Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Sometimes I wonder if people "speaking for Jesus" really think about what they say before they open their mouths. Take this quote I came across recently:
The number of followers a church leader has is directly related to the how passionately the leader follows Christ.


Here are just a few quick things that strike me about this statement...

  1. It's about numbers, not about Father.

  2. It's about "us" not about Him.

  3. It's based on a formula for success as man sees success.

  4. It's oriented to drive church goers by playing on guilt.

  5. It indicates there's a competition between church leaders.

  6. It removes Father from the picture indicating it's the man who draws and leads the people not Father Himself.

  7. It's based on our own effort, not on Father's provision.

Why would anyone follow, or want to follow, a church leader rather than following Christ/Father and doing it alongside others who follow alike? The themes of the Old and New Testaments continue to ring through... man wants worshiping the One True God to be about us (that's religion). We want a "king"... in a form or fashion which fits the culture of the day, but we want an earthly king to lead us because we want to be like the godless who place themselves at the center of their universe and create a god they can control and explain perfectly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am a reflector

This realization came to be more focused in the last few months and last week really zeroed in on a finer point which hopefully will transform... well, me.

Though I didn't have clear definition, I began realizing my nature as a reflector in college. I had played racquetball for years and had been beat by some outstanding players (being beat by someone really good always raises the level of your own game) for a number of years. While in college I would regularly go play with class mates. It was obvious when we got started warming up I had played much more than most of the guys I played with. It usually went this way, I would smear them in game 1, then in the subsequent games it was a closer match but they seldom won. This continues even today when I play racquetball (though I'm not nearly as good or as young as I used to be).

As a kid growing up our Air Force family moved all over the country (world in fact) and because of that I've always been a sort of chameleon. Accents come and go over time depending on where I live and for how long. I'm currently shifting back to no accent after coming back to Colorado with a Nashville influenced southern twang.

In one of my church staff positions there was a church member who had a handicap which caused him to stutter and slur his words and to make interesting hand motions and body gestures. Whenever I conversed with him I found myself, I had to be very careful to keep myself from mimicking his behavior. Not because I was making fun of him, but I was reflecting him in our conversations. And as I noticed it with this person, I began to see it with others in other ways. It had never been something noticeable until now because mimicking people who appear "normal" was no big deal. But mimicking someone who had difficulty talking or carrying on a conversation was considered rude and it made me notice what I typically did. Most everyone I interacted with I began to realize I would mimic the personality of the interaction back to the person.

In my final years in Nashville I began to see this in light of my responses to people I interacted with. Whatever attitude co-workers would bring to meetings with me I would reflect right back at them. So those who were civil and interested in getting things done created a great deal of productivity. Those who wanted to be troublesome and wrangle... well, it typically wasn't a calm and settled meeting and reaching consensus and moving forward was difficult.

At first I didn't see it. I found myself wondering what caused this transformation in me from Mr calm who rolled up his sleeves and worked with others to get amazing things done to Mr I Can Dig My Heels In Too. Was I Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Was there some crazy chemical transformation that took place when things got tense?

Then I put two and two together (with some other stuff too) - the same personality trait which caused my racquetball game to raise or lower to match the competition, allowed me to transform my style of communication geographically, and caused me to mimic people in my interactions with them was what was driving what I thought were crazy personality shifts at work (and in other relationships).

It was this last year I really began to put this all together and begin to be able to verbalize that I am a reflector. A great gift from Father which I had never recognized or taken the time to really contemplate. A few weeks ago as I began to think about this trait Father quietly began to help me see that in interactions I was to reflect someone other than the person I was interacting with. WOW! Being a reflector now had a whole new meaning and established a whole new set of goals. I set out to try to reflect Jesus in all my interactions. It was a new lease in life. In those instances where I naturally bounce back the personality of the person I'm interacting with, I began focusing on reflecting back Jesus instead.

Then, this last week it all came home to rest. Jesus reflected Father. The goal and purpose of His life was Father. So should be the goal and purpose of my life. And as such, I should be striving to reflect the character and personality of Father. (This is an additional blog article I'll try to add in the next few weeks... the over-emphasis some put on Jesus. That should stir some debate.) So, my new goals are to spend more and more time contemplating the character and Way of Father and in so doing hopefully begin more and more to reflect Him to everyone I interact with.

I am a reflector!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sometimes, the things people say...

quote from twitter

I've been watching this guy tweet for some time, but this one demanded a post. It's actually the second time (that I know of) that he's tweeted the same phrase.

I'm trying to figure out if he just doesn't see it, or if he actually thinks pushing people to join his online church is "sowing the Gospel".

A couple of times, in response to other nonsensicalness he posted,  I tweeted back in reply to, in essence, point out the error in his thinking. I think he's learned, as do most "church" folks, that I'm no "prospect" for his congregation so he just ignores me now.

What do you think? Is Dr. Kenny Russell's statement above rather absurd? Do you think he really MEANS what this says or do you think he means something else and it just came out wrong?

Are we really blinded so much by ambition to build something or be joined by others in something that we will say anything to make it happen?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The United State of More

Several years ago I began a journey (although I truly recognize this journey has been going on my whole life). While I have not arrived at the end of the journey, I continue to find myself further and further from what I once called home and more and more a foreigner where I live.

One evening, a young lady in a mall kiosk who was not from the United States was very reluctant to allow me to leave her kiosk without purchasing the item which peaked my interest. It was an item for my wife and the cost was significant I wanted to check with my wife before making the purchase.

"You're afraid I won't come back, aren't you?" A question to which she reluctantly responded "Yes". I knew something was up because she kept "sweetening" the deal. Then after she'd sweetened it all she could, she made it where I had to buy right then and the offer was not good if I walked away and came back. I told her I was not buying without consulting my wife. I asked her why she was so insistent that I buy right at that moment. She then sheepishly explained to me that in the mall were hundreds of people with money in their pockets to spend. She explained that Americans walked into the door of the mall with an amount in mind they would spend and that she "knew" if I left I would likely spend the money in my pocket before getting back to her. I assured her I would return after I found and consulted my wife. She skeptically nodded as I walked away.

My wife was less than a hundred yards down the mall walking toward me. We set out to return to the kiosk as I told her of both the product and the young lady selling it. When we arrived back at the kiosk the look on the young ladies face was one of true astonishment. I'm sure my face must have had some puzzle written on it as well as I was already contemplating the the sad state of our culture that we were both so predictable and so "spend" oriented. We talked briefly about the fact that I actually returned. She indicated I was the first in her months of working at the kiosk. During that conversation I learned she was a student from a foreign country who came to America during the Christmas season because there was so much money to make. That night I bought the one item I originally stopped to explore, but none of the extras she was so tenacious to expand the offer with. That night was a monumental lesson on my journey.

Since that night, the veil has been lifted and I began to truly see the greed and lust for more which consumes not only America but mankind in general. Father used a simple conversation with this young lady to help me see the sad state of more "we" humans were living in. Now that the veil has been lifted I see it more and more and more (perhaps the opposite state of more?) in advertisements on TV, in pitches I hear in stores, from the mouths of "Christians" who are obsessed with how much more they can give to their church if they excel in their economic efforts. More, more, more. One car is not enough for a family of two because you cannot both have significant careers to climb up that financial ladder to get and acquire more. Two bedrooms is not enough, you have to have a bigger and more expensive house (even sometimes so you can do more for God with it). More savings. More insurance to protect what you have. It's a vicious cycle and one that has drug those of us living in America into the United State of More.

I've left that country. Oh, I still have to struggle with it. But it becomes easier and easier each step I take away from where I used to live. I have less money and fewer things but I have found I need and want less. With less focus on getting and "protecting" stuff I found it has made room for me to think more about Father. My gaze has turned from more of stuff to more of Father and him having more of me. I have left the United State of More.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I might consider the notion of "church" if...

So it's been a while since I wrote anything. One been busy... two just didn't have much to say... well, actually saying it one on one with several who needed it that way. Either way, today I was delighted to see this posted by a friend on his Facebook page. His name is Paul Vieira and you can find him at http://paulvieira.info as well as on Facebook. Here's what he had to say...
I might consider the notion of "church" if those involved:

1. view the word "church" as meaning something more like its original context - "community", not a building, institution or organization

2. don't have personal agendas on what community should look like

3. feel no guilt about not going to church

4. are comfortable with there being no pastor - not expecting to be "spiritually fed" by another person

5. view worship as daily decisions to acknowledge God and do what is right by God - not about singing songs

6. (if music is involved) see music as a familiar way of creating atmosphere and expressing ideas and emotion

7. are on a journey with eyes looking to Jesus as the Authority on every matter in this life and the next

8. are comfortable with others being at different places on that journey - no judging

9. see community as something fluid - we don't have to meet all the time and it can look different each time

10. are comfortable with not knowing all the answers, others having different opinions, and appreciating the mystery of God

Does this describe anyone out there?

I simply responded, "ME!".