Today, Dove (11 year old daughter) came to me crying saying that Seven (7 year old son) had called her a “stupid bully”. Our default is to have Dove express her feelings to Seven and then reprimand Seven and have him apologize. Today I tried something different.
I asked Dove if she, in fact, was a “stupid bully.” At first, she seemed taken aback. She then quickly reiterated that she told Seven not to say that and that he wasn’t doing it out of love. I said that I understood all of that but that she didn’t answer my question. I once again asked her if she was a stupid bully. I could tell that she didn’t know how to answer the question so I opened it up to a broader audience. I asked around the table if there was anyone in the room that was, or had been, a stupid bully. I rased my hand. I shared that I had a history of being a stupid bully. Kami also raised her hand and shared that sometimes she bosses the kids around in anger. Then…… Dove raised her hand. I was able to embrace her with a high 5 and say “Oh, I’m really glad your mom and I aren’t the only stupid bullies around here.” I then expressed how crazy it is that the Bible claims to love us given the fact that we are all stupid bullies at times and far worse. I told her she was loved and has full freedom to accept this and other parts of her identity that are hard to swallow sometimes. Then I suggested that she could actually thank Seven for being honest and pointing this out to her. (He was listening to this whole conversation). She then half begrudgingly/half smilingly/half seriously said “Thank you Seven for bring honest and pointing this out to me.”
Then we talked to Seven about love and his use of hurtful words.
In parenting, we’re learning that modifying behavior and controlling chaos is the easier and far more temporary solution to life. Moments that allow us to teach children about how deeply they are loved and accepted will soften hearts and change a child and a family from the inside out. This is permanent. So, I would like to take this moment to assure you that if you are, or have ever been a stupid bully it is ok. The Bible claims that you are fully accepted for who you are, because of what Jesus has done, and not based upon anything you ever do or anyone you pretend to be.
If we actually were able to embrace our identity as a fallen yet accepted people it would remove the power that we give to others to define our worth. Insults true or un-true will not matter. It doesn’t come from denying reality though, it comes from accepting it.
Reading a book in community allows us to share the experience of a great book, learn from others, and even provides motivation to make it to the end. But starting a book club can be daunting. Reading books that you’re not interested in or organizing large groups of people to find a time and place and set a pace can make it all not worth it. Here’s 5things that I have tried that have worked.
- One person needs to decide to read the book first. Then invite others.This is important. People get frustrated when deliberation slows them down. If no one responds to the invitation, no loss. If people respond, you’ve created an opportunity.
- Go for smaller groups. 2 People is enough. 3 may be better. When you start to get into 4-5+ it becomes to be difficult to maximize an hour and plan a regular meeting.
- Structure the club around one particular book. That way you are only committing to a book that everyone is excited about. At the end of the book disband. If everyone is excited about the same book start another meeting but this provides the opportunity to add people and for people to step out. Continue reading
I recently stumbled across this video on my friend Mike’s blog. I pushed play and then said “oh crap” when I realized it was like 9 hours long. But I was just surfing the web and doing some email while it was playing on in the background. Before I knew it I was pretty engrossed and by the end I would say that it was probably the most interesting speech/dialogue/presentation that I have seen or heard in years.
I would label the content as Why people can not deny exclusive claims to truth and why Christians are to blame. I think the most interesting is the part of why Christians are to blame.
I don’t want to take the time to post my thoughts here but I do want to share it with you here. The talk itself is about 40 minutes long and then it goes to Q & A. I have not listened to the Q & A. I would suggest playing it in the background and then going about your business.
If you absolutely do not have the time, here are my highlights. (With youtube now you can drag the playbar to wherever you want even before it loads!!)
4:15 - Beginning
8:10 – 9:38 “Now that we all agree that religion is a big problem”
30:55 – 33:24 “What you need, is people with an exclusive truth claim that humbles them”
37:46 - 40:40 The Moral Performance Narrative vs. The Grace Narrative
40:40 - 43:00 You know what the problem with the world is?…..Fundamentalists!
43:40 – END
This last Easter I went to a church service and read their literature, which stated:Now very quickly, I want to say that with particulars of this church are irrelevant and I will go ahead and say that I don’t disagree that it is “all about Jesus.” But here are some things I have been pondering.
- If it really is all about Jesus, why did Jesus himself say: “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing“. Should we also be concerned with what the “Father is doing.” Maybe Jesus is the model for this?
- How come we never hear “It’s all about the Father“?
- For a period of 3 years Jesus walked with his disciples. If it was really all about him, why did he say that it was actually to their “advantage” that he leave? In another version he states that it is actually “better for (them) that he (left)” because it would introduce the power of the Holy Spirit. Are we to take this literally?
- Why don’t we say “It’s all about the Holy Spirit“? Why are churches that say that full of nuts?
I think I understand what people mean when they say “It’s all about Jesus”. In fact the after text clarifies: “it’s not about politics or power, trends or tolerance” the list can go on. The person hood of God needs to remain central.
From my own story, I feel like I need to repent for taking this too far. For me Jesus was much more graspable and making it all about Him, was as much about centralizing Him as it was de-centralizng the role of the Holy Spirit or even God the Father. At it’s core, I feel like my life and the Church is “all about Jesus”. BUT, I no longer feel at liberty to stop there. It is also all about the Father. AND It is also all about the Holy Spirit. Now I need to work on what it means to actually believe that, and not just say it.
Anyone else have a similar experience?
Do you think that there is any danger on labeling the church or christianity as “all about Jesus”?
Almost everyone has heard of the 12 steps. A little lesser known are the 12 traditions. These were designed to preserve the integrity of the meetings and the purpose that they uphold. While the 12 steps focus merely on the content the 12 traditions focus on the structure. I recently read them and asked this question: What would it look like if the church applied the 12 traditions to their model?
Here are a few examples. I replaced CHURCH for A.A. (alcoholics anonymous).
- Our common welfare should come first; personal growth depends upon CHURCH unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- A CHURCH ought never endorse, finance or lend the CHURCH name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- CHURCH should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- CHURCH, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Even after writing this, a part of me cringes at the first reactions of myself and possible others. “Remain nonprofessional”! “Never be organized?” That sounds like chaos. EDIT: The most fascinating thing to me about these principles is that A.A. does not think that any of these structures are evil. The biggest danger is that they are distracting (from their mission.) In fact it would seem that distractions are far more dangerous than overt conflict based upon the protections they have put in place.
I have asked myself these two questions:
- What is the purpose for each of these traditions within A.A.?
- EDIT: If A.A. Considers these things distractions, how is that the Church is not distracted? Or is it?
Would these things destroy the church, explode the church? What do you think?
Filed under 12 Steps, Church
Filed under Church, Video
Today I went to a 12 step meeting and made an interesting observation. There were about 15 people in the room and 2 or 3 of the guys are old enough to be my grandparents. That’s not the interesting part, but what is, is that I think most of the people, including myself, look up to those men. It is assumed that they have more experience, wisdom, and more value in how they think and act than the rest of us.
Hmmmm… big deal.
I think what makes this so interesting is that I don’t think this about all old people. In fact in most church settings Continue reading
Filed under 12 Steps, Church
Two strange things that happened to me in the last 24 hours…
1. I went snowshoeing on Mt Rainier with with my shirt off…..in January…and was quite warm. But that’s not the weird thing. The weird thing was that some guy called my name out and I looked over and he said his name was Paul. “Paul?” “Yeah Paul, from Costa Rica.” In 1994 I went on a mission trip with my church and we visited the Robinsons in Costa Rica. Fifteen years later I run into this guy on the mountain. I wouldn’t have recognized him at all. When I asked him how he recognized me he said that his brother was showing him pictures of me on Rainier 3 weeks earlier that he had pulled off of Facebook. Weird.
2. I went to a sexaholics meeting on Monday at noon. Usually I go to one that meets Sunday at 7am but I wanted to check one out with a different format. Anyways, they meet at a church in Bellevue and when we got there the building they normally meet at was locked. So, after a little bit of discussion about alternative locations and realizing there were none they decided to meet…..in the parking lot. Weird.
It got me thinking. There’s been a post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while that revolves around what I have learned from programs that involve and include society’s rejects. In many ways it seems like they have this whole church/Jesus thing figured out more than I ever had growing up attending and working in churches. Continue reading
UPDATE ( 11/5/08 ) : I have received a response to the email I wrote a while back. I post it here for a few reasons. The first is that it’s a piece of relevant news in my life. The second is that I think it presents some interesting points for dialogue and growth. This acts as a preface to explain why I did not post it. I did not post it so that people can chose a side and then ridicule, judge, bash, demean, or non-constructively criticize viewpoints that they do not side with or understand. To the degree that you are willing to engage in a discussion for the unity of the church I would love to hear your comments and responses. If this is not your intention than reading this and responding is not requested. I am still very much in process about this but my letter of response is true and expresses my true heart for the issue.
Response to my letter ( 11/4/08 )
My response Back ( 11/4/08 )
I’m facilitating a 3 week course at the Northern Kentucky Discipleship training Center while we are out in KY for the next three weeks. This is the description that was emailed out.
A look into the impact and current state of The Fall in our lives.
- Do you ever categorize people as “bad” and “really bad”?
- Do you find yourself eating, shopping, gossiping, lusting, smoking, drinking, gambling, lying, controlling, stealing, hiding, reading, TV watching, Internet surfing, etc. more than you think you “should”?
- OR are you frustrated by people who are?
- Are you sick of “trying harder”?
If so this class is for you.
Understanding the Fall is the ultimate gateway to believing the Gospel. This will be a three-week course (meets on two evenings with a “homework” assignment for the in-between week) designed to understand and deepen our belief in the Fall. The facilitator, Ben Crawford, will be sharing his story on how he has come to understand the Fall in a very real way in his own life in the last 6 months. He will be guiding a small group discussion and some very personal training designed to understand our own depravity and the desperateness for Jesus that will result.