Saturday, November 17, 2012


Comic Art


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Friday, November 16, 2012


How High The Bar?

Ron Edmondson, on leadership:
I make no apologies. I continue to challenge the people I lead. I expect a lot of them. I try to be fair. I’m a strong advocate for family time. I embrace the flexible workplace. But, I am always pushing people to be better. I challenge people to live up to their full potential and I’m dissatisfied with a mediocre performance.
If you do a click through to his standards, you find:
  • Responsiveness
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Openness
  • Follow Through
  • Limited need for oversight
  • Participation
Wonderful and important standards for the organization, but is not the church an organization with such a special purpose that some other standards apply? You see, I think the biggest failure in the church these days is not job performance, it's people performance. Suppose a youth pastor punts a meeting becasue he is sitting with a kid that just lost a parent in an alcoholic car wreck. Do you chastise him for his failure to participate?

Let's take an easier one. Suppose a staff member consistently yells at volunteers who fail to live up to their commitments becasue that staff member knows they will be in trouble for failing to follow-through? Suppose the volunteer's problems are really a cry for attention because of problems at home. Just askin'

I think the standards we must forst hold people in teh church to are a bit different. We should have a different set of priorities.
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Friday Entertainment

Towards the end, our cartoon friends invite us to pour a little sugar on them. As we move from the 1960's to the 1980's, this is what happens with that line:

There is some deep cultural commentary there.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012


Real Pastoring

Chaplain Mike examines Paul's second letter to the Corinthians and compares the credentials Paul put forth with those that were running rampant in the city. Paul's:
  1. We may not be the most eloquent speakers, but we will be real pastors who give you the real Jesus (11:1-6)
  2. We may not command high fees, but we will show you genuine concern (11:7-15)
  3. We don’t have a list of accomplishments to boast about, but we will boast about our weaknesses (11:16-33)
Now, here is the interesting question for me. We live in a age when the gatekeeping function of the seminary is often rejected. Many is the person that just hangs out th pastor shingle and gets busy after Bible College. Much of that change has been becasue the seminary used the wrong credential for gatekeeping. Fair enough. But are the alternatives doing any better - are they gatekeeping in accordance with the standards that Paul sets here?

I am not convinced. Moreover, I would imagine that most people feel unqualified to do such gatekeeping. After all, it places great demand on the gatekeeper. To hold people to such standards means we first must have met them ourselves.

Many ills beset the church. We are at the heart of one of theme here. And as always, it starts with ourselves. That is alwasy the hard part.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


What Happens When You Meet God?

Where do we meet God face to face? And what kind of God are we expecting to meet? These are questions that has revolved in my mind all week as I have contemplated these words from Richard Rohr’s book Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality. 
We wil not trust spiritual power until we have experienced a God who operates in the same way, a God who is willing to wait, allow, forgive, trust and love unconditionally. p89
He goes on to say
Before encounter God is perceived as omnipotent power; after encounter God is perceived as humble love. p93

Meeting God face to face is the most earth shattering and life shattering experience imaginable, not because it reveals to us the power of God but because it overwhelms us with the love and humility of God. And in that encounter we are changed forever too. A true encounter with God leaves on us an imprint of the living God, an image that enables us to reach out to others with the love and compassion that is who God truly is. In meeting God face to face, we too become the face of God to others.

She is right about meeting God face to face being life changing, Nut I am wondering about the whole power v love thing.

For one thing, these attributes are not mutually exclusive. Love still know right from wrong and good from bad. Love and grace must certainly show us our faults, and will eventually condemn them. You see, love wants better for us. Love does not say, "It's OK to be a wretch." Love says, "You're a wretch, I will make it better for you."

Secondly, becasue God hs both attributes, we see both from Him when it is appropriate. Christ certainly demonstrated both in His earthly existence. God tells us what we need to hear. For the woman at the well, it was a message of forgiveness, for the money changers it was a different message altogether.

What will happen when we see God face to face is not a universal, it is a reflection of where we are and who we are.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It's Not That Hard

Lynne Baab asks "How Do We Grow In Knowing God?":
  1. Repeated actions
  2. Being open to the surprises of God
  3. Responding
Note that 2 out of three of those are passive. They rely on us allowing the Holy Spirit to do His thing and our simply recognizing it.

Would that more of us understood this - would that I acted like what I understand.

I reflect sometimes that our efforts to be more Christian somehow are really sinful, they are efforts to remain in control of our lives when the real secret is to give up that control.
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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, November 12, 2012


True Artificiality

The Anchoress:
In rejecting religion as superstition or wishful thinking, Stephen Hawking attempts to create an “Us vs. Them” dichotomy between science and faith. In reality, no such dichotomy exists—and we need not choose whether to believe in science, or to believe in God. History is replete with scientists who were also men and women of faith.

Copernicus, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein come to mind, since Hawking writes in the realm of astronomical physics. I would add to that esteemed list Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Renee Descartes, Robert Boyle, Gregor Mendel, Michael Faraday, and Max Planck.
Sometimes I wonder what motivates some scientists to create this dichotomy. Well, needless to say, I have known a few scientists in my life and everyone I have ever spoken to on the matter is in the end no different than the rest of us. They seek the dichotomy to shield themselves from the pain of facing their own sin and weakness.

The real question is how to overcome that shield. Like most shields, you can rarely get directly through it. Besides, it's a diversion. What they need to see is the love of God that means that even in in the face of our sin and weakness, we are loved. That is not something you can argue - that is something that must be demonstrated with time and relationship.
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