Category: Why Not Wednesday?

Why not Wednesday? Trash talking in the Bible

Often we talk about “speaking the truth in love.” Then you read some passages that can be characterized as nothing but pure trash talk. It’s crazy. So, is it ok or is it not?

One big thing to keep in mind when reading the Bible is the Book tells it like it is, warts and all. The Bible paints God as the hero, not the characters. They had flaws, they made mistakes and they even did things the wrong way at times. Given that they also had to deal with the consequences for their actions. It’s an interesting topic for sure.

I listened to a “sermon” recently on how Christians are weird and it oddly seemed to fit the trash talking meme. I’ve heard stories of trash talking in witnessing. We love wit and gotcha’s. They’re funny. But let us remember something: the goal isn’t the win. The goal is a soul enraptured by the Gospel. Much of the trash talking in the Bible did not end well for the person being spoken to.  Perhaps that’s a good reason to keep ‘speaking the truth in love’ at the forefront of our thinking.

Why not Wednesday? A Christian social media disagreement

This is somewhat tongue in cheek step by step guide to Christian online ‘discussions’.

Step one: Be a big name & say something authentic that you are thinking, whether good or bad.

Step two: Another big name of a different camp and most likely the opposite viewpoint will fire a shot across the other’s bow.

Step three: Cue the lemmings, erg, I mean sheep. These will be 4 groups: Calvinists, non-Calvinists, Crying Christians and Commentators.

Step four: Go Sodom & Gomorra on the ‘bad’ Christian… I mean issue goes viral… If Calvinist call him or her a bully and drudge up everything bad he’s done. If non-Calvinist label him or her a heretic and question their salvation. If a fundamentalist or flaming liberal laugh, roll eyes, controversy ends. If mainstream…

Step five: Lemm…sheep begin defending their ‘side’ and the issues are clarified. As a bonus sometimes a never intended issue gets thrown in.

Step six: Cry babies swarm and state to this effect: “This is why people don’t like Christians.” The other three groups roll their eyes thinking “Debate is normal and authentic. Yes it’s hard, but it’s part of life.”

Step seven: Commentators chime in dealing with root issues and a good discussion ensues.

Step eight: Both sides in their networks will joke about it, learn from it, and all parties are better off.

Step nine: It’s forgotten soon afterwards as a blog/Facebook post/Tweet isn’t something to get all worked up over.

Why not Wednesday? By Land Or By Sea

I found my road trip album! A couple of friends told me I would enjoy Indie Pop music. I doubted, echoing the over used ‘whatever.’ I heard some and it was ok. ‘Talk Talk Talk’ I figured. Then I got a glimpse of Lute’s & Liar’s “By Land Or By Sea.” I couldn’t put it down.

Refreshing
The Album is like a fresh cold class of sweet tea on a hot summers day. It’s been a long time since an album’s caught my ear’s attention. Each song stands on its own and together they make an enjoyable adventure in music. I rarely buy albums, usually just a song or two. This one I can’t get enough of. I listen to one song and then I’m onto the next.

Playful
The lyrics have hints of irony, word play, and wit. They’re part of what makes this a great road trip album. It feels as though the band is just enjoying themselves and happen to be recording. The sound as well carries a playfulness to it. Keeping a fresh variety with each song adds to the playfulness.

Art
I don’t often get to enjoy music for the sake of enjoying music- there is often something driving it. Sitting back and just taking the work of the band as a work of art on its own delighted me. It is hard for me to describe, but as a genre of music I had some doubts. By Land Or By Sea leads me to believe Indie Pop has tons of merit. For sure the album stands on its own as good art.

The bottom line:
I admire the risk Lutes & Liars took in producing and recording By Land Or By Sea. I was wrong, Indie Pop is some sweet stuff. The album is catchy and worth the time listening ‘On The Road.’ I found my road trip album I was looking for this summer!

Why not Wednesday? Beauty of 2nd chance

Sitting at a vista looking at the snow capped Olympics got me thinking….

According to a creationist account the beautiful scene I was enjoying resulted from a massive mistake (The Flood account). God can turn bad situations to something beautiful. Don’t fear mistakes. It may be God painting a new masterpiece in your life!

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Why not Wednesday? Going retro

Let’s face it, tradition for a long time got a bad rap. Often hailed as the opposition to change, tradition has an aspect of humanity we cannot run from. It grounds us. Allusions to the past, or retro, shows up everywhere and for quite a while. Going retro demonstrates some cool things.

Rediscovery
There is no school like old school. Often the old school has the art and delight for something we now take for granted.

Appreciation
Mimicking is the highest form of flattery. The quest to allude to things past celebrates the work and efforts of those in generations past.

Depth
Things of old contain value. Retro understands this but adds to it a flare of modernity. In a real sense, it is our contribution. Appreciation is the parent, depth is the new birth.

Clarity
Tradition grounds us in a way that helps us navigate life and understand the world. It gives us perspective and stability in an (overly) fast paced world.

Ministry context
In a church context, the retro movement can be seen as a rediscovery of what church is. There is a sense that many churches have lost who they are in running from tradition. There is movement to have a more classic approach to church, but not stodgy. In large measure it comes from a realization that church is unique and it has a rich history. Tradition wasn’t the enemy, and each generation must add its nuance.

The bottom line:
Culture wide there is a reach for all things past. In one sense, perhaps this is a realization that we’re a unique culture. (America is still very young.) But, in another sense I think people are seeking stability. Connecting with the past gives a sense of calmness. After all, we’ve been here before.

Why not Wednesday? Embrace complexity

There is a significant push in life and ministry for simplicity. In our quest for simplicity  don’t ignore the complex realities of life. Often in focusing on one thing we forget how it impacts other issues. We often want bullet points, sound bites, or commercials, but what is required is more involved. Here is a short clip that illustrates this:

Why not Wednesday? iDeas

The best ideas for your field is often not found in your field. I love collecting proverbs, and this one is a big one. The proverb came from 3 things: Bible, Graphics Arts, and Kelly. If you are stuck, here are some ideas on taking the next step.

Bible
In studying wisdom literature a key theme stands out: wisdom comes from afar. It is a key aspect and pattern. This isn’t a contrast between man and God’s wisdom, but it is a picture of how wisdom is a pursuit. It’s beyond and one must seek it. Between proverbs and Ephesians there is a relationship between godliness and wisdom. One requires and builds on the other. Ephesians describes wisdom as a process. “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.”

Graphics Arts
Some of the best discussions and ‘how to’s’ of collaboration is found in the graphic arts industry. Successful graphic art involves taking complex ideas and making them understandable. It involves merging complexity, essential concepts, and organization. One could define graphic arts as the merging of left and right-brained activities for effective communication. One consistent piece of advice in graphic arts is getting away. Not to learn about their field, but to learn about something unrelated- and there is where some of the best ideas arrive.

Kelly
“Old cars look like wagons.” Kelly and I were walking through the Henry Ford Museum. As we were walking through the cars section we saw the evolution of the horseless carriage. You can see lock in- a car must be a self-powered vehicle to a car being its own thing. Our understanding of technology and life changes things. You can see stages of development. The challenge is how to you get out of your box? The car industry is filled with failures and triumphs. There is a process: discovery, replication, barrier, new discovery.

The bottom line:
If you’re stuck, look outside your field. Sometimes you need a fresh look at something different to help you get to the next step. This is true of many things in life. After all, the Bible tells us to seek wisdom.

Why not Wednesday? Expanding the mission in hard times…

For success to happen God needs to show up. But the vessels that carry God’s presence is people. In challenging times we can focus on what we lack, or we can embrace constraints by being creative. In being creative you need to get back to basics. The key for expanding the mission is people.

The Y factor
Early on in my ministry I attended “The Leadership Summit” put on by Willow Creek. Bill Hybels discussed what he called “The Y Factor.” You can read about it here. In dealing with a resource crunch, a member on his team wrote X (paid staff) + Y (volunteers) = Z (bearing fruit). Their focus was to double Y.

Y>X= expanding the mission
Expanding on that idea, the Y factor should be exponential. Truthfully, our “volunteers” support the church, serve in it, and more importantly, they’re the missionaries in all parts of our community. The church reaches its missions best when Y (volunteer staff) is greater than X (paid staff). Paid staff is important and vital- think of them as the coaching and support teams. But, paid staff are not the players- that’s the members. The better our members are equipped and mobilized, the greater our ministry impact.

Church is family
Pastor Mark Driscoll describes church as family. Church is extended family. You can hear him describe this here. There are no consumers in church. (At least, there shouldn’t be.) There are two kinds of people: family and guests. One of the marks of being in the Spirit is hospitality. One of the marks of being dialed into God is love. We’re family, and we should be an inviting one.

Free people up to serve
I blogged about a conversation I had with Pastor Pasma, found here. In that conversation he walked me through significant ministries that developed at the church I grew up in- powered by the people. He invested much time in the conversation talking about how to free people up to serve. “Staff to meet essentials… work to free people to serve.” Pastor pointedly stated how the people serving in the church is the truest mark of health and growth.

The Bottom line:
The church is people. The church success rests on people. Church growth is about people. While in hard, difficult or crazy times, the solution is your people. God’s power is evident in three things: Prayer. Bible. People. Loving God gives us a foundation for expanding the mission. Loving people gives us the means to make it happen.