphor that David Allen uses to describe a state of mind where the person using GTD is not distracted by thoughts of other things which he/she also needs or wants to do. It's a metaphor.

Metaphors were heavily used throughout the Bible. In the New Testament, Paul heavily used sports metaphors in his writings. People of the time would have understood the metaphors and thus gain an understanding of the concepts he was trying to explain. His personal views on the Olympic games (of the times) aren't relevent to Christianity, and are never stated in scripture.

I have not read the book (Getting Things Done) lately, but I recall NO real reference to Eastern religion. The book is refreshingly _without_ philosophy, attempting to be entirely practical. As for David Allen's personal beliefs, I don't believe they are relevant to this issue:

(Quoting Max) "So do you trust your grammar book that was written by Jew or a math book written by a Muslim."

That's my $.02 worth.


It is sort of pointless to bring up religion and politics here! I have read the GTD books, and yes, there are minor semi-religious references, but if one is going to be turned off by something like that, one might as well not live in this world.

I could say I like people like Ann Coulter and Michael Savage and at the same time also like Starbucks, but why would I want to start a war like this here?

My advice? Use GTD if it helps you whether you are Noam Chomsky or Pat Buchanan, the Pope or Ahmadinajad (sp?). At the end of the day, you just have to laugh and have a drink. :)


What a read (whew!) - not very productive ;-D, but a lot of fun! Nothing like religion and politics to make things interesting.

Now, about that drink...



I have nothing to contribute to this hilarious discussion. I'm just posting as a matter of principle because "cdevidal" told me I couldn't.

I find GTD extremely useful in my work as an abortion-providing evolutionary theorist, and it's also great for scheduling my weekly beer-'n'-mysticism session with the guys at the bar.

My work here is done.


While I understand what you're trying to ask here - does GTD clash with my worldview? - please refrain from insulting other people's religions. It's completely unneccesary and I for one, found it deeply inappropriate in this forum. Kabbalah is older than Christianity and is a genuine and interesting part of Judaism - calling it demonic is deeply offensive. And no, I'm not a Jew or a Kabbalist, although I have studied it slightly because of my interest in world religions.

Oh, and if you didn't want any non-Christian responses then you should have worded your question without recourse to petty and offensive insults.



Full Flame Ahead...Discernment is Critical

Grace and peace to all of you.

Thank you for the whirlwind of postings in this thread. The conversations were interesting, entertaining, confusing, painful and thought provoking.

It did help me gain a possible understanding of my local Pastor who I respect very much. I emailed him the GTD website link for review. He thought that GTD offered some great stuff, but emailed back that the chuch had too many pressing needs to take the time to "organize" everyone or use GTD methodolgies. However, after reading CDEVIDAL's postings, maybe he was more concerned that the membership might blast him for using a secular program or sources that used non-bibical quotes. I hadn't thought of this angle. Church members can sometimes get real nasty and stir up unneccessary dust devils. I'm sure he has received plenty of welts in the line of duty.

The pastor's response was disappointing, but I'm okay about it. However, it is hard to listen to weekly sermons about the importance of focusing and "GETTING THINGS DONE." Perhaps the Pastor missed the point of GTD because he read expressions like "Mind Like Water" on the website. I had wanted to share some "Good News" about ways to approach raising 23 million dollars for a building fund in the next three years. Oh well...I tried.

CDEVIDAL makes a good point about understanding how important it is to be discerning and take responsibility for understanding materials based on the source /context /authority of the information spoken or written. I appreciate the insight, but not DCEVIDAL's delivery.

My recommendation for CDEVIDAL is to use the Bible as the only source of information for a teaching program. It's obvious that CDVEVIDAL experiences great stress from secular materials. However, even interpretations of Bible passages can be misguided and full of scripture twisting. Discernment is a tough skill to learn.

CDEVIDAL's postings came off as grandstanding and flamed several people and their belief systems. An apology to David Allen and GTD Connect would be appropriate. If CDEVEIDAL continues to flame and be a loose canon, then I would appreciate this user being blocked from the discussions. I'm sure Jesus would be cringing by now if he belonged to GTD Connect. As you can probably guess, I am ...

Cringing in Wisconsin,


Dave John

GTD is like a “skin” over your life’s workflow. No matter what you are doing, there is always a desired outcome and an appropriate next action to get to that outcome.

Some religions may be uncomfortable about their members achieving clarity of thought. However, religions that are based on solid moral principles will have nothing to fear.

If you goal in life is to achieve spiritual elation, what are you going to do next on that path? If your goal in life is to be a selfless servant to the poor … then you’ll probably have quite a lot of projects and next actions! If your religion says that mankind is steeped in sin, and that each one of us must seek forgiveness …. what are you going to do next on your path to salvation?

50,000 foot thinking is easy when you are committed to a religious belief. 40,000, 30,000 and 20,000 foot projects should also follow quite easily. Actually, a lot of these will be prescribed by your religion. In fact, it looks like GTD can only make you better at your religion!

(Don’t forget, Zen is not a religion, it is a mental discipline to help you think and act clearly).



Now I Know

Now I know why somebody said, "never discuss politics, sex or religion." I'm going back to "mind like water."


Thanks, everyone for an interesting read and for keeping the dial on your flame-throwers to the "warm" setting. I imagine for those with a "mind [truely] like water", the potentially emotional post that started this thread barely caused a ripple.

Humans are *so* facinating with their diverse of perspectives!